The European Investment Bank (EIB) has renewed two agreements for EUR 20 million each with Cofiloisirs S.A. and Natexis Coficiné S.A to co-finance projects relating to the production and distribution of audiovisual works for cinema and television in France and other EU countries.

The contracts were signed on 22 December 2004 by EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive along with Didier Courtois Duverger, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Natexis Coficiné, and Denis Offroy, Managing Director of Cofiloisirs.

These agreements follow on from two similar operations arranged in 2001 and 2003, which enabled the EIB and the two specialist financial institutions to co-finance some 50 audiovisual productions (29 films and 21 TV films and TV series programmes) with production costs totalling almost EUR 500 million. A number of the projects financed were co-productions involving partners from several EU countries (France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom), which were distributed throughout Europe and, in some cases, outside the Union, in the United States, Canada, Japan and Australia. Examples for the cinema include, Iznogoud , Arsène Lupin, Les Dalton (The Daltons), Moi César (I, Cesar), Espace détente, Pas sur la bouche (Not on the Lips), and for television Les rois maudits (The Cursed Kings), Pitt & Kantrop, Skyland, Sous le Soleil (Saint-Tropez), L'instit (The Teacher), and Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons).

Implementation of the first two agreements illustrates the relevance of this facility. The twofold advantage of this method of co-financing is that, firstly, it enables Cofiloisirs S.A. and Natexis Coficiné S.A. to boost their financing capacity and, secondly, it introduces risk-sharing with the EIB. This helps to offset the lack of resources besetting the audiovisual sector for national and European projects and to facilitate access to credit, especially for independent producers.

As with the previous agreements, the signatories of the new contracts plan to support the funding of a large number of cinematographic or audiovisual productions, drawing on the established expertise of Natexis Coficiné S.A. and Cofiloisirs S.A.. As the points of contact for the beneficiaries of this facility, these two firms will appraise projects submitted, seek the EIB's approval and be responsible for concluding and monitoring finance contracts.

For the EIB, the EU's financing institution, these agreements come under the Innovation 2010 Initiative-Audiovisual (i2i-AV), set up to offer Europe's film and audiovisual industry a package of financial instruments equipping it to meet the cultural and technological challenges it faces in a globalised economy. Since 2001, the EIB Group has provided financing to the European audiovisual sector to the tune of EUR 609 million in EIB loans, plus some EUR 120 million in equity participations by the European Investment Fund (EIF) in 10 venture capital funds specialising in audiovisual SME equity financing.

The "i2i-AV" programme forms an integral part of the "i2i" Initiative launched in June 2000 by the EIB Group to support the development of a knowledge-based and innovation-driven European economy, as called for by the Lisbon European Council.