On 22 December 2004, Mr Charles-Henri Filippi, Chairman and Managing Director of CCF, and Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, signed an agreement making available to CCF a credit line of EUR 100 million, intended for midcap (medium-sized) companies.

This credit line is specifically targeted at independent midcap companies, for the first time in France and Europe. These are companies with more than 250 and fewer than 3 000 employees, which until now have rarely benefited from EIB support as they had only limited access to global loan financing directed at SMEs or missed out on individual loans intended for large corporates carrying out capital projects of over EUR 25 million.

This credit line with a maximum duration of 12 years will finance individual capital projects in accordance with the eligibility criteria set by the EIB: i.e. individual capital projects for a maximum amount of EUR 50 million, located in regional development areas, and/or falling within the Innovation 2010 Initiative (primarily R&D and innovative technologies) or energy and environmental protection spheres.

This operation is especially tailored towards the Corporate' customers of CCF, which is a well-established partner on this market in France. Business customers can thus benefit from loans at keen market rates. This agreement completes 15 years' cooperation between the EIB, CCF and the HSBC group as a whole in the fields of both global loans and individual loans.

With this new facility, termed a "grouped loan", the EIB has a complete array of products to accommodate all types of enterprise, whatever their size: from SMEs up to large corporates. The EIB thus acknowledges the importance of midcap companies in regional economic development and safeguarding jobs. Their growth is a crucial factor in Europe's industrial vigour and it is vital to continue supporting these businesses as they outgrow their SME status and make the transition to large corporates, when their financing needs increase and become the key to their success in highly specialised and competitive markets.

The HSBC Group.

CCF joined the HSBC Group in July 2000. With almost 10 000 branches and offices in 76 countries in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa, and assets totalling USD 1 154 billion as at 30 June 2004, HSBC is one of the world's leading banking and financial services groups.


European Investment Bank - is the European Union's financing institution, established in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome. Its principal remit is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States. To this end, it raises significant funds (over EUR 40 billion annually) on the capital markets, which it deploys at the keenest rates to finance projects meeting EU objectives.