Pathe Pictures has secured a $32m (£20m) revolving facility deal with banks SG Corporate and Investment Banking (SG CIB) and Natexis Banques Populaires.

The move signals Pathe's ambitions to continue backing big budget productions out of the UK after the expiry of its National Lottery franchise in Spring 2004, which will have seen the company access over $48m (£30m) in public funding over the past six years.

It is the second multi-million pound financing deal for a Lottery Franchise company to emerge out of the UK this month. On Sept 5, DNA Films unveiled their $50m joint venture with Fox Searchlight Pictures to make British films over the next five years.

Pathe UK currently has more than $100m worth of film in production including Danny Boyle's Millions, Gurinder Chadha's Bride And Prejudice, Jane Campion's In The Cut, Roger Michell's Enduring Love and the CGI animated feature film of The Magic Roundabout.

The Pathe UK backed Girl With A Pearl Earring, directed by Peter Webber, also had a strong reception following its world premiere at Toronto last week and is attracting Oscar buzz.

The SG CIB and Natexis facility deal is an expansion of Pathe's current arrangement with SG CIB, which has already helped finance The Hole and Bride And Prejudice. The first film to come under the new facility is The Magic Roundabout.

Francois Ivernel, managing director of Pathe UK, said: "The new facility provides leverage for our own equity as well as that of our financing partners, thereby enabling Pathe UK to expand its production slate beyond the expiry of the Lottery Franchise."

Premila Hoon, head of film finance at SG CIB added: "Pathe Pictures Limited and Pathe Distribution Limited are now among the most important production and distribution companies in the UK and we are delighted to be in business with them."

Mark Harrington, head of entertainment finance in Los Angeles for Natexis said: "A specialist in film finance in Europe and in the United States, Natexis is very pleased to have the opportunity to expand its relationship with the Pathe group by participating in the production financing of Pathe's UK film slate."