Laboratories group Deluxe is to open a new processing facility in Rome, which will be only its second site in Europe.

Deluxe Italia is expected to serve distribution clients across the European region. "This is about more than the Italian market. From Rome we will be serving our clients' European needs. These needs are growing as print runs become larger," said Deluxe Italia spokeswoman Rosemary Desiat.

Distributors already committed to using prints from the new plant include 20th Century Fox, Columbia TriStar and Universal Pictures as well as several independents.

Deluxe's European managing director Ken Biggins declined to comment on the issue of electronic cinema and whether multiplex saturation will allow print runs to continue to grow. But Desiati said that she did not expect e-cinema to hurt the print business in the near future.

The new plant, which is built from scratch rather than being a replacement or extension of an existing processing facility, is highly automated and uses TFS and Looper developing and printing technology. It is close to both of Rome's airports.

Part of the UK's Rank Group, Deluxe has print facilities in Los Angeles, Toronto and London. It is understood to have looked at alternate locations for the new European plant in France and Germany, but settled on Rome for reasons of running costs and convenience. Curiously this means that both Deluxe and its biggest rival Technicolor, are located in London and Rome.