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Liefkenshoek: Innovation lives!

19 November 2008

With bank confidence in Libor/Euribor rates at an all time low, lenders on the Eu841 million ($1.07 billion) Liefkenshoek rail tunnel PPP in Belgium have structured a first into the financial engineering – the state-owned rail infrastructure procuring agency Infrabel is taking on market disruption risk (funding cost risk) during the four year construction period thus guaranteeing liquidity for the deal.

Arguably, some of the problems with Libor rates are of banks own making – according to some sources the data being provided by lenders for calculating rates does not in all cases reflect the true cost of funds to lenders. But irrespective of where the fault lies, market disruption clauses are a growing problem in the project market. With Infrabel shouldering the risk, lenders and sponsors on the Liefkenshoek deal have lending rate certainty for four years and no prospect of pricing renegotiation during construction or worse, the...

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