DIF reaches financial close on French fire stations

The transaction – the fourth PPP jointly sealed by DIF and Vinci in the country – comes at the end of an eventful year for the Dutch firm.

Schiphol-based DIF has reached financial close for a fire station public-private partnership (PPP) in Loiret, central France.

The project comprises the design, building, financing, operation and maintenance (DBFOM) of 12 stations spread across the department. The concession has a duration of 22 years, with completion of the building phase expected in September 2017.

The project is jointly owned by DIF and French developer Vinci, which respectively hold a 49 percent and 51 percent stake. It is the second primary PPP transaction closed by the duo in the country, after Toulouse Mirail University earlier this year. DIF and Vinci had previously reached financial close on the Belfort and Angoulême Hospital projects in 2012.

The transaction will be partly funded by DIF’s Fund III, which has been highly active since it held a final close on its revised €800 million hard-cap last March.

Its maiden deal was the purchase of a 35 percent stake in Solaire Durance, a 34-megawatt (MW) portfolio of four operational photovoltaic (PV) plants in the south-east of France. It then increased its stake in a UK portfolio of 10 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects to 90 percent, up from the 50 percent it already owned.

That was followed by capital injections in two UK solar plants and an Irish road PPP, as well as the acquisition of a stake in a British Columbia-based hospital public-private partnership (P3) – the firm’s first Canadian deal.

Another landmark for the firm was its November takeover of Ampere Equity Fund, a renewables investment vehicle previously managed by Dutch lender Triodos. The fund, which was equipped with €320 million in dry powder when it reached its closing in December 2008, has a portfolio spanning wind as well as solar projects in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK.