The Millau Viaduct was built between 2001 and 2004 by Compagnie Eiffage du Viaduc de Millau (CEVM) under a concession contract awarded to Groupe Eiffage that included the construction and operation of the bridge. The construction phase was financed by Groupe Eiffage, which in 2002 obtained an initial EUR 50 million loan for that purpose from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s long-term financing institution. The EIB stated at the time that it would be prepared to participate in the second phase of financing the infrastructure by providing long-term funding tailored to the viaduct’s economic life once construction was completed and the traffic ramp-up phase was over.
On 24 July 2007, the EIB provided a second loan of EUR 143.25 million. This loan represents 25% of the non-recourse finance (EUR 573 million) arranged for the long-term funding of the Millau Viaduct. The remaining finance was provided by Dexia Crédit Local (EUR 214.875 million) and DEPFA Bank (EUR 214.875 million). The entire finance is guaranteed on a fifty-fifty basis by the credit enhancers FSA and MBIA. The maturity of this financing package and its structure, which is based on a rate pegged to French inflation, are particularly well suited to the economic life of the Millau Viaduct and the revenue streams resulting from the tolls. In this operation, the lenders and credit enhancers have been advised by Clifford Chance and Eiffage has been advised by Lazard and Linklaters.
The EIB’s involvement as a financial partner in the two financing phases of this project has enabled the best terms to be offered with regard to rates and maturity for financing this extraordinary infrastructure project.
The Millau Viaduct is an exceptional 2.5 km-long bridge with multiple cable stays that enables the A75 motorway to span the Tarn valley between Clermont Ferrand and Béziers at Millau (Département of Aveyron). Since opening, it has ended a major traffic bottleneck on the A75, which links Paris to Barcelona and forms part of the trans-European transport networks (TENs) in Europe.
With this new loan, the EIB reaffirms its commitment and its position as leader in financing TENs, one of its priority tasks, for which it has provided funding totalling EUR 36 billion over the past five years. This operation should also be seen as part of the European Union’s proactive policy to improve the movement of people and goods within the Union. It is with that in mind that the EIB has been involved in all major infrastructure projects in Europe, including those undertaken in the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs).