The European Investment Bank, the European Union's financing institution, is lending up to GBP 87 million (ECU 122 million) for the construction of 37 km of motorway on the Glasgow to Carlisle section of the M6 in the United Kingdom. The finance goes to Autolink Concessionaires (M6) plc the private sector concessionaire responsible for the motorway works being carried out under a design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) contract from the Scottish Office.

Commenting on the loan, EIB President and Chairman Sir Brian Unwin KCB said: "We are very pleased to be supporting this project as it will complete a key section of a Trans-European Network route linking Scotland to England and then Continental Europe. The EIB, as the EU's long-term lending arm, has a leading role in financing major infrastructure projects throughout Europe. We are particularly interested in encouraging private sector financing initiatives for transport schemes, such as this one, in the development of Trans-European Network."

The EIB loan is for 25 years. The project will complete the upgrading and enlargement to full dual 3-lane motorway standard of the entire 100 km between Glasgow and Carlisle, covered by the DBFO contract which includes the operation and maintenance for the section for 30 years. Autolink will receive payment or a shadow toll from the UK Government based on the actual road usage.

The M6 carries over 70% of cross border road traffic, and the works will increase capacity on sections currently prone to congestion. The 37 km stretch concerns 28.2 km in Scotland from Paddy's Rickle Bridge to Cleuchbrae, and 8.8 km from the Scottish border to Junction 44 north of Carlisle in England.

The EIB was set up in 1958 to finance for capital investment furthering EU policy objectives, in particular: regional development; trans-European networks in transport, telecoms and energy; industrial competitiveness and integration; SMEs; environmental protection; and energy security. It also operates outside the EU within the framework of the EU's co-operation external policy. Owned by the Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets (a AAA bond issuer). The President of the EIB, Sir Brian Unwin, assumed office in 1993 and is the first British President of the institution.

The conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 31/03/1997 , when 1 ECU  = 0.71 GBP, 6.58 FRF.