EMEA: Lenders emerge for French events centre PPP

10 September 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Eiffage Concessions has selected two banks to finance its recently awarded Reims Events Centre PPP, financial close of which is due in weeks, it is understood.

The two lenders, Deutsche Pfandbriefbank (PBB) and La Banque Postale, are expected to each provide half of a circa EUR 66m long term debt package.

The two banks are increasingly supporting French PPPs, having been involved in a number of social, transport and broadband projects this year. La Banque Postale is one of the lenders of the Haute Garonne Broadband PPP and the Herault Broadband PPP, whilst PBB has supported several aquatic centre PPPs.

Financial close of the Reims project is targeted to take place at the beginning of October, following a final green light to the project by the local Reims Council on 24 September. Both commercial and financial close should take place on the same day around a week after the municipality’s formal approval, it is understood.

The local authority has also committed to provide a public subsidy of around EUR 9m.

In June, the city of Reims awarded the contract to an Eiffage Concessions-led consortium also comprising Eiffage Construction and local operator GL Events.

Architects Wilmotte et Associés and Thienot Ballan Zulaica will carry out the design work for the project.

Sponsors’ advisers include Currie & Brown (technical), H3P (financial) and Gide (legal).   

The project was tendered as a Délégation de Service Public (DSP) contract, a type of PPP scheme, lasting 25 years. The sponsor will receive an average yearly availability fee of EUR 5.8m during the operational phase.

Construction is expected to complete by October 2019 (conference centre), February 2021 (exhibition centre), and October 2021 (events centre).

The new venue will have a capacity of 9,000 people – or a total of 5,500 seats – hosting major city events and sport competitions, including matches of the local basketball team.

A series of social infrastructure PPPs and DSPs are currently being procured in France, the latest being an exhibition centre to be built in Marseille under a DBFM scheme. This project, which is worth more than EUR 100m, is understood to have also attracted France’s main developers, with EOIs submitted last week.

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