The European Investment Bank (EIB) is extending a loan of FIM 450 million (approx. ECU 75 million) to finance part of the FIM 923 million modernisation of the Metsä-Botnia pulp mill in Joutseno. This is the first EIB loan to finance investments within the pulp and paper sector in the Nordic countries.

The capacity of the Metsä-Botnia pulp mill will be increased in 1999 by some 30 per cent to 420 thousand tons per year.

EIB Vice President Claes de Neergaard says that the EIB is involved mainly because the bank wants to underpin efforts to increase competitiveness of European industry.

"In addition, the investment meets the EIB's objectives to improve energy efficiency and environment protection as it will make the Joutseno mill self-sufficient in energy and will upgrade its environmental performance in order to substantially reduce environmental emissions."

EIB lending in Finland so far amounts to some FIM 6 billion for industry and infrastructure investments. The EIB has also financed investments by Finnish companies abroad, for instance, investments by UPM-Kymmene and Enso-Gutzeit in the UK and in Germany, respectively.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), the financial institution of the EU, contributes by means of long-term loans towards the integration and balanced development of its member countries and lends extensively outside of the Union to foster EU objectives of integration, cooperation and development. Since 1997, the EIB can also provide higher risk instruments including equity investments in venture capital companies in order to promote growth and employment of SME's in the Union.

Conversion rates: 1 ECU =6.028 FIM.