Thameslink closes with 18 banks

The £1.6bn UK rolling stock project is being sponsored by 3i, Siemens and Innisfree.

The UK’s Thameslink Rolling Stock project reached financial close last week backed by a club of 18 banks providing some £1.6 billion (€1.9 billion; $2.4 billion) of senior debt.

The club of banks comprises: Lloyds; SMBC; Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi; KfW; Commonwealth Bank of Australia; Barclays; Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank; Bank of China; Bayerische Landesbank; Deutsche Bank Luxembourg; HSH Nordbank; ING Bank; Mizuho Corporate Bank; Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen Girozentrale; Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken; DBJ Europe; DZ Bank; and Credit Industriel et Commercial.

Sponsors 3i, Innisfree and Siemens will be responsible for purchasing and maintaining 1,140 train carriages and two maintenance depots. The public-private partnership is part of the bigger £6 billion Thameslink Programme, which is aimed at improving London’s commuter network, taking in some 50 stations across Carshalton, Hackbridge, Sutton and Wimbledon.

The entire Thameslink project is expected to be up and running by 2018 with the first carriages ready to roll in 2016.

Alex Carver, a partner at law firm Freshfields, which advised the Department for Transport on the deal, called the rolling stock deal “by far the most complex rail procurement to date and one that could act as a pathfinder for future transport infrastructure projects, these having just been boosted in the government’s spending review by what is expected to be a significant slice of a £50 billion capital investment”.