Steer provided Lenders’ Technical Advisory (LTA) services, advising Lenders on technical, commercial and environmental issues and risks in two distinct phases for the Via Brugge consortium:
- Phase 1: Technical Due Diligence (TDD) up to Financial Close, reached in 2014
- Phase 2: Construction Monitoring during the 3.5-year development phase.
Our role will continue with the Maintenance Monitoring in the following phase.
Our TDD services up to Financial Close focused on the tender documents and the technical solution developed by Via Brugge. This review covered the approach and costing for the design, construction and maintenance, including the permitting and environmental management processes used during the preparation and realisation of the work, the project contracts and the allocation of the technical risks and security packages.
As part of our Construction Monitoring services, we carried out monthly site visits and issued quarterly reports to the Lenders on project progress, technical and environmental issues, contract variations and any other changes in the projects technical risk profile, as well as certifying the value-creation on site against the contractors cost certificates on a monthly basis.
Financing includes equity injected into the project by private partner Via Brugge and public partner PMV, in combination with bond financing of an amount of EUR 578 million. The financing is fully committed by Allianz Global Investors and the European Investment Bank at the beginning of the project, but in an innovative development for a project bond, funds will only be drawn down over time during the construction of the project. The bonds are publicly listed, and benefit from the innovative Project Bond Credit Enhancement support mechanism, that was created by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission in order to promote the realisation of infrastructure projects. EIB provided a subordinated credit facility of EUR 115 million, which improved the credit rating of the bonds by three notches to A3 (Moody’s).
The transaction has been the first transaction involving both construction and operation of an asset to benefit from the PBCE mechanism. The novelty and complexity of this debt structure required us to remain flexible and adaptive when considering how technical risk would respond to multiple Senior Debt risk mitigation and management mechanisms.
Our TDD services contributed to a successful and timely Financial Close and provided the necessary comfort to the Lenders throughout the construction works. We will continue to provide TDD services for the maintenance monitoring of the Project.