The European investment bank (EIB), the European Union's financing institution, has advanced a EUR 99m loan to Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) for the construction and commissioning of two high-speed ferries planned to operate on the Genoa-Sardinia/Sicily route.

The loan is intermediated by a syndicate of 11 banks arranged by IntesaBCI and Unicredito Italiano.

Banks involved in the term loan are IntesaBci Mediocredito Banca di Roma, Credito Italiano, Banco di Napoli, Banca Carige, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Banco di Sardegna, Banca Popolare Novara, Efibanca, Banca Popolare di Bergamo and Banco di Brescia.

The two new sister vessels "cruise ferries" will be amongst the largest of a new generation of fast and technologically advanced cruise ferries, with a high level of automation and a capacity of some 3000 passengers and about 3000 linear meter of cargo.

The project will contribute to the diversification of the transportation system with the South of Italy, thereby providing, in particular as regards Sicily, an environmentally friendlier alternative to congested land routes and fostering the development of trade, tourism and job creation.

The European Investment Bank finances capital investment furthering EU integration, in particular: regional development, trans-European networks in transport, telecoms and energy, industrial competitiveness and integration, small and medium sized enterprises, environmental protection, energy security, and health and education projects. It also operates outside the EU within the framework of the EU's co-operation external policy. Owned by the EU Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets (AAA issuer).