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21 March 20193 minute read

DLA Piper advises on consecutive key infrastructure PPP transactions in Wallonia

Only a few weeks after successfully assisting the TramArdent Consortium in the Liège tram PPP, which was the first ever large PPP to reach financial close in the Walloon region (Belgium), DLA Piper has now assisted the LuWa Consortium in successfully closing the Walloon highways lighting PPP “Plan Lumières 4.0”. Our involvement in both landmark transactions confirms DLA Piper's market leading practice in Belgian infrastructure projects.

Plan Lumières 4.0

The “Plan Lumiere 4.0” is an availability-based PPP project involving the modernization and maintenance of the Walloon motorways and main roads lighting, tendered by the SOFICO. DLA Piper advised the LuWa Consortium (consisting of DIF Infrastructure V as financial sponsor, and Citelum, CFE and EDF Luminus as industrial sponsors) from the start of the selection until successful Financial Close of the project.

The 20 years design, modernization, financing, management and maintenance contract includes the gradual commissioning of the new lighting starting in the second half of 2019 and the renewal of network infrastructure using LED lighting, i.e. around 100,000 lighting points with dimming capability over the first four years, with a total duration of 20 years. This will be Europe's first smart and connected motorway. The lights will cover a network of 2,700 km of motorways and national roads, and will be monitored remotely. The modernization program will reduce the energy consumption of the network by 76%, equivalent to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 166,000 tons over 20 years as well reduce the light pollution generated by the network.

Total debt funding for the project amounts to €230 million secured from BBVA, Belfius, BNP Paribas, KBC, SMBC and Société Générale.

Tram de Liège

The Tram de Liège PPP is an availability-based PPP project of the Walloon transport agency OTW, for the design, construction, financing and maintenance of a tram line in the city of Liège. DLA Piper has assisted the winning consortium consisting of DIF Infrastructure V as financial sponsor, and the French civil construction group Colas and the Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF as industrial sponsors, from the selection phase until successful Financial Close of the project.

The project includes circa 12 km of rail track, 21 stations, 20 trams, a maintenance depot, 2 park-and-ride facilities and improvements to the surrounding urban area.

Total funding for the project amounts to €429 million, including long-term debt secured from the European Investment Bank (EIB), Belfius, BBVA, Natixis, AG Insurance and Talanx. The EIB will fund half of the term loan, totaling €193 million, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).