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INPP, Palisade to double up on $320m Aussie light rail project

Plenary and Marubeni are also part of a group that will fund a 7.3km extension to the $980m Gold Coast transit system.

The consortium chosen five years ago to build Queensland’s Gold Coast Light Rail has agreed to deploy additional equity in an extension to the original A$1.29 billion ($983 million; €869 million) project.

The group, which comprises UK-listed International Public Partnerships (INPP), Australian developer Plenary Group, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Group, Sydney-based fund manager Palisade Investment Partners, French transport operator Keolis and South African developer Aveng Group, will provide the equity needed to construct the 7.3km, A$420 million additional stretch.

The current 13km line links Gold Coast University Hospital to Broadbeach. Operational since July 2014, it started off as a 18-year concession, 13 of which remain today.

The extension concession will also end in 2029, with revenues linked to the asset’s availability and partially tied to the Australian CPI. Senior debt is being provided for the term of the concession by BBVA, Intesa Sanpaolo, KfW, Export Development Canada, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho.

Significant financing is also coming from public authorities, with a A$270 million contribution from the Queensland Government, A$95 million from the Australian federal government and A$55 million from City of Gold Coast Council.

INPP said it would invest about A$7 million for a 26.7 percent equity stake in the extension. Construction is expected to complete at the end of 2017, with operations starting in early 2018, prior to the opening of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.