A render of a section of the Western Roads Upgrade

Plenary achieves first greenfield bond financing since GFC

Published 20 December 2017

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Plenary has achieved Australia’s first greenfield bond financing for a public-private partnership since the Global Financial Crisis. The bonds are being issued to finance the A$1.8 billion Western Roads Upgrade project.

This is the State of Victoria’s largest single investment in arterial roads to date and the first time an arterial roads project has been procured as an availability-style PPP in Australia.

Plenary is financial arranger, joint project sponsor and joint SPV manager for the project, part of the Netflow consortium contracted by the Victorian Government to design, build, finance and maintain the project under a 20-year concession (plus construction).

The finance package for the project involves 60 per cent senior secured notes provided through US Private Placement (USPP) and 40 per cent via commercial lenders.

The bonds are full-term AUD ‘natural’ bonds with a fixed interest rate.

Plenary Head of Origination Paul Crowe said it was a ground-breaking day for the Australian PPP market.

“Today marks the first long-term bond financing for a greenfield PPP in Australia since the GFC,” Mr Crowe said.

“There was more than A$2 billion of investor interest in this bond financing, underscoring the global investor demand for high quality PPP projects and the innovative approach adopted by the Victorian Government, Plenary and Netflow.”

Mr Crowe said previous long-term cross-border financings have been dominated by North American private placement investors but in this instance, order books attracted investors from across Europe and Asia.

“The long-term PPP bond market has been dormant in Australia for the past decade, resulting in shorter debt terms. This result will reduce the refinancing risk on the project and is a boon for the PPP project bond market in Australia.”

The Western Roads Upgrade includes eight high-priority road upgrades, road widenings, intersection upgrades, almost 30 kilometres of duplicated road and more than 260 kilometres of road rehabilitation and maintenance across Melbourne’s west.

“To win the Western Roads Upgrade is a vote of confidence in Plenary and Cintra’s Netflow joint venture, and to have the support of such an impressive line-up of banks and investors is a vote of confidence in the financial solutions Plenary can achieve for governments on major infrastructure projects.”

Bank debt is being provided by leading domestic and international banks Westpac, Bank of China, ICBC and Mizuho, with all chosen for their experience, capabilities and commitment to Australian road infrastructure projects.

Equity financing comes from Netflow joint venture partners and project sponsors Plenary (50%) and Cintra (50%), which is in line with Netflow’s goal of investing in, developing and managing major road concession projects.

The consortium also comprises Cintra as joint project sponsor, WBHO Infrastructure as design and construction lead, and Amey and Broadspectrum as services contractor.

 

About Netflow

Netflow is a joint venture between Cintra and Plenary with a focus on road projects in Australia and New Zealand. It brings together two of the largest developers and managers of infrastructure globally to provide competitive offerings for road projects including static and dynamic tolling, user recognition and managed lanes. www.netflowjv.com.au

Cintra is one of the largest developers and investors in transport infrastructure in the world, managing more than A$30 billion of assets including 26 road concessions across Australia, the US, Canada, Europe and South America. Cintra has delivered technical and financial solutions for some of the world’s largest infrastructure projects, applying cutting-edge technology and design innovation to minimise financing, construction and operational costs. Assets under management include the US$3.6 billion 407 ETR toll road in Toronto, the US$2.6 billion LBJ Express and US$2.1 billion North Tarrant Express managed lanes projects in Texas, and the A$1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. www.cintra.es/en

 

Christopher Whitefield

Corporate Affairs Manager
+61 3 8888 7754
+61 418 530 806
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