Published 20 October 2016 PPP bond a first for an Australian project since GFC
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Leading infrastructure investor, developer and manager Plenary has closed the first long-term bond issue for a PPP project in Australia since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
As part of a $1bn refinancing of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the initial bank debt has been refinanced with a $450m 24 year domestic and offshore bond issuance, and an 11.5 year bank debt tranche.
The long-term PPP bond market has lain dormant in Australia for the past 9 years leaving little competition for banks in Australian PPP financing and, as a result debt has been relatively hard to secure for tenures longer than 7 years.
In what amounts to a re-opening of the bond market and competition for debt financing, the VCCC bond is the first of its kind. It is a full term A$ “natural” bond with a floating interest rate.
Paul Oppenheim, CEO of Plenary Australia, said the VCCC bond is the culmination of a concerted effort over recent years to re-engage fixed income investors in the Australian PPP bond market.
“This outcome is a credit to the persistence of our origination team who have been searching for the right opportunity to re-activate the bond market.”
Mr Oppenheim said the location of the key investors is indicative of Plenary’s increasing activity in North America where it has achieved financial close on a portfolio of PPP projects with a capital value of over A$15 billion.
“The bond issue has been supported by some of the world’s largest fixed income investors alongside key local institutions”, he said.
Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas said, “This is a vote of confidence in the state of the art VCCC facility, and yet another in the Victorian economy - the fastest growing in the nation.”
Mr Oppenheim acknowledged the support of Victorian Treasury officials throughout the process.
Following a 4.5 year construction period the $1.1 billion VCCC was completed on-time and on-budget earlier this year and opened to patients in July 2016.
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