The project, which was developed by a ACS - Eiffage 50/50 joint venture (JV), began commercial operations on 1 January 2013. The total project investment was €1200 million (US$1495 million), of which €600 million was provided from public funds.
According to sources, the project is in bankruptcy due to the fact that traffic is much lower than anticipated. The JV is currently in negotiations with Spain's BBVA, which was the lead arranger bank providing a loan of €382 million to the JV, to get a postponement of debt repayments and a debt haircut.
According to sources, ACS - Eiffage JV will also ask the governments of Spain and France for a total consideration of €85.5 million (US$106.5 million) to compensate the low revenues from 1 January 2013 to present. According to the firms, the governments prioritized domestic rail traffic against the high speed rail link.
Spain is currently solving a similar problem in the road sector. Several Spanish highway concessions have entered into bankruptcy due to the low traffic and higher than expect land acquisition costs.
Spanish Infrastructure Ministry (Fomento) plans to set up a special vehicle to nationalize bankrupt concessions. A debt haircut of 50 % is planned for the road concessions. The new vehicle would bring together at least nine concession holders, together owning 748 km of toll roads: