The European Investment Bank and the German pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim, today signed a finance contract for EUR 62.5 million in Luxembourg.

The funds will be deployed for the construction of a new plant for biopharmaceutical substances in Biberach/Riss (Baden-Württemberg), designed to double production capacity. With the new plant, scheduled to come on stream at the end of 2003, Boehringer Ingelheim, will possess one of the world's largest biopharmaceutical production complexes. The project will create 400 new jobs. Overall investment in the Biberach plant will amount to some EUR 250 million. EIB financing for this project, totalling EUR 125 million, will be provided partly in the form of a direct loan and partly through intermediary banks.

"With this loan, the Bank is contributing towards development of this German pharmaceutical centre and bolstering its international competitiveness", said EIB Vice-President Wolfgang Roth during the contract signing ceremony.

Boehringer Ingelheim invests in pioneering biopharmaceutical and biotechnological processes, developed in cooperation with universities, private research institutes or spin-off enterprises. The project will allow the company to consolidate further its strong position on the worldwide market.

Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company engaged in research activities, is represented in over 140 countries and has 26 000 employees. In 2000, its revenue ran to EUR 6.2 billion, of which more than 70% was generated outside Europe. 90% of turnover is accounted for by the company's human pharmaceutical products division.

By financing the expansion of Boehringer Ingelheim's biotechnological production facilities, the EIB is furthering the objective, set by the European Council in 2000, of strengthening the European economy's capacity for innovation and thereby creating new jobs.

The European Investment Bank, with its head office in Luxembourg, is the European Union's financing arm. The Bank finances infrastructure development and modernisation as well as investment by European enterprises aimed at strengthening their international competitive position. Annual lending is around EUR 37 billion (2001), of which some 16 % goes to Germany.