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DIF completes €246.5m Belgian refinancings

The fund manager said low interest rates and the current banking environment provided opportunities to raise a lump of debt for the road and bus depot PPP projects.

Dutch infrastructure fund manager DIF has refinanced two of its PPP projects in Belgium through a €246.5 million transaction.

Both of the refinanced projects come under the portfolio of DIF Infrastructure II, the firm’s €572 million vehicle which closed in July 2010.

They include the Noord Zuid Kempen road project, an upgrade of the road connection between two towns in Flanders. DIF II owns 50 percent plus one share in the project, with the remainder held by Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen, an investment arm of the Flemish government. The 30-year concession project reached a €200 million financial close in October 2011 after receiving debt financing from KBC, ING and SMBC.

ING and KBC have returned to provide a €206 million facility with a term of 26.5 years, with assistance from newcomers AG Finance and Argenta Spaarbank.

DIF also refinanced the Stelplaatsen bus depot PPP, which reached financial close in 2010. The firm, which is a 91 percent shareholder in the project, has received a €40.5 million loan from AG Insurance to refinance the existing debt facility. The loan has a maturity of just over 19 years.

“Taking advantage of the prevailing low interest rates and the competitive bank market environment, financing terms and conditions on both projects have materially improved,” DIF said.