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Messina Bridge gets financial backing

Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo SpA is ready to finance the building of the Messina Strait bridge linking Sicily to the mainland, according to the head of its infrastructure unit.

“We have already opened credit lines. It’s 4.5 billion euros [£4bn] of investments. We are ready to put what’s necessary… and then syndicate it because we have no problems,” Intesa unit Banca Infrastrutture Innovazione e Sviluppo (BIIS) chief executive officer Mario Ciaccia told Reuters newsagency this week.

The Italian government has already earmarked £1.13bn for the project, Ciaccia said, speaking on the sidelines of a conference in Milan.

In March 2006, Impregilo signed a £3.4bn contract to build the bridge and related road and rail links as head of a consortium including Spain’s Sacyr and Japan’s Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries.

The bridge project had been shot down by the previous centre-left government and taken up again by the current centre-right one led by Silvio Berlsuconi.

Ciaccia said BIIS was looking at infrastructure projects in countries in the South Mediterranean, especially in Egypt and Turkey. He said those projects that BIIS could help finance involved investment of £8.7bn.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Whilst this is great news for the infrastructure of Southern Italy and Sicily , it must be viewed with some scepticism as the Autostrada linking Central and Southern Italy is currently also undergoing massive improvements and re-development and has been for the past ten years and completion is still well off in the future.
    Until this is completed then the Messina Bridge will loom ominously like a large white Elephant on the Italian Government.

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