Infrastructure is key for EIB

By Sandy Guthrie25 February 2014

Strategic infrastructure is one of the four priority areas for the European Investment Bank (EIB) in its 2014 to 2016 strategy.

It said that to support growth and jobs in Europe further, it intended to continue its “counter-cyclical approach” with a special focus on four priority areas – innovation and skills; access to finance for smaller businesses; climate action and strategic infrastructure.

The EIB Group said it was committed to working closely with the European Commission, Member States, national development banks and other stakeholders to continue to provide “innovative, pragmatic and efficient solutions to catalyse further investment in the EU and increase the leverage effect of EU budgetary resources and Member State contributions”.

Each year, it updates its rolling three-year operational strategy and it claimed to have set ambitious lending targets in response to the crisis.

It said, “The €10 billion capital increase agreed by our shareholders, the EU Member States, in 2012 allows for €60 billion additional lending in the EU during the 2013 to 2015 period.

“This has enabled us to deliver an exceptional increase in lending in 2013 and provide support to economic recovery in Europe, playing our role in catalysing investment, attracting other investors and rebuilding confidence in the market.”

It said that as the EU bank, it would continue on this “growth-enhancing course as part of the Union’s strategy to address the longer-term consequences of the crisis and maintain our ambitious targets for the 2014 to 2016 period”.

The three-year plan foresees lending targets set at around €67 billion for 2014 and 2015 with a return of long-term sustainable lending levels in 2016.

Scottish project

Meanwhile, the EIB has agreed to provide a funding contribution of £175 million (€212.6 million) towards the completion of the motorway link between Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.

The investment programme will include both completion of the M8 motorway between Scotland’s two largest cities and major improvements to the M73 and M74.

Advanced works are currently underway and the road link will be designed, built, operated and maintained for 30 years following award of a concession agreement by the Scottish government.

Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank vice president responsible for the UK and Ireland, said, “The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting crucial investment in essential infrastructure across Europe, and we recognise the importance of the M8 scheme to upgrade Scotland’s core motorway links.”

Debt financing for the project is equally split between a direct loan from the European Investment Bank and a bond placement with international investors. The new Scottish scheme represents the first UK road project involving bond finance since the global financial crisis in 2008, and is said to be the largest project to be financed through the Scottish Government’s Non-Profit Distributing model.

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