The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending the equivalent of FIM 300 million (ECU 52 million) to the Finnish Rautaruukki group to finance part of the environmental, energy saving and health and safety investments at the Raahe Steel Works.

The finance is supporting the "Rautaruukki 2000" - investment programme, scheduled to be completed by the year 2000. Upon completion of the investment programme, all the key components in Rautaruukki's flat steel production operations have been upgraded with the latest suitable technology available.

Rautaruukki is the largest steel producer and upgrader in the Nordic countries, where it has a leading market share in many of its major product groups. In 1996, Rautaruukki accounted for 38 percent of the total Nordic steel production.

The EIB is supporting the project as the Rautaruukki steel plant in Raahe is of great importance to the region. The project also meets the EIB's objectives to encourage industrial competitiveness and environmental protection.

EIB lending in Finland so far amounts to some FIM 5 billion (ECU 910 million), mainly for communications infrastructure improvements and industrial projects including small and medium sized enterprises.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the financial institution of the EU, contributes by means of its long-term loans towards the integration and balanced development of its member countries as well as countries outside the Union.

The conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 30 September 1997, when ECU 1 = GBP 0.69, IEP 0.76, USD 1.113, 5.88343 FIM.