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Merseylink announced as preferred bidder for Mersey Gateway project

Halton Borough Council, the procuring authority for the Mersey Gateway Bridge PPP Project, announced Merseylink as preferred bidder on the project on 20 June 2013. The Merseylink consortium’s equity partners are Macquarie Capital Group Limited, Bilfinger Project Investments Europe Limited, and FCC Construcción. The construction joint venture, made up of Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited, Samsung C&T Corporation and FCC Construcción S.A. Sanef S.A., will deliver and operate the tolling solution for the consortium.

Its members have delivered many high profile projects around the world in recent years, including the Golden Ears Bridge in Vancouver, the Crossrail Project in London, the Vidin-Calafat Bridge in Bulgaria, the Incheon Bridge in Korea and the M50 widening in Dublin.

Savings of tens of millions of pounds to the projected public sector contribution were announced at the press conference following the announcement. Financial close will take place before the end of 2013 following final negotiations.

The Mersey Gateway Bridge PPP Project is a major scheme to build a new six lane free-flow toll bridge over the Mersey between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes. It is the largest local authority infrastructure project that is currently in procurement and was identified as one of the UK government’s Top 40 priority projects in the National Infrastructure Plan.

Rock has worked with Halton Borough Council as its experienced development partner for the project. Mark Swindell, in his role as the project’s Commercial Director, and Matthew Allen, as leader of the commercial team, have provided leadership in the legal, commercial and financial aspects of the project. This has involved:

• negotiating the funding terms for the project with central government;

• developing the Project’s innovative procurement strategy to deliver the best value for money DBFO for the new crossing and a commercial partner for Halton Borough Council that is incentivised to optimise toll revenues from the open road tolling system;

• playing a leading role in discussions with central government regarding the use by the project of the UK Guarantees Scheme to enhance deliverability and the adoption of PF2 principles; and

• working with Halton Borough Council, the Department for Transport and HM Treasury to develop the bespoke governance arrangements for the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board, the arms-length subsidiary of Halton Borough Council that will manage the project as the Council’s agent over its lifetime. Celia Carlisle has led Rock’s involvement in this area.

David Parr, CEO of Halton Borough Council, comments:

“Rock have been instrumental in helping Halton bring the Mersey Gateway to market. Mark, Matthew and Celia have worked with our experienced group of advisers to ensure the project is both attractive to the market place, achieves the very best value for money and will achieve our project deliverables.
Mersey Gateway is a complex and ground-breaking infrastructure project and Rock have been both innovative and effective in addressing a number of challenging areas, ensuring the project remains on time and on budget.”