Strengthening Europe's position as a major location for multinationals/Safeguarding the environment through a modern ingredients plant

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim have today signed in Luxembourg a loan agreement for financing a new pharmaceutical ingredients plant. Part of the EIB loan, for EUR 100 million(1), will be intermediated through a German bank. Overall investment in the plant at Ingelheim (Rheinland-Pfalz), at where more than 20 substances are to be produced as from the year 2002 for manufacturing pharmaceuticals, will amount to some EUR 200 million.

Upon signature of the contract in Luxembourg, EIB Vice-President Wolfgang Roth emphasised the importance of promoting European industry against a background of market globalisation: "Closer-knit markets inevitably lead to keener competition between economic regions. If Europe is to strengthen its position as a major location for industrial multinationals, it needs sound foundations, which the EIB, for its part, is helping to establish".

The EIB supports projects furthering growth, employment and environmental protection in the European Union as well as the international competitiveness of European enterprises. In financing the pharmaceutical ingredients plant of Boehringer Ingelheim, one of Europe's ten largest pharmaceutical companies, the EIB will, according to Mr Roth, be contributing towards "enhancing the firm's competitive position and further reducing the discharge of pollutants".

For Boehringer Ingelheim, an international pharmaceutical enterprise headquartered at Ingelheim am Rhein, the loan agreement with the EIB represents, in the words of company spokesman Mr Heribert Johann, "recognition of a state-of-the-art industrial project designed to hone the firm's competitive edge".

Boehringer Ingelheim will manufacture substances at the new pharmaceutical ingredients plant for the Boehringer group worldwide. The project constitutes the largest single capital investment scheme in the company's history.

Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical firm engaged in research activities, is represented in over 140 countries. Revenue last year ran to DEM 8.75 billion (EUR 4.45 billion), of which more than 60% was generated outside Europe, while the staff complement numbered 26 000. 90% of sales were accounted for by humanpharma products.

The European Investment Bank, with its head office in Luxembourg, is the European Union's financing institution, owned by the Member States. The EIB finances infrastructure development and modernisation (energy, water, transport, telecommunications, environment, health, education, urban renewal) as well as investment by European enterprises geared to strengthening their international competitive position and safeguarding the environment. The EIB's balance sheet total stands at EUR 176 billion. Annual lending corresponds to around EUR 30 billion (1998), of which some 17% in Germany.

(1) EUR 1 = DEM 1.95583, GBP 0.666300.