Case Studies: Bre.Be.Mi. Toll Road, Italy

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Project Overview

Figure 1:BRE.BE.MI. toll road map, Italy

Source: BREBEMI official website
BRE.BE.MI. Toll Road, Italy
Project Type: Both
Contract Duration: 20 years
Budget: approx. EUR 2,200M
Project Time Line
Tender Call: 2002
Contract Approved (signed): 2009
Financial Close: 2013
Other important dates for the project:
First pre-feasibility study: 1996
Presentation of the preliminary project, used as the basis for tender: 2001
Construction starts: July 2009
Expected opening: July 2014


The project concerns a new 62 km tolled greenfield motorway section and a 35 km brownfield motorway section where no toll collection is to be applied. It also involves building new local roads.

The motorway will run through the centre of Lombardy, parallel to the rail line, through 130 municipalities and 3 provinces, and will link the TEM Milan ring road and the bypass of the city of Brescia. The new motorway provides an alternative to the A4 motorway between Milan and Brescia (see Figure 1).

The new motorway (tolled section) is designed to allow a journey speed of 140 km/h and includes six interchanges, three viaducts (3.7 km) and a 1.3 km tunnel under the Muzza canal. A first section, connecting Brescia to Treviglio, is designed with two lanes and an emergency lane in each direction, with provision for enlargement to three lanes, while the second section, connecting Treviglio to the TEM Milan ring road, will have two lanes and an emergency lane in each direction.

The motorway is equipped with a totally automated toll collection system, a lighting system along the entire route - deemed necessary to deal with the frequent fogs that affect the area - four service areas, and two parking and maintenance facilities. Particular attention has been paid to noise mitigation, with the construction of a 15.1 km concrete barrier for sound absorption.

An innovative feature of the project is the construction of biomass plants that will produce power to offset the consumption of the motorway, through the use of waste materials from local agricultural activities. Such a solution has double value: it will produce "clean" energy and will be a source of income for farmers in the area.

The Contracting Authority (Public Party)

CAL S.p.A. (Concessioni Autostradali Lombarde S.p.A. – Lombard Motorway Concessions) is the authority responsible for contracting on behalf of the public sector.

CAL S.p.A. was founded in 2007 by Infrastrutture Lombarde S.p.A. (50%) and ANAS S.p.A. (50%). The former is a joint-stock company owned 100% by the Lombardy Region, and was established in 2003 to coordinate the implementation of new infrastructure projects in the Region. The latter is a joint-stock company owned 100% by Ministry of Economy and under the control and technical supervision of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport.

The BreBeMi project has been one of the first Italian projects developed under a PPP model. When the project was conceived there were two main obstacles. The first was the lack of a proper legislative framework despite the fact that Law N.109 (known as the ‘Merloni Law’) which was introduced in 1994 and amended several times up to 1998, provided for the use of project financing for large public infrastructures. The second was the impediment in Law N.492/75 to the building of new toll roads. Only in 2000, with Law N. 340, was this impediment overcome, when Article 21 introduced an exception to Law N. 492/75 for new infrastructure included in the General Transport Plan priority list.

The project was initially promoted by local organisations (mainly the Chambers of Commerce of the provinces of Brescia, Bergamo and Milan) and was included in the list of priority projects in 2001.

The Concessionaire (Private Party)

The concessionaire is BreBeMi S.p.A., whose principal shareholder is the main motorways concessionaire in Lombardy (Autostrade Lombarde S.p.A.) with 79% of shares. Other shareholders include banks and consultancy and construction companies. More specifically, the BreBeMi S.p.A. shareholders are:

