Transport gets into gear

Over the last few years, the transport sector has played second fiddle to energy – but this trend went into reverse in the first quarter of 2015.

Despite the $8.1 billion phase 2 refinancing of the Rabigh refining and petrochemical complex in Saudi Arabia dwarfing all other projects during the three-month period, transport edged ahead with a transaction total of more than $19 billion.

Helping transport to top our sector table were the likes of the Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhone (APRR) refinancing in France ($3.8 billion), the Thameslink PPP refinancing in the UK ($2.8 billion), and the NorthConnex PPP motorway project in Australia ($2.3 billion).

However, it is worth noting that while transport represented an impressive market share of more than 36 percent during the quarter, energy and renewables together accounted for more than 50 percent (in our tables they are recorded separately).

In the mandated lead arranger (MLA) table, Japanese banks are still well represented after recording strong performances over the last few years. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) leads the pack this time, having recorded almost twice the value of deal activity as its nearest rival. Mizuho and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group also made their way into the top ten.

The regional table sees Western Europe edge out Asia Pacific, with almost $16 billion of recorded deals versus nearly $14 billion. Boosted by the massive Rabigh transaction, the Middle East/Africa is a close-up third with $11.3 billion while North America languishes in fourth with less than $8 billion. Indeed, no North American transactions made it into the top ten projects table.

However, the US claims fourth place in the country table which – again thanks to Rabigh – is topped by Saudi Arabia. In second place is Australia which, as well as NorthConnex, saw the $1.6 billion Sydney Light Rail PPP reach financial close in the first quarter. The UK was sandwiched between Australia and the US in third place.