The EIB has subscribed EUR 12 million(1) or FRF 79 million to the 21 Développement Fonds Commun de Placement à Risques (FCP-R). Over the past 12 years, the fund's management team under 21 Société Central pour l'Industrie has concentrated its investments on growth-oriented, innovative SMEs with well-established market positions. The fund's promoter, "Ventuno Investimenti", the financial arm of the Benetton group, specialises in investment capital operations in Europe.

This constitutes the EIB's first direct involvement in an investment fund in France. The Bank has already injected FRF 300 million into the "EIB Venture Capital Fund", an umbrella fund managed by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations and operating in parallel with the Fonds Public pour le Capital-Risque. In addition, it has entrusted SOFARIS (a French company guaranteeing finance for SMEs) with management of FRF 100 million, serving to guarantee equity operations based on venture capital structures in support of innovative or advanced technology SMEs.

The Banque has also set up the European Technology Facility (ETF), endowed with EUR 250 million and managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF), whose purpose is to support venture capital funds specialising in the provision of equity finance to innovative companies in the EU Member States.

Throughout the European Union, aggregate EIB funding to promote venture capital facilities amounts to EUR 1.2 billion, primarily aimed at increasing the multiplier effect of private investors by boosting their financing capacity. The venture capital funds concerned deploy the Bank's resources in favour of innovative companies, selected in accordance with market practice and following analysis of their industrial, commercial and financial prospects.

(1) EUR 1 = FRF 6.55957; 0.613400 GBP.