DIF, VINCI close on €130m Belgian schools project

A consortium led by DIF Infrastructure II has closed on a contract with the Ministry of the German Community of Belgium for the construction of schools near the German border.

A consortium comprised of DIF Infrastructure II and two VINCI affiliates has reached financial close on a design, build, renovation and maintenance contract that the Belgian government awarded last month. 

DIF estimated that the total investment in the project will be “over €130 million”, according to a statement. Fortis Bank, KBC Bank, ING Belgium and Dexia Bank Belgium will provide financing for 27 years.

Dutch fund manager DIF said in a statement that its second infrastructure fund holds a majority position in the project company, PPP Schulen Eupen. DIF Infrastructure II is a €571 million fund focused on renewable energy and public-private partnerships in Western Europe. The fund closed last September at €71 million higher than its target.

The other stakeholders in the PPP Schulen Eupen consortium are CFE, a Belgian construction group 47-percent owned by VINCI, and SKE Facility Management, a German subsidiary of VINCI.

DIF said that construction, which involves building schools on three sites in the eastern Belgian city of Eupen, is expected to be completed by 2013.  CFE said that the project involves construction of 46,200 square metres of new buildings, and 17,800 square metres of renovation.

CFE also said that as part of the 25-year maintenance contract that the Ministry of the German Community of Belgium signed last month, “the consortium is required to provide financial guarantees covering the schools’ energy consumption”.

DIF currently manages around €550 million in public-private partnership and renewable energy assets through three infrastructure funds, according to a statement.