The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term financing arm of the European Union (EU), is making a loan of EUR 180 million (ESP 30 000 million) (1) available to REPSOL QUÍMICA S.A. towards funding construction of part of its new petrochemical facilities in Tarragona.

REPSOL QUÍMICA is part of the Repsol YPF Group. Privatised in 1997, the latter is Spain's leading combine in the petroleum and petrochemicals sector and owns the Argentinian oil company YPF, acquired in 1999.

The new plant includes units for producing propylene oxide, styrene monomer and derivative petrochemicals, together with a tank farm for intermediate and finished products, as well as a wastewater treatment plant, the pipelines required for product and feedstock transport to and from the port of Tarragona, and railway and truck loading facilities. This latest REPSOL QUÍMICA facility is being incorporated into Repsol YPF's existing Tarragona petroleum refinery, thereby enabling the promoter to cater for demand in Southern Europe and trimming transport costs.

This project will help to improve REPSOL QUÍMICA's competitive edge, while at the same time the decision to locate the production facility in Tarragona, hard hit by the decline in the region's traditional textiles and light engineering industries, will have positive repercussions for both regional development and local job opportunities.

The EIB was founded in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome, which created the European Economic Community, with the aim of fostering enhanced integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion in the Member States by providing long-term financing for capital investment furthering attainment of EU objectives. Increasing the competitiveness of European enterprise figures foremost among the latter objectives, inasmuch as this not only underpins the Union's economic and social fabric but also serves to generate stable employment, in turn an objective accorded priority by the EU.

Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB funds its lending operations through borrowings raised on the capital markets, where its bond issues systematically enjoy the top AAA rating.

(1) EUR 1 = ESP 166.386