  • Autostrade Lombarde S.p.A (78.975%)
  • Impresa Pizzarotti & C. S.p.A (7.413%)
  • Unieco Società cooperative (5.364%)
  • Itinera S.p.A. (2.710%)
  • CCC Società cooperative (1.560%)
  • Mattioda Pierino e Figli S.p.A (1.204%)
  • Società per Azioni Autostrade Centro-Padane (1.128%)
  • Società per Azioni Autostrada Brescia Padova (0.542%)
  • CMB Società Cooperativa Muratori e Braccianti di Carpi (0.490%)
  • Milano Serravalle – Milano Tangenziali S.p.A. (0.391%)
  • Banca Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. (0.054%)
  • SPEA Ingegneria Europea S.p.A. (0.054%)
  • Technital S.p.A. (0.033%)
  • Milano Serravalle Engineering S.r.l. (0.022%)
  • Alpina SpA (0.020%)
  • Idroesse Infrastrutture S.p.A (0.017%)
  • Aegis Srl Cantarelli & Partners (0.007%)
  • Silvano Buzzi & Associati Srl (0.005%)
  • Cremonesi Workshop Srl (0.005%)
  • A.B.M. Azienda Bergamasca Multiservizi Sp.A (0.004%)
  • Grandi Lavori Fincosit S.p.A (0.004%)

Construction works have been assigned to the Consorzio B.B.M. (partners: Pizzarotti & C S.p.A., Consorzio Cooperative Costruzioni and Unieco). These cover design, construction and expropriation activities. The EUR 1,460M contract contains approximately EUR 930M for direct works and EUR 293M for subcontracts, with the remainder for land expropriation and design.

Operations and maintenance have been assigned to Argentea Gestioni S.C.P.A. which will be responsible for maintenance, security, toll collection, and traffic management.

The debt/equity ratio of the project is 78:22, with EUR 1818M in debt and EUR 490 M equity. More specifically, debt is provided by:

  • Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (Development Bank, Public Finance Institution): EUR 760 M for 21 years;
  • European Investment Bank: EUR 105.5 M for 23 years;
  • Commercial Italian Banks: EUR 654.5 M for 23 years;
  • Commercial Italian Banks (standby facility): EUR 50 M for 21 years;
  • Commercial Italian Banks (VAT facility): EUR 200 M for 4 years;
  • Commercial Italian Banks (performance bond): EUR 48.5 M for 21 years;
  • Equity is provided by: Autostrade Lombarde S.p.A (78.975%); Impresa Pizzarotti & C S.p.A. (7.413%); UNIECO (5.364%); Itinera S.p.A. (2.710%); Consorzio Cooperative Costruzioni (1.560%) and a pool of private investors (4%).


The motorway will be used by both freight and passenger traffic. Traffic is forecast to be approximately 40,000 vehicles per day in the early phase of operation and a circulation of 60,000 vehicles per day in the long term.

Key Purpose for PPP Model Selection

Over the past decade the Italian Government has been seeking to attract a greater level of private participation in the ownership and management of infrastructure projects that have historically been owned and managed by the public sector. The BreBeMi project has been one of the first Italian projects developed under a PPP model.

The main motivations for a PPP are to:

  • Increase capacity in infrastructure delivery and public service provision through the involvement of private funding (off-balance sheet);
  • Transfer of a number of risks to the private partner;
  • Improve cost transparency in service management;
  • Exploit private sector competence and experience in public service management.

Project Timing

The provinces of Brescia and Milan are already connected through the A4 motorway. However an alternative route, represented by the BreBeMi motorway, is expected to decongest the existing road and motorway network along the corridor Milan - Bergamo - Brescia.

The financial crisis came immediately after the commitment signed with the lenders (both the pool of commercial banks and the Cassa Deposito e Prestiti) and resulted in the need to define, along with the Mandated Lead Arrangers, a new financing structure that would allow to maintain adequate financial indicators and bankability even in adverse market conditions. Moreover, despite the crisis, the Italian Government decided to continue with all the priority projects included in the three-year General Transport Plan, considering these projects, and especially those developed with a PPP model, drivers for economic development.

