European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Italian Economics and Finance Ministry have signed an agreement for financing Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI)’s investment programme. The loan agreement totalling almost EUR 1bn (EUR 950m to be exact) to finance the upgrading of conventional railway lines and regional and local routes in northern and southern Italy was signed by EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco and the Director General of the Italian Treasury Vincenzo La Via. Also present at the signing ceremony were the CEO of FS Italiane Michele Mario Elia, the CEO of RFI Maurizio Gentile, and representatives of the Infrastructure and Transport Ministry.
With this operation, the Italian Republic can benefit from the favourable lending terms of the EIB, which – thanks to the strength of its capital base – issues bonds on the international markets that are rated AAA by the leading rating agencies. This financing operation will enable the Treasury to make savings in terms of interest payments. The Treasury will in turn onlend the funds to Rete Ferroviaria Italiana for its investment programme. Via a project contract, RFI undertakes to upgrade, adjust and maintain the entire Italian conventional rail network, which is used daily by millions of Italians. A large proportion of the work will be carried out in the south of Italy (Mezzogiorno).
The Minister Padoan stressed that this operation is consistent with the strategy to revive investment to which the Government is strongly committed. Mr Padoan specified: “Two objectives are being pursued: (i) to improve the infrastructure and services available to the Italian people; (ii) to kick-start a period of investment to foster economic growth and job creation. We will work to enable the EIB to fund projects starting with those already identified by the national task force and conveyed to the European institutions.”