Financial close for Meridiam’s €863m port project

A combination of bonds, public funds and equity should allow the Port of Calais concession to complete by 2021.

Meridiam Infrastructure (Meridiam), the Paris-based fund manager, has reached financial close for the concessions of the ports of Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The €863 million, 50-year contract will be financed by a €504 million, 40-year bond subscribed by entities managed by Allianz Global Investors, the asset management arm of Germany’s Allianz, as well as €89 million provided by equity investors and public subsidies of €240 million.

The project has also secured support from the European Investment Bank’s Project Bond Credit Enhancement mechanism, which aims to bump up the credit rating of large-scale infrastructure projects. The institution is providing a letter of credit of €50.4 million, or 10 percent of the amount raised through the bond issue.

Signed in February alongside the Paris-headquartered Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the concession encompasses two major ports located on France’s north-western coast. Port of Calais is the country’s first and Europe’s second busiest for passenger traffic, according to Meridiam, while Port of Boulogne-sur-Mer is said to be France’s largest for fishing activities. Construction, which started in March, is expected to complete in January 2021.

The project, Meridiam’s first in the seaport sector, represents a €44.5 million investment for the firm’s €935 million Europe Infrastructure Fund II. The vehicle reached its final close in April 2012 – just shy of its €1 billion target – with a majority of commitments coming from new investors in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.

The financial close comes after an eventful first half of the year for the firm, which last month reached a similar milestone on the last section of Finland’s E18 motorway as well as on Turkey’s Yozgat Education and Research Hospital Project, its second healthcare PPP in the country.

Earlier developments in 2015 have included the €184.5 million refinancing of Spain’s A66 highway PPP and the financial close of Ankara’s €1.2 Bilkent Integrated Healthcare Campus.