BBGI announces the completion of the acquisition of a UK PPP Project
Bilfinger Berger Global Infrastructure SICAV S.A. ("BBGI" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with Bilfinger Project Investments ("Bilfinger") for the acquisition of 37.5% of the equity and subordinated debt interests in Mersey Gateway Bridge ("MGB") Under the agreement, BBGI will take over from Bilfinger equity and subordinated debt subscription obligations amounting to approximately £20m. The obligations will be backed by a letter of credit using the Company's credit facility. The acquisition is conditional on the achievement of financial close for the underlying project and is expected to be completed in April 2014.
MGB is a design, build, finance, operation and maintenance project of a new 1 km dual-three lane cable-stayed bridge and approximately 9 km of access roads in the Borough of Halton, near Liverpool, and the construction, implementation and testing (but not operation) of an end-to-end free-flow toll collection system on both the Mersey Gateway Bridge and Silver Jubilee Bridge. The project is expected to become operational in H2 2017.
The construction works relating to the project will be undertaken by an experienced joint venture between Samsung C&T ECUK Corporation, Kier Infrastructure & Overseas Limited and FCC Construction S.A. Construction obligations have been passed down from MGB to the joint venture.
The concession term runs until March 2044 and includes a 3.5 year construction period. Payments under the project will all be availability based. BBGI expects to receive distributions throughout the concession period once the project becomes operational. The project counterparty is Halton Borough Council, supported by the UK Central Government.
Frank Schramm, Co-CEO said:
"We are excited to be involved in this critical piece of infrastructure being delivered under the new UK infrastructure investment programme. This acquisition is on accretive terms and was agreed without engaging in an auction process. The returns are attractive on a risk adjusted basis and are consistent with our policy of having some assets in construction which are expected to deliver NAV uplifts both before and on becoming operational."
Duncan Ball, Co-CEO said:
"We are very proud to be part of the team delivering this important piece of infrastructure which is a major strategic new transport route linking the Liverpool city-region and the north west to the rest of the country. The project will create more than 470 permanent full-time jobs during the construction phase and, once operational, will reduce journey times for commuters in the region and result in less congestion."