ONMARCH 16 AFITF President Gérard Longuet signed the French transport infrastructure funding agency’s first payment, a sum of €30·1m forming the third tranche of support from the French government for the 44·5 km new line between Perpignan and Figueres in Spain.

Public bodies at European and national level are providing a total of €540m in support to TP Ferro, which holds a 50-year concession to build and operate the line. TP Ferro shareholders Eiffage and ACS are each providing €50m from their own resources.

On February 10 Banesto, BBVA, Caja Madrid, ING and Royal Bank of Scotland had signed an agreement to lend €532m to TP Ferro, including €410m to meet construction costs in the form of syndicated senior debt with a 35-year term. Of the remainder, €62m will finance a further tranche of public support, €25m represents a VAT credit and €35m is contingent debt.

Eiffage reports that test bores are currently being dug for the 8·2 km base tunnel under the Pyrenees, where tunnelling proper is due to begin this summer.

  • Scott Wilson Business Consultancy has signed an agreement to provide monitoring and certification services for the five lending banks over the next four years. This will include monitoring the contractor’s programme, certifying draw-downs from the loan and taking part in final compliance reviews.