The repricing and amendment of financing facilities marks the first time an Australian PPP has been successfully refinanced while still in the construction phase. The repricing allowed equity investors Lend Lease and HOSTPLUS to take advantage of improved PPP lending market conditions and was initiated and led by Capella Capital.
Herbert Smith Freehills has advised the two firms on the refinancing and Norton Rose Fulbright advised the financiers on the transaction.
Herbert Smith Freehills finance partner Erin Wakelin, stated:
"It is great to see this iconic construction project attracting continued lending interest and able to achieve improved terms," Erin said. The deal demonstrates to the market that changed lending conditions offer an opportunity for PPP investors and State governments to achieve better commercial outcomes, even when the project is still under construction."
The renewed Darling Harbour precinct is scheduled to be opened to the public by December 2016 and is projected to be Asia Pacific's premier integrated convention, exhibition and entertainment destination. It will feature a total exhibition capacity of 35,000 m², a 5,000 m² external event deck and a red carpet theatre with an 8,000 person capacity. The new facilities will be accompanied by a renewed and upgraded public domain.
Darling Harbour Live, a consortium comprising Capella Capital, AEG Ogden, HOSTPLUS, Lend Lease and Spotless achieved financial close for the project in December 2013. The project comprises the design, construct, finance, maintain and operate the convention, exhibition and entertainment facilities.