NIB loan to boost capacity of Latvian railway

A new EUR 21 million loan has been provided by the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) to the Latvian state-owned railway company VAS Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railway). The 15-year-maturity loan will help finance the company's investment programme for improving the capacity and traffic safety of the east-west railway corridor by 2013. The corridor is part of the Trans-European network linking major hubs in Russia and Belarus to the Latvian ports of Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja. "Modernising Latvia's railway infrastructure is an important contribution to strengthening the country's competitiveness," says Johnny Åkerholm, NIB President and CEO. "This project has a major environmental advantage, because it will help transfer even more cargo freight and passengers from more polluting infrastructure to the railways." The financing is earmarked for the construction of a second rail track on the 52-kilometre Skriveri-Krustpils section and the replacement of the rail track on the routes Ventspils-Jelgava-Rezekne and Riga-Krustpils-Daugavpils. The combined length of the renewed sections totals 105 kilometres. In addition to the loan from NIB, the Latvian Railway project with a total cost of EUR 108 million will be financed from the European Cohesion Fund, as well as a loan from the European Investment Bank. The Nordic Investment Bank is the common international financial institution of the eight Nordic and Baltic countries. NIB provides long-term financing to the energy, environmental, transport, logistics and communications, and innovation sectors for projects that strengthen competitiveness and enhance the environment. NIB has the highest possible credit rating, AAA/aaa, with the leading rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's For further information, please contact Vilius Girkontas, Senior Manager Origination, at +358 10 618 0240, Nina Monsen, Senior Communications Specialist, at +358 10 618 0291, [HUG#1424706]