The European Investment Bank (EIB) announces that Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive signed a EUR 350 million loan contract with STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) today in support of the company's industrial and R&D programmes concerning new generation semiconductor circuits.

This loan represents a new stage in the EIB’s financing of Europe’s competitiveness in the research and innovation field and an additional opportunity for ST to further increase its financial flexibility and strengthen its already very robust capital structure.

The research programme is focused on developing the next generations of electronic chips with the aim of:

•    Creating innovative and economically competitive technologies meeting the needs of the digital economy (multimedia and communications convergence, digital nomadism);
•    Reducing the power consumption of IT and telecoms equipment and improving energy efficiency.

The project financed covers the full product development cycle from technology platform research to design. It will be carried out over three years at ST’s sites in Rousset, Crolles, Grenoble and Tours (France).

The research is particularly aimed at developing new mobile applications using powerful autonomous fuel cells. As well as IT and telecoms, the industrial and automotive sectors are expected to be major beneficiaries.

Conscious of the strategic importance of the high-tech sector and in line with its Innovation 2020 Initiative, the EIB has made support for R&D one of its priorities. In 2009, it directed nearly EUR 1.4 billion towards fostering the development of an innovative and competitive high-tech knowledge economy in France.

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About the EIB

The EIB is the bank of the European Union. Its remit is to provide mainly long-term loans to support viable private or public investment projects that realise the objectives of EU integration, cohesion and development, based on six priority policies: economic and social cohesion; protection of the natural and urban environment; research and innovation; support for SMEs; trans-European transport networks; and the promotion of secure, competitive and sustainable energy supplies. In 2009, it provided finance totalling EUR 70 billion within the European Union, an increase of 36% compared with the EUR 51.7 billion lent in 2008. Also in 2009, to support the economy in the wake of the crisis, it granted loans totalling EUR 79 billion to businesses and local authorities within and outside the European Union.