DIF team closes €1bn-plus Dutch road

The winning consortium – which also includes Hochtief, Royal Boskalis Westminster and VolkerWessels – was backed by a club of nine banks.

A consortium including infrastructure fund manager DIF, Hochtief, Royal Boskalis Westminster and VolkerWessels reached financial close yesterday on a €1 billion-plus road public-private partnership (PPP) in the Netherlands. 

The 30-year PPP was backed by a club of eight commercial banks – including Japan’s Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Germany’s NordlLB, KfW, LBBW and Helaba, France’s Credit Agricole CIB, and Italian bank Unicredit – together with the European Investment Bank. Credit Agricole CIB acted as security agent, facility and intercreditor agent on the deal. 

Law firm White & Case, which advised the consortium on the financing of the project, said the road PPP is being financed using a mixture of senior facilities, milestone and equity bridge facilities provided by the bank club. The amount of debt provided for the project was not disclosed. 

The so-called A1/A6 project comprises the design, construction, maintenance and financing of existing and new highway infrastructure between Diemen (A1) and Almere Havendreef (A6). 

For consortium member Royal Boskalis Westminster, the road deal marks the firm’s debut in the space, although it had previously stated that it wants to do more deals in the roads sector. 

Fund manager DIF did the A1/A6 deal out of its third infrastructure fund. DIF Infrastructure III has recently raised €604 million, beating its original €600 million fundraising target, and says it is “well on track” to hit its €750 million hard cap by the end of the first quarter of the year. 

DIF’s third fund is targeting investments in projects with long-term stable cash flows, mainly public-private partnerships and renewable energy deals. The focus will be on primary and secondary opportunities as the firm looks to achieve a blend of yield and capital growth. 

The fund manager already has a €571 million second fund, closed in September 2010, under its belt as well as a first, €121 million fund closed in 2006. In addition, DIF raised a €134 million renewable energy fund in 2008.