The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Cassa depositi e prestiti Spa (CDP) have signed a contract to finance Autostrade per l`Italia’s investment to extend the Florence-Bologna stretch of the A1 motorway. On the basis of the agreement, the EIB is making available funds of up to EUR 500 million to CDP, going towards the construction of this new stretch of motorway, whose total cost is estimated at around EUR 3 billion.
More specifically, Autostrade per l`Italia’s plan concerns the development in the Apennines of two stretches of Italy’s largest motorway, the A1, forming part of Corridor I of the TENs (Trans-European Networks), Europe’s supranational motorway infrastructure: north of Florence, the La Quercia-Barberino del Mugello section and on the outskirts of the Tuscan capital, the section between Florence North and Florence South.
The project aims to relieve traffic congestion around Florence and speed up traffic in the Apennine segment of the A1. For those reasons, together with the positive environmental impact and expected knock-on effect on jobs, this operation comes under the European Commission’s policy of financing infrastructure.
This loan to Autostrade per l`Italia (Atlantia Group, listed on the Milan Stock Exchange) is the first provided by the EIB and CDP since the signature in Luxembourg on 6 July 2009 of the Framework Agreement intended to consolidate and develop cooperation in Italy between the two institutions, especially in the area of financing major works and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with the aim of stimulating economic recovery. The agreement covers a variety of fields. With regard to infrastructure works, joint action is planned to identify projects, conduct the relevant appraisals, examine the technical options for financing and raise funds on the capital markets.
The European Investment Bank supports the strategic and policy objectives of the European Union by providing long-term loans for economically viable projects. The EIB’s shareholders are the 27 Member States of the EU. Italy is one of the four major shareholders, together with France, Germany and the United Kingdom, each of which holds 16.2% of the capital. At end-2008 financing operations totalled EUR 355 billion, of which EUR 45 billion in Italy.
Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Spa is a 160-year old joint-stock company controlled by the Italian Government (70%), the remaining shares (30%) being held by a group of banking institutions. Its remit is to encourage the development of the country. CDP finances public investment, infrastructure projects for the delivery of local public services and major works of national importance.