Project Locality and Market Geography

The project is of interest to three provinces in Lombardy and 130 municipalities. The construction of a new and alternative connection between the provinces of Brescia, Bergamo and Milan is very significant for the region, which is characterized by a large number of industrial clusters that generate intense traffic due commuters and goods traffic (materials, sub-components, and end products).

In addition, in 2012 the BreBeMi project was included in the EU TEN-T network.

Procurement & Contractual Structure


The procurement procedure for the award of the concession contract followed a two phase model envisaged by the Italian legal framework for concessions under private initiative (Art. 153 Law N. 163/06), whereby the project is designed and presented by a promoter on the basis of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) by the public sector. Following the selection of the best proposal, the public sector puts the promoter’s proposal out to tender and identifies the concessionaire.

In the first phase the public authority launches a call for proposals, evaluates the submitted proposals, identifies and approves a proposal as being in the public interest, and selects the promoter. In the second phase – a negotiated procedure - the public authority launches a tender for the concession on the basis of the project proposal presented by the promoter, and selects the concessionaire on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender criteria.

If no better offers are submitted, the concession is awarded to the promoter. If more economically advantageous offers are submitted, the promoter has 45 days to amend its proposal and be awarded the contract. Otherwise, the contract is awarded to the highest ranked bidder.

With respect to the BreBeMi project, approximately 20 consortia participated in the tender launched by ANAS S.p.A. (27 December 2001). Two consortia were selected for the second stage led by the American company Bechtel and Astaldi respectively.

The second stage was based on the following award criteria:

  • Toll system, distinguishing the tariff by distance and different categories of vehicles;
  • Concession duration;
  • Construction duration;
  • Profitability, i.e. the ratio between operating costs and revenues;
  • Sub-concessions (royalties).

The tendering procedure was completed within 16 months in April 2003.

Contract Structure

The BreBeMi is a DBFO contract with a 20-year duration and a total value of approximately EUR 2,200 M.

The contract establishes:

  • A one-off increase in the toll rates of 10%;
  • A 'value of takeover' of EUR 1,205 M.

Risk Allocation

Risk allocation is presented in Figure 2. Financial risks are partly shared between the two parties, since part of the debt is provided by a Public Finance Institution (Cassa Depositi e Prestiti).


Figure 2: Risk allocation


The contract contains no operational performance requirements. The contract requests completion of the assets in line with the agreed timetable and maintenance of the assets in good condition. There are no penalties for non-performance.

The main indicators that can be used to evaluate the success of the project are:

  • Reduction of 20% in heavy traffic along Route North, between Melzo and Milan passing by Pozzuolo Martesana;
  • Reduction of 60% in heavy traffic along Route Central, between the TEM Milan ring road and the Motorway interconnection Pedemontana-Brebemi;
  • Reduction of 50 % in heavy traffic along Route South, between Melzo and Milan passing by Liscate and Comazzo;
  • Reduction of heavy traffic in urban centres: Bellinzago 22%, Vaprio d'Adda 56%, Canonica d'Adda 20%, Palazzolo 30%, Coccaglio Cazzago 25-30%, Cassano d'Adda 30%, Treviglio 60%, Rivolta d'Adda and Arzago d'Adda 40%, Isso 25%, Fara Olivana 40%, Antegnate 60%, Calcio and Urago 30%, and in Chiari 60%.


  • BREBEMI S.p.A. Annual financial report , 2010, 2011 and 2012.
  • CIPE (2002). Project finance – elementi introduttivi, unità tecnica finanza di progetto.
  • CRMT (1998). Analisi di pre-fattibilità del nuovo raccordo autostradale Milano-Brescia, LIUC.
  • N. Carbonara, 2014, Bre.Be.Mi. Toll Road, in A. Roumboutsos, S. Farrell and K. Verhoest, COST Action TU1001 – Public Private Partnerships in Transport: Trends & Theory: 2014 Discussion Series: Country Profiles & Case Studies, ISBN 978-88-6922-009-8