Chairman Tassos Giannitsis of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), Greece’s largest refinery, is seen at a loan agreement ceremony held in Athens yesterday. ELPE secured a 400-million-euro loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s lending arm, to help fund an upgrade to its Elefsina refinery, west of Athens. The 1.2-billion-euro Elefsina upgrade, one of the biggest industrial investments undertaken in Greece, is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2011 and aims to boost ELPE’s sales by producing more high-value oil products. The company is in the process of implementing a three-year 2-billion-euro investment plan. EIB Vice President Plutarchos Sakellaris (seated on the left) said the bank is ‘significantly increasing its lending to counteract the impact of the crisis on the Greek and European economies.’ Greek banks have reduced financing to local companies as they struggle to reserve capital amid the debt crisis.