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DIF acquires French Gendarmerie barracks PPP

The fund manager has completed its purchase of the €160m project shortly after reaching a final close on its fourth vehicle.

DIF, the Dutch-based fund manager, has closed a deal to acquire the Sathonay-Camp Gendarmerie public-private partnership (PPP) project, located near Lyons, in France’s Rhône-Alpes region.

The firm bought its 95 percent stake in the complex from French developer GCC. The €160 million project reached financial close in 2009, with construction completed three years later by the company.

The facility, operational since then, has a remaining concession life of 27 years under an availability-based payment scheme with the French Interior Ministry.

The project consists of 42 buildings on a 17-hectare plot. It includes 420 houses, technical and administrative premises, warehouses, sports equipment and a medical unit. It is maintained by Cofely Services, a subsidiary of French utility GDF Suez that also holds the remaining 5 percent stake in the Gendarmerie.

Debt financing, provided through a long-term fixed-rate loan, was secured with Crédit Foncier de France.

The transaction’s completion closely follows DIF’s final close on its fourth infrastructure fund, for which the firm collected €1.15 billion. Formally launched in May this year, the vehicle had a target of €1 billion.

The vehicle follows a strategy similar to that of DIF III, which reached its final close in March 2013 on its €800 million hard cap. It aims for gross IRRs of 14 to 15 percent.