BBGI completes first US PPP deal

The London-listed fund has bought one-third of the Ohio River Bridges Project, part of the pipeline for the £145m capital raise it completed last December.

Bilfinger Berger Global Infrastructure (BBGI) has completed the acquisition of a 33.33 percent interest in the Ohio River Bridges Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project.

The Ohio River Bridges / East End Crossing PPP is a long-term concession procured by the Indiana Finance Authority for the development, design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a cable-stayed bridge and related road across the Ohio River. It connects Clark County in Indiana and Jefferson County in Kentucky.

The concession, which expires in 2051, was awarded by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in November 2012 to a consortium comprising Bilfinger Project Investments (BPI), Vinci Concessions and Walsh Investors. The deal saw the grouping provide $78 million in private capital and $702 million through a bond offering.

The East End Crossing had been predicted to cost $1.3 billion, while Ohio River Bridges, the entire project, has a total cost of $2.6 billion.

BBGI’s acquisition, estimated to be worth around $27 million, is said to be accretive by the management team, with availability payments coming from the Indiana Finance Authority upon completion of the construction phase. Bonds most recently issued by Indiana were rated AA+ by Fitch with a stable outlook.

The deal marks the first PPP asset to be acquired by BBGI in the US. It was a pipeline asset for the £145 million (€175 million; $238 million) capital raise the fund completed at the end of last year.

Bilfinger Berger launched BBGI in December 2011, raising £212 million on the London Stock Exchange for investment in roads, education, healthcare, justice and other sectors. The pipeline of deals considered included 19 PPP assets from BPI’s portfolio.

The construction group then announced its intention to sell the rest of its concessions business unit at the end of May, a portfolio that includes 16 PPP/PFI projects in Australia, North America and Europe with committed capital worth €254 million. BBGI entered in exclusive negotiations with Bilfinger Berger to acquire up to 11 projects last October, due to be financed by the fund’s latest fundraise.

The firm has also been busy acquiring assets from other buyers last year. These included three UK and two Canadian hospitals as well as four projects in Germany from construction company Hochtief.