The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term financing institution of the European Union (EU), is making available jointly to Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona - La Caixa- and its subsidiary Banco Herrero a global loan for EUR 120 million (ESP 20 billion)(1) for financing small and medium-scale investment projects. La Caixa intends to use the proceeds primarily for funding municipal infrastructure and industrial regeneration and environmental schemes throughout Spain.

This is a multipurpose loan geared to financing projects meeting any of the following EU objectives: improving the productivity and competitiveness of SMEs; more efficient energy use and the development or diversification of energy sources; environmental protection and reduction of pollution; upgrading of small and medium-scale infrastructure and support for health, education and urban renewal schemes.

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. Global loans are essentially lines of credit opened with banks and other national, regional or local financial intermediaries, which deploy the proceeds in the form of sub-loans targeted in favour of small and medium-scale investment schemes meeting the EIB's eligibility criteria.

(1) EUR 1 = 0.613400 GBP; 166.386 ESP.