Project Finance magazine recognized the €1.8 billion Nîmes-Montpellier high-speed railway bypass public-private partnership (PPP) project as the “European High-Speed Rail Deal of the Year 2012.” Willkie’s Paris office represented the sponsors in the 25-year PPP project to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the railway bypass. Project Finance notes: “The deal was the third and final big-ticket high-speed rail project to be procured by the French government and was one of the largest greenfield infrastructure projects to close in Europe last year.”
The 88km freight and passenger rail infrastructure, which includes a 60km high-speed line between Manduel (east of Nîmes) and Lattes (west of Montpellier), is expected to be operational in October 2017 and to create about 6,000 jobs in the region. Willkie advised the sponsors on all aspects of the project from the bidding phase to the financial close. The Willkie team included: Public Law: partner Thierry Laloum and associates Anne-Laure Barel and Alexis Grisoni; Project Finance: partner Amir Jahanguiri, special European counsel Driss Bererhi and associates Farah El-Bsat and Darko Adamovic and Corporate: associates Olivier Lopez and Hugo Nocérino.