PPP D4 reached Financial close

The Ministry of Transport, together with the concessionaire of the project, which is backed by VINCI Concessions and Meridiam, has reached the financial closure for financing the completion of the D4 motorway between Příbram and Písek. This ended the preparatory phase before the actual start of construction work on 32 kilometers of the new motorway and the renewal of the existing 16 km of adjacent four-lane sections.

In accordance with the submitted bid containing fixed interest margins and construction work prices and the development of market interbank rates in the period since the submission of bids, the availability payment was set at CZK 17.8 billion in net present value, which is significantly less than the limit amount of 23 .7 billion crowns, which the Ministry of Transport set as a threshold before submitting bids for the advantage of financing the completion of the D4 through the PPP model. The financing institutions of the Concessionaire became, on the basis of financial closure: ČSOB, MEAG, DZ Bank, Nord LB, Siemens, KfW, IPEX, SMBC, Société Générale and Unicredit.

"This is a price that is fixed for the entire duration of the project, but it cannot be considered definitive. As in the case of mortgages, the contract provides for the possibility of refinancing in the event of a favorable development of interest rates. The standard is usually refinancing after the completion of the construction phase, when project risks will decrease significantly, thanks to which significant savings can be achieved" says Minister of Transport Karel Havlíček.

The concession agreement with the representatives of VINCI Concessions and Meridiam was signed by the Minister of Transport Karel Havlíček on 15 February 2021. "However, the condition for the full effectiveness of the agreement was the achievement of financial conclusion, which took place today," adds Havlíček. From the financial closure, the concessionaire begins to run a period of 44 months (i.e. 3 years and 8 months), within which he must build and put the motorway into operation. The contractual date of commissioning is thus December 2024.

This will be followed by a phase of operation and maintenance of the motorway by the concessionaire lasting 292 months (ie 24 years and 4 months), during which the state will "repay" it in the form of payment for availability. It is bound to comply with the agreed quality criteria and accessibility of individual sections of the motorway. In connection with the financial closure, the concessionaire overtakes the responsibility for the entire scope of work, including the necessary changes to the permits issued and the provision of archaeological surveys, which precedes the construction of the motorway.

Since March, preparatory work has been underway on the route of the future motorway, mainly related to the removal of non-forest greenery. The contract now requires the Ministry of Transport to hand over all building permits and the necessary land to the concessionaire through the Directorate of Roads and Motorways according to the set schedule. On the other hand, the concessionaire will be responsible for handing over the construction site to DIVia stavební s.r.o, which is the EPC contractor and a 100% subsidiary of Eurovia CS.

"The achieved financial closure means that the project is definitely entering into force in full. Our goal is to build and operate an innovative and sustainable highway. The new D4 motorway will guarantee motorists a high level of safety and comfort on the road and will improve traffic conditions and traffic flow, thus reducing the risk of traffic congestion and environmental pollution" said Christian Biegert, VINCI Concessions and Meridiam representative for the Czech Republic. "Now, after the financial closure, the project can start, we expect the first construction work in the second half of May" added Mr. Biegert.

Together with the construction of the new 32 kilometers of motorway, the concessionaire will operate and maintain in perfect condition another 16 kilometers of the D4 motorway and the I/20 road, which will renew and equip, among other things, motorway technology and safety bays before putting new sections into operation. The state will start paying for the highway only after its completion, and after 25 years of operation will take it over in a condition that we can mark as new. Unlike the traditional model of public procurement, the state does not buy only construction, but a complete service in the form of construction, operation and maintenance.

On the part of the Czech Republic, not only the Ministry of Transport but also the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure in the area of ​​financing and the Directorate of Roads and Motorways in the area of ​​land acquisition and permitting processes participated in the successful preparation of the project.

Comprehensive advice to the Czech Republic was provided by an international team composed of representatives of the lawyers from White & Case. Česká spořitelna, a.s. act as a financial advisor and Obermeyer Helika a.s. and SIEBERT + TALAŠ, spol. s r.o. as a technical advisor.