ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On 23 July 2014, the European Investment Bank (hereafter: EIB)announced it would finance its first project bond in the digital infrastructure market. The project bond worth EUR 189.1 million would fund the roll-out of fast and superfast digital infrastructure by the Axione Infrastructures in sparsely populated areas of France. The project is part of the country's superfast broadband plan (France Trčs Haut Débit).
The beneficiary company, Axione Infrastructures, is one of the largest companies in digital development in France. It is owned by Fonds d'investissement des Caisses d'Epargne (FIDEPPP), MIROVA (a subsidiary of Natixis Asset Management), Caisse des Dépôts, Bouygues Energies & Services and Axione (subsidiaries of Bouygues Construction).
Project bonds are a new financing method launched by the EIB and the European Commission back in 2012. The intention of the scheme is to "speed up mobilisation of private capital for European infrastructure projects, in particular the roll-out of fibre optics in sparsely populated areas ("public initiative areas")" (Press release from 23.7.2014, BEI/14/173).
As the bond included a 20% senior debt enhancement by the EIB, "which made the placement really attractive to investors", this financing method constitutes investment support, which would not have been commercially available to Axione.
A state measure in the GTA database is assessed solely in terms of the extent to which its implementation affects the extent of discrimination against foreign commercial interests. On this metric, the investment support proposed here is discriminatory.
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