Intesa Sanpaolo with EIB to modernize the Palermo-Catania railway line

The image that accompanies the news on the 3.4 billion euro operation for the modernization of the Palermo-Catania railway line shows a train running along the tracks at sunset

Intesa Sanpaolo joins the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the project to modernise the Palermo-Catania railway line, through an innovative financial operation that will provide total resources of €3.4 billion. The operation is the first of its kind in Italy in the infrastructure sector.

The modernisation of the Palermo-Catania railway line – which is part of the Scandinavia-Mediterranean Corridor of the Trans-European Transport (TEN-T) Network – will reduce current travel times between the two cities by a third, with significant impact on economic, social, and sustainable development in Sicily.

In detail, the agreement provides for:

  • €800 million in direct financing from the EIB to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF)
  • a €1.3 billion counter-guarantee, provided by the EIB and developed in conjunction with Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, in favour of financial intermediaries, of which:
    • the first €500 million has been allocated to Intesa Sanpaolo, the bank that pioneered the project by helping to outline the instrument
    • another €300 million earmarked to CDP
    • the remaining €500 million will be allocated to other financial intermediaries at a later stage.

The 50% counter-guarantee is backed by the InvestEU programme and enables the guarantees to be doubled to €2.6 billion. When added to the financing granted to the MEF, this brings the value of the resources activated to €3.4 billion.

The development of Sicily's infrastructure is central to the revitalisation of Southern Italy and the strengthening of the strategic role played by the Mediterranean.

The operation’s mechanism has been designed to facilitate the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects and may become a benchmark in the world for strategic green infrastructure projects.