- The EIB has signed a direct loan of around €105 million with Società Italiana per il Traforo Autostradale del Frejus.
- Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and UniCredit are providing project finance-based loans of €92 million and €50 million, respectively, via EIB funding.
- SACE will provide guarantees of around €120 million, €80 million of which will cover the EIB financing and €40 million the CDP financing.
- CDP and UniCredit have also acted as structuring and coordinating advisors for the overall structuring of the project finance-based loan.
- The operation will improve road safety and the structural and seismic adaptation of bridges and viaducts, making infrastructure more resilient to future climate events.
The European Investment Bank (EIB), Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), UniCredit, SACE and Società Italiana per il Traforo Autostradale del Frejus S.p.A (SITAF) have concluded an agreement for the provision of a total of €247 million for modernisation and safety on the A32 motorway connecting north-western Italy with France via the Frejus tunnel (T4). The A32 is one of Europe’s key road arteries and an integral part of the Mediterranean Corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).
In concrete terms, the EIB has granted a direct loan of around €105 million to SITAF (ASTM Group). In addition, CDP has provided €92 million and UniCredit €50 million (totalling €142 million), benefiting from EIB funding. Around €80 million of the EIB financing and €40 million of the CDP credit lines are covered by a SACE guarantee. CDP and UniCredit have also acted as SITAF’s structuring and coordinating advisors for the overall structuring of the project finance-based loan. This financing comes in addition to the €320 million provided in 2013 for the construction of the second T4 tunnel, which is expected to open by the end of 2023.
This operation will enable SITAF to make a series of investments to improve road safety and modernise the main bridges, viaducts and tunnels along the 80 km of the A32 motorway. The investment plan also covers actions to expand smart transport systems and travel services, the replacement of lighting systems with LED technology and the renewal of noise barriers. Overall, the project will make motorway infrastructure safer and more resilient to extreme weather events.
UniCredit has also acted as hedging bank and financial advisor to the borrower for the deal.
“Supporting the creation and modernisation of the TEN-T network is an EU priority, and the EIB provides financing to make the network safer, more accessible, more sustainable and more efficient,” said EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti. “By backing adaptation and modernisation work on the A32 motorway, the EIB is helping to secure a safe and reliable connection for transit traffic between Italy and France, facilitating the movement of goods and people.”
SITAF CEO Claudio Vezzosi said: “This funding will enable SITAF to make the planned investment to improve safety on the key artery for Italy and Europe, making it more resilient, digital and sustainable in line with the strategic orientations of the ASTM Group.”
CDP Deputy General Manager and Business Director Massimo Di Carlo added: “This partnership between national and EU institutions will strengthen an artery of vital strategic importance for the economic, social and sustainable development of Italy and the European Union. The operation is in line with CDP’s 2022-2024 strategic plan and confirms its commitment to supporting the improvement of Italy's infrastructure, offering financial resources and expertise in the structuring of intricate and innovative operations.”
UniCredit Head of Wealth and Large Corporates Italy Massimiliano Mastalia said: “We are pleased to be the only commercial bank to have made a decisive contribution to the success of this transaction, providing SITAF and ASTM Group with both financial support and our advisory expertise in the infrastructure sector to identify the most appropriate financial structure for supporting a major investment plan.”
“We are proud to have made the financing of this investment plan possible with our guarantees, improving safety on one of Europe’s main road arteries,” said SACE CEO Alessandra Ricci. “Modern infrastructure and a safe and efficient motorway network are key assets for international trade growth and an important catalyst for Italian exports to Europe.”