Financial close reached on Australian PPP project

  State Government of Victoria and the East West Connect consortium has successfully achieved financial close on the East West Link Stage 1 project in Melbourne, which is one of the largest public private partnership (PPP) projects in Australian history.       The project involves the design, construction, finance and operation of a new freeway-standard road link, including twin 4.4km (2.7 miles) three-lane tunnels, connecting Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway with the CityLink motorway. The project is a 30 year concession, involving a construction period of approximately five years and 25 years of operations, with construction expected to start in late 2014 and be completed by 2019.       The design and construction will be undertaken by a joint venture comprising Lend Lease, Bouygues and Acciona, with Lend Lease Services as the long term operator of the project. The East West Connect consortium includes John Laing and QIC as investors in the project, alongside Lend Lease, Acciona and Bouygues and Capella Capital as financial adviser.       East West Link will transform the way that people and goods move around Melbourne, cater for growing demand for cross-city travel and provide an essential alternative to the Monash-CityLink-West Gate (M1) corridor. The project includes the construction of 6.6km (4.1 miles) of new freeway-standard road, the creation of new bridges and landmarks, development of an expanded wetlands and water park at Ross Straw Field, upgrade of the precinct around Flemington Bridge railway station and cycling initiatives.       Justin Bailey, head of John Laing Asia Pacific, the equal largest shareholder in the project, said, “We are delighted to have secured the contract on this vital transport link within the heart of Melbourne, which will ease congestion and improve road safety.       This is the latest in a number of major projects that we have invested in within the Asia Pacific region and I am pleased to see our presence further develop in what is a strong sector for our business, globally.” Dr Denis Napthine, Premier of the State Government of Victoria, commented, “Across the nation people are sick to death of congestion, they are tired of the gridlock, and they expect their governments to do something about it. That’s why I was pleased to sign the contract that will deliver a much needed, congestion busting infrastructure project.”