InvestEU: EIB and CDP provide €215 million for new University of Milan campus
Press release

InvestEU: EIB and CDP provide €215 million for new University of Milan campus

Academo secures financing for the construction of a new academic campus from the EIB and CDP, partly backed by the InvestEU guarantee

With a total value of over €450 million, the project in the Milano Innovation District (MIND) will accommodate more than 23 000 people, including students, researchers, teachers, and other staff

This is the first new-zero carbon academic and research facility in Italy to potentially be eligible for GOLD energy-environmental status under the international LEED building certification programme


Luxembourg/Milan/Rome/Turin, 21 May 2024 — The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) have provided €215 million in financing, partly backed by InvestEU, to Academo Srl, a project company formed by Lendlease and the Equiter Infrastructure II fund (managed by Ersel AM) to which the University of Milan has awarded the contract to design, build and operate its science and technology campus in the Milano Innovation District (MIND). The goal is to support the creation of new teaching spaces for university students and researchers as part of a broader environmental sustainability-focused urban regeneration project in Milan.

This financing is the final step in the operation planning phase coordinated by Lendlease, which involves a total investment of more than €450 million.

In concrete terms, the €215 million in new funds include a project finance-based direct loan. This is broken down into an initial tranche of €95 million from the EIB and a second tranche of a further €95 million from CDP, also provided by the EIB. This means that the EIB's favourable lending terms will cover €190 million of the investment over a long maturity period, thereby reducing the project's cost for the public sector entity awarding the contract. CDP’s credit line is backed by a guarantee from InvestEU, the European Commission's programme for supporting private sector investment. Moreover, CDP will also provide a €25 million VAT line  for the project. 

This transformational operation is of strategic importance for the city of Milan and will enable the University to create an innovative campus that brings multidisciplinary scientific skills together in one place by transferring teaching and research department activities as part of the institution's overall development programme.

The project may be eligible for GOLD-level energy-environmental status under the international LEED  certification programme as assessed by a third-party certification body, and will have a renewable energy generation system using solar panels and groundwater. In addition, vehicles used within the campus — which the new MIND-Merlata suburban railway station will serve — will be almost exclusively electric, helping to achieve average energy savings of over 24% compared with standard benchmark buildings.

The operation is in line with CDP's 2022-2024 strategic plan and the EIB's objective to support universities and research. It also follows the priorities identified by CDP's strategic sector guidelines regarding social infrastructure for enhancing and modernising academic organisations.

The EIB has a long history of supporting education in Europe, with more than 20 years of experience in the sector. In the last 10 years, we have allocated over €3 billion to support the Italian educational system, focusing on modernisation, security, energy efficiency, the construction of new student accommodation and the expansion of teaching and research infrastructure,” said EIB Director of Equity, Growth Capital and Project Finance Alessandro Izzo. “Following the recent agreement with Polo Strategico Nazionale, this initiative confirms the EIB’s role as a key financial partner in project finance operations, with the goal of promoting this financial technique in support of strategic projects and partnerships in Italy.” 

This partnership with EU institutions has enabled us to help the University of Milan to implement a high-impact public-private partnership project of regional importance, with the main objective of improving university life for students in the new headquarters of the science faculty,” added CDP Head of Infrastructure Carlo Lamari. “The operation announced today is fully in line with the guidelines presented in our 2022-2024 strategic plan and further confirms CDP’s ongoing commitment to back the development and modernisation of social infrastructure in Italy.

Today's important milestone consolidates the project's financing framework and ensures its implementation,” said Lendlease Investment Management Director and Academo CEO Francesco Mandruzzato. “The support of prestigious institutions such as CDP and the EIB as financiers and the Equiter Infrastructure II fund as investor definitively completes the group of partners backing the implementation of this project over the next 3 years.

The MIND campus will be a major project for the university and the city in coming years. It will have wide-ranging national and international impact, creating a sustainable, multidisciplinary university campus with services and infrastructure focused on cutting-edge scientific and technological innovation where students, teachers and technical and administrative staff will be able to engage in a renewed exchange of ideas. We are laying the groundwork for our future, and will work closely and cohesively with all stakeholders involved,” said University of Milan Rector Elio Franzini.


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