The European Investment Bank (EIB) announces a EUR 350 million (1) loan to Alcatel for part-financing its investment in research, development and industrial application of advanced telecoms technologies.

The funds made available will underpin Alcatel's applied research into broadband technology in three main telecoms segments: terrestrial optical networks; switching and routing; and space (satellite broadband communications). The projects financed are mostly being conducted at Alcatel's sites in France (Marcoussis, Nozay and Vélizy, near Paris; Toulouse and Cannes) and Spain, as well as in Italy, Belgium and Germany over the period 2000 to 2002.

In the words of EIB Vice-President Francis Mayer: "Mounted under the Innovation 2000 Initiative launched by the EIB at the request of the Lisbon European Council, this important operation will enable the Bank to support one of Europe's leading high-tech companies in its programme of research and development, a key component of the international competitiveness of European industry".

On its side, Alcatel welcomed the establishment of ongoing cooperation with the EIB that will give a boost to R&D at its main research centres and enable it to make further technological advances.

Launched at the request of the Lisbon European Council, the EIB's Innovation 2000 Initiative (i2i) is designed to support the development of a knowledge-based, innovation-driven European economy (see i2i).
To date, the EIB has already made available around EUR 4.5 billion under i2i, including more than EUR 1.3 billion for some 10 R&D projects in 5 EU countries. Over the period 2000-2003, the Bank will contribute between EUR 12 and 15 billion towards investment in areas covered by the Innovation 2000 Initiative in tandem with venture capital operations aimed at stimulating the creation of SMEs. 

(1) EUR 1 = 6.55957 FRF