PF Archive

A1: An unlikely syndication

19 12 2008

Syndication of the 29-year Eu595 million ($796 million) debt and equity facilities backing the Eu650 million 30-year A1 Hamburg-Bremen toll road concession closed at the end of November. Five banks, including Deka Bank and Commerzbank, joined the mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) Unicredit/HVB, Caja Madrid and DZ Bank in the lender line-up. The project is Germany's largest PPP to date and the largest A-Model ever awarded. But more significantly, the deal is a rare commodity in the project finance market at the moment – an underwritten deal with market risk. The A1 financing leaves lenders with traffic risk at a time when most banks will only look at availability-payment based deals, have little liquidity and no appetite for long-term risk. The 29-year tenor on the deal leaves just a one-year tail. Sponsored by A1 Mobil Consortium – comprising Bilfinger Berger (42.5%), John Laing (42.5%) and Johann Bunte (15%) – the project is a main artery of the Northern European traffic system. It stretches more than 70 km and connects France and the Benelux to Northern and Eastern Europe, whilst also linking the German ports of Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Bremen, Lubeck and Jade Weser Port Wilhelmshaven. The last of these is a...