Linklaters advises on £1.28bn M25-motorway public bond and European Investment Bank refinancing

Connect Plus (M25) Ltd, the company tasked with managing London’s 440km-long M25 motorway, one of the busiest motorways in Europe, has refinanced its existing commercial bank debt, with Linklaters acting for the Secured Creditors.

The complex refinancing successfully enabled the Company to prepay all of its commercial debt and break its interest rate swaps in place since 2009 by way of an issuance of circa £893m public bonds listed on the London Stock Exchange and rated A+ by S&P. The transaction involved a conservative refinancing structure with strong cover ratios, and a fully amortising senior debt repayment profile. The A+ long-term rating is indicative of the project's demonstrated operational stability.

Each of Barclays Bank PLC, HSBC Bank plc and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc acted as Bond Lead Managers on the refinancing.

The transaction sees the European Investment Bank continuing in its role as Secured Creditor and Lloyds Bank plc continuing to act as the account bank, security trustee and agent.

The Sponsors to the Company are Balfour Beatty, Dalmore Capital, Equitix and Egis Projects SA.

The Linklaters team was led by partners Stuart Rowson and Reza Taylor, with assistance from managing associate Subir Rajadhyaksha and associate Olga Friedmann.

Linklaters also advised the Senior Creditors on the original 2009 commercial bank debt financing of the M25 road-widening project.