The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term financing institution of the European Union (EU), announces an EUR 70 million (ESP 11.6 bn)(1) loan for financing construction of a new paper mill in El Burgo de Ebro, Zaragoza province. The project promoter and beneficiary of the loan is SAICA (Sociedad Anónima Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa), the leading Spanish group in the corrugated cardboard sector.

Part of the paper produced at the new plant will supply the group's subsidiaries specialising in the manufacture of corrugated cardboard and cardboard packaging. SAICA exclusively uses recycled paper as its raw material. Recycling of paper and packaging materials forms part of Community environmental protection policy.

The new paper machine, employing innovative technology, will have a capacity of 350k tonnes/year. Producing lightweight paper, it will contribute to reducing the weight of corrugated cardboard packaging, thereby cutting consumption of fibre and meeting market requirements. The mill will also comprise a mechanical pulping unit, designed for paper recycling, wastewater treatment facilities and a combined heat and power production plant.

The project will have a positive impact on employment in the region by generating 110 direct jobs as well as an estimated 800 indirect jobs in maintenance and waste paper collection and transport services.

The EIB was created in 1958 by the founding treaty of the European Economic Community, the Treaty of Rome. It was set up to contribute to the integrated and balanced development of the Member States, as well as to their economic and social cohesion, by providing long-term finance for capital investment fulfilling EU objectives. Prominent among these is enhancing the competitiveness of European undertakings, which both strengthens economic and social cohesion and contributes to the creation of stable jobs, the latter a priority goal for the European Union.Safeguarding the environment has long been another of the EIB's key concerns. As well as financing projects specifically geared to environmental protection, the Bank assesses the potential environmental impact of all schemes which it funds, ensuring that they comply with Community and national environmental legislation.Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB raises the resources for its lending operations on the capital markets, where its bond issues are consistently rated AAA.

(1) 1 EUR: 0.666300 GBP, 166.366 ESP.