Firm Advises on €1.8 Billion PPP for French High Speed Railway Link Project

July 9, 2012

Paris office represents the sponsors on the 25-year public-private partnership (PPP) project to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Nîmes-Montpellier high speed railway bypass.

The firm’s Paris office recently advised the sponsors in the 25-year public-private partnership project (HSL - CNM) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Nîmes-Montpellier high speed railway bypass link. The PPP contract, which provides for a total investment of about €1.8 billion, was entered into by French public rail infrastructure manager Réseau Ferré de France and OC'VIA, a consortium led by the construction firm Bouygues. The OC'VIA consortium includes Bouygues Construction, Colas Rail, Spie Batignolles, Alstom Transport, Meridiam Infrastructure and FIDEPPP.

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. Financing for the project is sourced by sponsor equity contributions, public subsidies and multi-tranched bank debt. The bank debt is provided by Bayern LB, BBVA, BTMU, DZ Bank, HSBC, KfW, Mizuho, Natixis, Société Générale, SMBC and UniCredit and will be partially refinanced upon completion of the project by the European Investment Bank and the French Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.

Willkie advised the sponsors on all aspects of the project from the bidding phase to the financial close. The Willkie team included the following: 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.