The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides a loan of EUR 135 million to Metso Corporation, a leading supplier of process industry machinery and systems to the pulp and paper industry. The loan will part-finance the Group's on going Research & Development programme over the 2003-2005 period in its papermaking machine and automation businesses, aimed at maintaining and developing technological leadership in these sectors. The operation involves the Group's three technology programmes; namely life-cycle technology development, industrial design development and materials technology research, focusing on the Metso Paper and Metso Automation business areas.

Sauli Niinistö, Vice-President of the EIB commented, The funding in support of Metso's R&D and innovation activities under the Bank's Innovation 2010 Initiative corresponds to the European Council's recommendations to bolster investments in human capital, and industrial innovations and research. A significant part of the investment programme will take place in cities outside of the capital region, such as Jyväskylä, Tampere, Pori and Valkeakoski, contributing to the regional development.

Jorma Eloranta, President and CEO of Metso Corporation noted: "Combining changing customer needs and leading technology is one key element of Metso´s competitiveness. Technology development requires continuity. Therefore, we are very pleased to have secured long-term financing from EIB for these important activities."

The financing complies with the Lisbon Strategy, which is committed to take forward the conclusions of the Lisbon European Council, aimed at fostering the development of a knowledge and innovation-based European economy. Over a period of ten years, the Bank will have made available over EUR 50 billion in support of the Lisbon Strategy, recently confirmed in the Growth Initiative endorsed by the December 2003 European Council. The EIB has invested up to date some EUR 18,4 bn under this programme.