The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a loan of FIM 468 million (ECU 78 million) to Finnish Power Grid Plc. (Fingrid), Finland's high-voltage electrical grid operator, for financing the extension and upgrading of the transmission network.

The investment programme involves the construction of several substations and overhead high-voltage lines throughout Finland. The project will contribute to meeting electricity demand, maintaining and improving the reliability of services provided and to fostering competitiveness among power producers and distributors.

The project is in line with the European Union's and the EIB's objectives to improve energy efficiency and to maintain secure supplies.

"It is important for the EIB to extend financing to this investment which also aims at the development of a common Nordic electricity market", says Claes de Neergaard, EIB Vice President. "Finland, Sweden and Norway are front-runners in Europe as regards the creation of a deregulated and common electricity market".

EIB lending in Finland so far amounts to some FIM 7 billion for infrastructure and industry investments.

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.