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Freehills across Cross City Tunnel

Freehills across Cross City Tunnel

ABN AMRO/Leighton Construction consortium, represented by Freehills, has completed its purchase of the Cross City Tunnel Motorway in Sydney. The tunnel was originally constructed by a Bilfinger…

ABN AMRO/Leighton Construction consortium, represented by Freehills, has completed its purchase of the Cross City Tunnel Motorway in Sydney.

The tunnel was originally constructed by a Bilfinger Berger Consortium and commenced operation in August 2005 under a 30 year concession granted by the NSW Roads and Transit Authority. The concession holding consortium was placed in receivership in December 2006 due primarily to far lower patronage than expected. In June 2007 the ABN AMRO/Leighton consortium was named by the receiver and manager as preferred purchaser of the tunnel following a competitive tender process. The consortium subsequently was approved by the NSW Roads and Transit Authority as the concessionaire.

The financing and equity package for the consortium’s purchase is highly structured, innovative and complicated. The financing, utilising, amongst other things, credit wrapped debt products, utilised many innovative features. The credit wrapping of the debt products was provided by Financial Security Assurance Inc. The deal was complicated by the innovative financing structure, dovetailing a complicated existing equity holding structure with a new equity structure and the fact that the previous concession holder of the motorway was in receivership.

Freehills partner Brendan Quinn acted for the Consortium in respect of the financing package.

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