Lines of funding bridge PPP gap
While the European Investment Bank wants partnerships with commercial banks to reach SMEs, commercial banks and borrowers can in turn pitch deals to the EIB so long as they are technically and economically viable and support EU policy objectives. The role governments might play in seeking EIB support is not entirely clear. Nor is the extent to which they might seek to palm off onto the EIB the burden of funding quasi-public works.
The London Underground PPP, where the EIB has lent in support of both the Metronet and Tube Lines winning consortia, give a glimpse of how this works in practice.
The EIB lent £300 million to Tube Lines, wrapped by Ambac. With Metronet, the EIB's £600 million loan went unwrapped and the EIB took project risk.
"I am told that strictly speaking, the Metronet team approached the EIB," says Metronet's company secretary and treasurer, Nigel Edwards. "However, we believe that the EIB made offers on the same terms to all the bidders and that the EIB was already fully informed about the PPP."