Madrid, 14 December 2009.- NTE Mobility Partners LLC, which is majority-owned by Cintra, has issued bonds amounting to 400 million dollars (close to 270 million euro) as part of the funding for the North Tarrant Express Managed Lanes project. The contract consists of the construction, maintenance and operation of 21.4 kilometres of the North Tarrant Express toll road in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It will require a total investment of 2 billion dollars (1.36 billion euro).
The tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds (PAB) were placed in the United States municipal bond market. The issue, which offers an average yield of 6.98%, is a milestone in that it is the first use of PABs by a private road concession. Two separate bonds were issued: 59.8 million dollars paying a 7.5% coupon and maturing on 31 December 2031, and 340.2 million dollars paying a 6.875% coupon and maturing on 31 December 2039. The issue was met with a very good reception in the market, where it was oversubscribed 2.4 times. It was underwritten by a syndicate of banks headed by JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch.
Cintra CEO Enrique Diaz-Rato says this step is one of several achievements leaders in the United States. "Completion of this portion of the financing is a success for a number of reasons. It is the first time that Private Activity Bonds have been used for a private roadway concession in the United States, and it is the first bond issue for an explicit-toll concession since the global financial challenges began. It is also the first time in the United States that a US pension fund has come on board as a direct equity shareholder of a road concession", added Díaz-Rato.
The NTE consortium is headed by Cintra (which owns 56.7%), with Meridiam (33.3%) and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System (10%).
A pioneering project
The North Tarrant Express project is a first in toll road management, and it is also Cintra's first managed lanes project. The consortium will upgrade and maintain the existing lanes on the road, which will not be tolled. It will also build new tolled lanes to provide additional capacity and customer choice. Tolling will be free-flow and totally electronic, providing for more fluid traffic conditions and allowing a larger volume of vehicles to use the road.
Tolls will be set dynamically in accordance with Texas and regional transportation policy on the basis of demand in order to provide drivers with a safe and reliable level of service. Cintra also leads another Texas consortium with partners Meridiam and Dallas Police and Fire Pension System which was provisionally awarded the IH-635 Managed Lanes project, or LBJ Express, in February 2009. The consortium is now working to close financing for the project, which is expected to represent a total investment of 2.7 billion dollars. Additionally in the United States, Cintra leads consortiums managing the Chicago Skyway, Indiana Toll Road and SH130 in Texas.
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