In Rome on Tuesday 22 December, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Poste Italiane signed a EUR 200 million contract to finance the company’s multiannual development plan. The EIB was represented by Dario Scannapieco (Vice-President in charge of operations in Italy, Malta and the Western Balkans) and Poste Italiane by its CEO Massimo Sarmi.
The loan will finance part of Poste Italiane’s plan to upgrade its IT network by introducing advanced technologies to support new services. The funds will also be used to modernise infrastructure and logistics platforms in preparation for the total liberalisation of postal services by January 2011 provided for in the relevant EU directive.
The financing operation meets the EIB’s eligibility requirements in multiple ways. High quality mail services are essential to economic development, and the geographic location of the investments is also a decisive factor: the funds will be partly directed towards projects in “convergence” regions in the framework of Poste Italiane’s recently launched strategic investment programme.
The operation will also serve to cement the existing excellent relations between the EIB and Poste Italiane, which since 2001 have given rise to loans totalling EUR 1 billion in support of Poste Italiane’s logistics modernisation plans over the past few years.
In the words of EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco: “Poste Italiane’s development plan is of strategic importance for the economic development and social cohesion of the whole country, and with this loan the EIB is reaffirming its commitment to helping the company continually improve its technological infrastructure.”
The European Investment Bank supports the strategic and policy objectives of the European Union by granting long-term loans for economically viable investment projects. The EIB’s shareholders are the 27 EU Member States. Italy is one of the four leading shareholders, along with the United Kingdom, Germany and France, each holding a 16.2% stake in the Bank. At end-2008, the EIB’s total financing amounted to EUR 355bn, of which EUR 45bn went to Italy.