NTE Mobility Partners, a Cintra-led consortium, successfully closed the financing for its US$2.05 billion North Tarrant Express (NTE) project on December 17, 2009.
The 52-year concession is to build, finance and operate a 21.4 kilometre stretch of tolled highway, alongside existing untolled general purpose lanes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.
The financing package features US$400 million of Private Activity Bonds (PABs), underwritten by JP Morgan and Bank of America, US$650 million in 40-year TIFIA credits and US$573 million in government funding from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). This is the second project to involve PAB financing, the other being Transurban’s Capital Beltway deal, on which Operis also provided full model auditing and a tax and accounting review.
The sponsor, a consortium of Cintra (56.7%), Meridiam (33.3%), and the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System (10%), is expected to contribute up to US$427 million in equity. The deal is the first in the US to include a US pension fund as a direct investor in an P3 infrastructure project.
The equity contribution will fund periodically over the 5½-year construction phase. The construction contractor is Ferrovial-Agroman, a sister-company of Cintra) and Webber Contractors (a subsidiary of Ferrovial-Agroman).
Operis provided the financial model auditing services at several stages of the transaction, for the consortium and the lenders.