Plenary completes US$165 million refinancing of bioscience research centre

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Plenary Group has completed a AUD230 million (US$164.8 million) refinancing of the AgriBio, Centre for AgriBioscience public-private partnership.

AgriBio – a joint initiative of the Victorian Government and La Trobe University – is Australia’s premier biosciences facility with some 30,000-square-metres of research laboratories, glasshouses and office accommodation for more than 400 scientists, students and support staff. Its program of plant, animal, and biosecurity research and diagnostics supports and protects Victoria's AUD11.6 billion (US$8.31 billion) agricultural sector.

In 2009 the Victorian Government contracted the Plenary Research consortium – comprising Plenary as financial arranger, financial arranger, investor and asset manager; builder Grocon; and facilities management provider Honeywell – to design, build, finance, and maintain the facility for 25 years.

The refinancing comprises a unique, single 17-year debt tranche that aligns with the end of the PPP concession, eliminating refinancing risk. This structure is a first for a PPP refinancing in Australia.

The debt is fully underwritten by National Australia Bank (NAB), one of the three previous lenders for the project.

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