The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided Euros40bn of credits to Natexis Coficine and Cofiloisirs, two French banks specialising in film lending.

The two Euros20bn loans are continuations of previous loans arranged in November 2001. They are expected to have the twin effects of boosting Coficine and Cofiloisirs' lending capacities while also allowing the banks to share risk with the EIB.

The EIB said that the two previous loans had been virtually used up by co-financing of some 30 films, TV films and TV series. It said that this "illustrated the relevance of this facility to encourage the emergence of European-scale audiovisual projects."

EU culture and Education Commissioner Viviane Reding has frequently described the EIB role in film funding as one of the three main planks - along with the Television Without Frontiers directive and the Media Plus programme - of EU media policy execution.

Since the launch of the EIB's "Innovation 2010 Initiative (aka Audiovisual i2I) in 2001, it has advanced Euros569m in loans to the sector and a further Euros119m in equity stakes in ten audiovisual venture capital funds.