The European Investment Bank (EIB) has teamed up with Italian banks to lend €1.5 billion to support completion of the 62km Brescia-Bergamo-Milan (BreBeMi) motorway.

BreBeMi was the first major motorway infrastructure project in Italy to be entirely privately funded, but has faced many delays since the contract was awarded back in 2009.

The Società di Progetto Brebemi consortium won the contract – a joint venture between Italian motorway operator Autostrade Lombarde, which owns 89%, and a consortium of contractors, banks and other financial institutions.

Initially scheduled to open to traffic at the start of this year, legal hold-ups and the dramatic change in fortunes for Italy’s economy and banking sector have made it difficult for the consortium to raise the funds for the project. The BreBeMi motorway is currently 65% completed and construction is now expected to be finished by the end of June 2014.

Of the €1.5 billion finance package approved to help complete the project, a €760 million loan came from Italian state-owned lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and a €105.5 million loan was contributed directly by the EIB. The EIB and CDP also worked together to make a further €655 million available through debt issued by five Italian banks.

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