[Euro]1.3bn Irish Roads Scheme Attracts European Banks

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Hoare

Banks and private equity firms are flocking to Ireland to capitalise on a [euro]1.3bn ($1.4bn) programme of investment in the country's roads following completion of the first of 11 project finance deals.The tying-up of the Kinnegad-to-Kilcock real toll motorway project last week opens the door for a

string of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

The financing for the deal, which had a capital cost of [euro]320m, was led by BBVA and SCH and backed by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Spanish banks' involvement came through Ferrovial, the construction group that has taken a stake in the project. Banks across Europe with strong PPP financing operations, such as Bank of Scotland, RBS and Depfa, are eyeing the Irish market. Three additional road schemes are expected to complete this year, with the rest closing by 2005.

Although the Kinnegad-to-Kilcock project did not involve any private equity from third parties, PPP projects regularly use such finance. …