By Gordon Platt
When Abu Dhabi needed a financial adviser for its latest seawater desalination and power project, Mirfa IWPP, it selected HSBC on their longstanding relationship and the bank’s reputation, without opening the contract to competitive bidding. HSBC remains active in major projects worldwide, when other banks are pulling back.
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy has led the legal adviser league tables for project finance globally for a decade. The firm specializes in PPP projects and has expertise in Islamic finance and multisource financing. It advised on the Barzan gas project in Qatar, and on the Tours-Bordeaux high-speed rail link in France.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Japanese banks are making a major move into project finance globally. MUFG was the biggest arranger of project finance deals in North America in 2011 and in the first half of 2012, leading projects such as California’s 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight solar project.
Australia’s Macquarie is a big sponsor of infrastructure projects worldwide. It is a sponsor of the $2.1 billion Midtown Tunnel concession in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, and is part of the partnership building the New Royal Adelaide Hospital in South Australia.
Asian Development Bank
The ADB recently announced an $800 million program to help build hundreds of miles of roads in rural India to connect 4,200 villages with main highways. It is also supporting solar and hydroelectric projects to help meet growing energy needs in emerging markets.
M&A DEAL OF THE YEAR:
Acquisition of Edinburgh airport by Global Infrastructure Partners
BAA, owner of London’s Heathrow and Stansted airports, sold Edinburgh airport, Scotland’s busiest, to US buyout firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in April for $1.3 billion. GIP, founded by Credit Suisse and General Electric, outbid other investors in an auction ordered by antitrust regulators. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial was mandated lead arranger for $617 million term loan facilities. BNP Paribas, Citi and Ernst & Young advised BAA.
BOND DEAL OF THE YEAR:
$4 billion, 10-year sukuk by General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Arabia
HSBC structured the GACA’s $4 billion, 10-year Islamic bond, the largest ever sukuk by a Saudi issuer, and the first to be guaranteed by the government. It carries a profit rate of 2.5%. It received a zero risk rating by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, which means it can be used in repurchase transactions.
PPP DEAL OF THE YEAR:
New Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia
Lloyds Bank structured Australia’s largest hospital financing. The $1.85 billion, 800-bed, New Royal Adelaide Hospital, the largest infrastructure project ever in the state of South Australia, has a 35-year concession. InfraRed Capital Partners, Leighton Infrastructure Investments, John Laing Investment and Macquarie Capital were equity investors.
INFRASTRUCTURE DEAL OF THE YEAR:
Tours-Bordeaux high-speedrail link, France
The $10 billion high-speed rail link between Tours and Bordeaux is one of the largest PPP projects ever. A 50-year concession contract was signed in June 2011 between a consortium led by French construction group Vinci, and railway infrastructure manager Réseau Ferré de France.
MOST INNOVATIVE STRATEGY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT (REGION OR COUNTRY):
Brazilian Airport Privatization and Infrastructure Concessions
Brazil raised $14 billion, which was far more than anticipated, in its privatization in February of three major airports. The government is requiring the winning bidders to upgrade the facilities in time for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. It sold majority stakes in PPPs with Infraero, Brazil’s state-owned airport operator. Brazil’s development bank, BNDES, will provide loans for up to 80% of the capital costs.