Financing deal agreed for Road 6 northern section

Road 6

Shapir and Noy begin work in November on the section between Ein Tut and Somekh interchanges.

Two years after winning a tender for the northern extension of Road 6, Shapir Civil and Marine Engineering Ltd. yesterday announced that it had closed a financing deal in which it would hold 80% of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for constructing the project. The remaining 20% will be divided between Noy Infrastructure and Energy Investment Fund and Leumi Partners Ltd., the investment banking arm of Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI), in equal shares. The organizer of the financial consortium and the leading bank in it is Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI).

The tender for extending Road 6 to the north was a build, operate, transfer (BOT) tender, in which a franchise holder receives a stipulated period from the government to plan, financing, construct, and operate a public facility. It is considered the largest BOT tender published by the Accountant General department in recent years. Shapir won the tender in July 2013 for financing, construction and paving, and operation and maintenance of the two northern sections of Road 6 - a total of 21 kilometers from the Ein Tut interchange to the Somekh interchange.

The short-term financing, amounting to NIS 1.3 billion, which was designed to finance the cost of constructing the project, will be divided into two parts. The first part consists of a NIS 555 million construction grant loan in foreign currency (half in dollars and half in euros), to be repaid on dates corresponding to the dates listed for obtaining the state grant. 40% of the state grant will be paid to the franchise holding company jointly owned by three concerns after the first section of the extension is completed and opened for traffic, and the remaining 60% will be paid after construction of both sections is completed. The rest of the short-term financing, which will be taken as a shekel loan, will be paid up to a maximum of 11 years. Shapir also announced a NIS 1.68 billion long-term line of credit in the form of an index-linked loan to be repaid quarterly over 27 years.

Shapir, Noy, and Leumi Partners have also closed a NIS 210 million mezzanine financing deal. The NIS 210 million equity of the company building the project will be provided by the shareholders as an owners' loan to the franchise holder, and the ratio of equity plus interim financing during the construction period shall maintain a ratio of 80:20 between equity plus interim financing and the senior debt.

For the short-term financing, the spreads to be paid to the partners vary from 1.9% to 2.3%. The annual interest on the interim financing will be 6-13% and index-linked, and the interest spreads on the long-term financing will be 2.5-2.9%, index linked, in comparison with state bonds, and according to the rating to be determined for the project.

34-year franchise

As part of closing the financing deal, the franchise holder contracted a construction agreement with the construction contractor, a partnership of Shapir with Italian infrastructure company Pizzarotti. The date for beginning work on the project has been set at November 25, 2015, and the SPV's franchise will continue for 34 years until September 2049.

Shapir won the tender for building the road extension after overcoming a joint group of Shikun & Binui Holdings Ltd. (TASE: SKBN) and Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL) subsidiary Danya Cebus Ltd. (TASE: DNYA). Adding Leumi Partners and the Noy fund became possible at a relatively advanced stage, because the two companies were not included in the group that won the tender, and the state delayed approval of their ownership of shares in the company.

Shapir held its Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) IPO in late 2014. The company, controlled by the Shapira family, currently has a NIS 2.44 billion market cap. The Noy fund is led by chairman Pinchas (Pini) Cohen and managing partners Ran Shelach and Gil-Ad Boshwitz. Leumi Partners is managed by CEO Yaron Bloch.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 13, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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