InfraRed, DIF seal €860m refinancing

A clutch of institutional investors are part of a group of new debt providers backing the A63 toll road project.

UK-headquartered InfraRed Capital Partners (InfraRed) and Dutch-based DIF have successfully refinanced the initial debt package put together in 2011 to back France’s A63 toll road project.

The funding, which originally comprised €200 million of equity and €900 million of leverage, now includes a new €860 million senior debt facility with a tenor of 25 years.

A tranche of the facility was underwritten by institutional investors including US fund manager BlackRock, the asset management arm of French lender La Banque Postale, and Paris-based reinsurer Scor. The arranging banks otherwise included Banca IMI, BBVA, BNP-Paribas, Crédit Agricole CIB, ING Bank and Société Générale.

InfraRed and DIF respectively own 42 percent and 17.4 percent of the project, the former through its $1.2 billion InfraRed Infrastructure Fund III and the latter via its €800 million DIF Infrastructure III vehicle. The financing was secured in less than six months following a funding competition, InfraRed said in a statement.

The A63 toll road concession project originally reached financial close in January 2011 with a total investment cost of €1.1 billion, including an initial fee of €400 million paid to the French state. The initial package of non-recourse debt was provided solely by international banks.

The project consists of the enlargement and upgrading of 105 kilometres of the N10 road between Salles and Saint-Geours de Maremne, respectively in the southwestern French departments of Gironde and Landes. Construction of the motorway was completed in November 2013, seven months ahead of schedule, according to the fund managers. The concession has a duration of 40 years.

Sponsors of the project, which also include French developers Colas, NGE and Spie Batignolles, were advised by Clifford Chance and Société Générale.