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Meridiam wins Finnish E18 road PPP

The Paris-based fund manager has teamed up with Finland's YIT Rakennus for the Hamina-Vaalimaa motorway project.

The Finnish Transport Agency (FTA) has selected a consortium comprising fund manager Meridiam Infrastructure and Finnish developer YIT Rakennus as the service provider to build the E18 Hamina-Vaalimaa motorway through a public-private partnership (PPP).

A statement said contract negotiations would begin immediately with the aim of signing a 20-year service agreement by summer this year. Construction is expected to begin in autumn this year with the entire motorway to be completed in 2018.

The competitive tendering of the project lasted almost a year and included several rounds of negotiations. Bidders were given the opportunity to present their ideas regarding a range of issues from motorway planning solutions to project financing details. The project comprises a 20-year commitment to build and maintain the road.

“The winning tender met the Finnish Transport Agency's expectations both in terms of price and quality,” said project director Lars Westermark of the FTA. “We can now confidently start finalising the contract with a professional and capable service provider.”

It is estimated that reduced annual expenses will save the FTA more than €100 million over the 20-year period.

The stretch of road to be built is the last part of the E18 motorway, which crosses the country from Turku to the eastern border. The final stretch comprises 32 kilometres of new motorway and related road arrangements which include a waiting area for lorries in Vaalimaa, the improvement of existing pedestrian and bicycle lanes and the building of additional lanes especially along an old main road parallel to the motorway.

The deal is the latest in a series of motorway PPPs in Finland, some of them relating to the E18 motorway such as the Muurla-Lohja and Koskenkyla-Kotka stretches, as well as main road 4 and the Jarvenpaa-Lahti motorway.

Last October, the Meridiam-backed E18 Eagle Motorway linking Scandinavia to Russia was opened.