Project Bonds for Belgian motorway

By Sandy Guthrie26 March 2014

A new 12km motorway link between Brugge and Westkapelle in Belgium is being supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB), and is both the first transport project and the first greenfield PPP (public-private partnership) in Europe to benefit from the EC-EIB Project Bond Initiative.

The A11 will provide a direct motorway connection between the port of Zeebrugge and the European motorway network.

Pim van Ballekom, EIB vice president, said, “The A11 scheme is expected significantly to reduce congestion for freight and tourist traffic, fill a missing link in the Belgian motorway network, and we are pleased to work with public and private partners to support construction of the project.”

He said the EC-EIB Project Bond Initiative helped institutional investors back long-term infrastructure investment.

The A11 motorway scheme will be financed using the project bond credit enhancement model, with €578 million of project bonds issued for the A11. The European Investment Bank is also providing a subordinated credit facility of €115 million, which it reported improved the credit rating of the bonds by three notches to A3, according to rating agency Moody’s.

In addition, the EIB has acted as an anchor investor for €145 million of the bond issue.

The A11 scheme is the third infrastructure project in recent months to be financed under the Project Bond Initiative, jointly developed by the European Commission and European Investment Bank.

A public-private consortium of Via Brugge and Via Invest will finance the design-build-finance-maintain project through the project company Via A11.

Via Invest is a joint-venture between Belgian government-owned investment company PMV and the Community of Flanders.

Via Brugge comprises the infrastructure fund DG Infra, Jan De Nul (39%) and a number of other construction companies active in the Benelux region – Aswebo, Aclagro, Franki Construct and Van Laere – holding a total 11%.

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