Stibbe has advised the lenders providing finance to BAAK Blankenburg-Verbinding B.V., a consortium consisting of Ballast Nedam, DEME and Macquarie Capital, on reaching financial close in the A24 Blankenburg connection project. The Blankenburg connection is a key infrastructure project in the Netherlands, improving the roads and accessibility around the Port of Rotterdam and the wider Rotterdam region.
This milestone secures financing for the project, which consists of the design and construction of the A24 Blankenburg connection, including an agreement for management and maintenance for a period of 20 years once the Blankenburg connection is available. The contract with Rijkswaterstaat was signed in December 2017. The project has a total nominal value of EUR 1 billion, making it one of the largest DBFM/PPP projects put out to tender in the Netherlands in recent years.
Stibbe has advised the lenders on all the financing aspects of the transaction. The group of lenders includes KBC, Korea Development Bank, Belfius, KfW, BNG and SMBC as well as institutional investors Natixis, MEAG and Samsung Life Insurance. The total senior funding requirement for the project amounts to EUR 900 million. The European Investment Bank provided 50 per cent of the term loan, which is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).
On 17 September 2018, Minister van Nieuwenhuizen (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) gave the official go-ahead for the construction of the Blankenburg connection, which will connect the A20 and the A15 motorways. The project includes the construction of a tunnel under the Scheur (near the Nieuwe-Waterweg), a land tunnel, two busy junctions (from the A24 to the A20 and the A15) and the widening of the A20 between the A24 and the Kethelplein.