LANDMARK GAUTRAIN PPP REACHES FINANCIAL CLOSE
Financial close was achieved last week (25 January 2007) on South Africa’s mammoth Gautrain rapid rail link project.
The Gautrain is:
One of the largest project finance commercial bank packages arranged in the South African market;
The world’s second-largest rail PPP after the London Underground PPP; and
The largest greenfield rail project currently under construction globally.South African law firm Bowman Gilfillan, together with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, acted for the lead arrangers, Standard Bank of South Africa and Rand Merchant Bank (RMB).
Commercial close was reached on 28 September 2006 with the concession agreement being signed between the Gauteng Provincial Government, which procured the project, and Bombela, a consortium whose shareholders include Bombardier, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Murray & Roberts and Strategic Partners Group.
Standard Bank and RMB co-arranged the project’s entire debt funding package, consisting of senior, mezzanine and standby facilities.
Construction of the 80km high-speed rail link has already commenced, with the first phase of the project due to be completed in 2010.
“We are proud to have been involved in advising on this prestigous government project and are pleased to have assisted our clients Standard Bank and RMB in bringing it to Financial Close.
The project was particularly challenging due to its complexity and the wide range of legal specialists who became involved, including specialists from our banking, regulatory, environmental and corporate practice areas,” says Bowman Gilfillan’s Anton Barnes Webb.