MegaProject 1348: Plenary completes US$460 million refinancing of road PPP in Australia
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Plenary Group has announced that it has completed a AUD646 million (US$458.5 million) refinancing of the Peninsula Link, a 27km toll-free road between Carrum Downs and Mount Martha in the south-east of Melbourne, Australia.
In 2010, the state government of Victoria contracted the Southern Way consortium to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the roadway under an availability-based public-private partnership lasting 25 years. The road opened to traffic in January 2013.
Plenary took over management of the road in 2016 on behalf of Southern Way, which consists of Abigroup, Lend Lease Infrastructure Services and Bilfinger Project Investments Australia.
The refinancing involves two debt tranches, including the introduction of a 10-year tranche – double the tenor of the existing facility – helping mitigate refinancing risk for the equity investors represented by AMP Capital and Whitehelm Capital.
All eight banks that contributed to the financial close of the project, achieved in February 2010, participated in the refinancing. The banks have not been disclosed, besides that four are domestic and the rest international.
The transaction was Plenary’s first external financial advisory mandate, though the company performed financial advisory services in its capacity as sponsor of the AUD1.8 billion (US$1.28 billion) Western Roads Upgrade and AUD1.6 billion (US$1.14 billion) Toowoomba Second Range Crossing projects, both PPP projects also located in Australia.
There have been several major road concession refinancings this year. In July, Eiffage and Sanef secured up to EUR825 million (US$950 million) from 11 banks to refinance the Pau-Langon A65 motorway in south-west France, which the partners operate under a 60-year concession contract.
Also in July, Connect Plus, the project company that manages the M25 motorway around London under a 30-year concession, placed GBP889 million (US$1.17 billion) bonds in the largest refinancing transaction in the UK since 2015.