STA, 15 May 2019 - The board of directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) approved a EUR 250 million loan for the construction of a second rail track between rail hub Divača and Koper port on Wednesday, the EIB confirmed for the STA.
This approval is considered a significant step to finalising the financial plan for the project estimated at just under EUR 1.2 billion.
To approve the financing, the EIB insisted on a state guarantee for the loan which will be taken out by 2TDK, a company incorporated with the purpose of building and managing the new track.
Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek has previously said that the state guarantee should not be a problem as a relevant bill is as good as ready. It needs to take effect before the loan contract is signed, expectedly by the end of the year.
She told the press after the EIB approved the loan that such a decision was expected, considering that the European Commission already okayed a loan from the EIB.
2TDK CEO Dušan Zorko, who was also confident that the loan would be approved, said that the EIB recognised the importance of this project for the entire region.
The next step will be to negotiate the contract for the loan, said Zorko. Bratušek added that there was no hurry to sign the contract.
"We were in a hurry with the loan so that we could finalise the financial plan for the project and so as not to endanger the EUR 190 million from the EU," the minister said.
"With the EUR 109 million in grants provided by the European Commission, the project can now start," European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said in a written statement.
The board of EIB directors was expected to discuss the loan to Slovenia in early April, but postponed the decision due to long debates about Brexit, the EIB said over a month ago.