Mersey Gateway unique financing deal scoops two top European infrastructure awards
The deal to finance the £1.86bn Mersey Gateway Project that saw Halton Borough Council appoint the Merseylink consortium as the project company has picked up two prestigious international awards.
The deal has been named as Europe’s Infrastructure Deal of the Year at the Project Finance International Awards and IJ Global’s European Road Deal of the Year 2014.
An innovative combination of combined commercial and bank finance, the deal devised by the Council along with advisors, KPMG and DLA Piper, was an accumulation of more than two decades’ hard work and dedication from the ambitious local authority to make the vital new crossing a reality.
From the beginning, keeping the project affordable was the project mantra, and the deal – which saw the council appoint the Merseylink consortium to design, build, finance and operate the project – delivered impressive savings of £250 million under the budget set by Government in 2011.
The budget savings were partly delivered by the flexible approach that Halton Borough Council took to procurement, which allowed the private sector – in the shape of the Merseylink consortium to deliver design and build innovations that delivered enhanced value for money.
The Mersey Gateway was the first project to utilise the IUK Guarantees programme on the bond element financing, encouraging new investors into the market.
Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council said; “These awards are fantastic recognition for everybody who has been a part of the project over the years. As one of the smaller local authorities in the UK, our successful journey to make the new crossing a reality, bringing benefits right across Halton and the North West is remarkable and we could not have done it without support from our advisors KPMG and DLA Piper.”
Richard Threlfall, UK Head, Infrastructure, Building and Construction at KPMG said, “These awards are thoroughly deserved for Halton and the Mersey Gateway team. Halton achieved a superb result by properly defining what they wanted from the outset and then targeting the best price possible for its delivery. The Mersey Gateway is an important project not only for Halton but also for the whole region.”
Liam Cowell, Partner at DLA Piper said, “This is an iconic project which will boost the local road network and improve the accessibility for local people, the business community in the region and beyond. DLA Piper is honoured to have supported Halton Borough Council and the Mersey Gateway Crossing Board from the early planning stages, through a complex procurement process and reaching a successful financial close in Spring 2014. We are in no doubt that this project will be recognised within the Project Finance industry as a benchmark and one of the most innovative projects of recent years.”
The project collected IJ Global’s European Road Deal on Thursday 19th February at the National History Museum, London adding to the European Infrastructure Deal of the Year award received from Project Finance International earlier in the month at The Hilton Hotel in London.