The project underwent a major restructuring due to several unforeseen challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains and imposed safety measures, while the Ukraine war impacted resource availability and costs. Rising construction material prices strained the budget, necessitating cost adjustments and alternative sourcing. Additionally, the 2022 floods in Liège disrupted local operations, requiring emergency responses and schedule adjustments.  

Lenders legal advisor to the European Investment Bank and the Commercial Lenders

The project is refinanced by a lending consortium consisting of the European Investment Bank and 5 commercial lenders, including Belfius Bank, Natixis, AG Insurance, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) and Talanx.

Loyens & Loeff acted as lenders’ legal advisor to the consortium Tram’Ardent, composed of Colas, the rail system manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and DIF Capital. Loyens & Loeff also acted as counsel to the European Investment Bank with regard to the restructuring. The delivery of the project is currently expected in the first half of 2025.

Our team was involved in the restructuring negotiations between the consortium and the financial institutions and drafting of the amended finance documentation. Furthermore, we advised in relation to the restructuring due diligence on the DBFM contract and the subcontracts with the main subcontractors.

PPP market in Belgium

The project was one of the first PPP projects to close in the Belgian market after ESA neutrality issues had led to a decrease in PPP activity in Belgium. The fact that Loyens & Loeff could again contribute to the successful restructuring of this project makes us particularly proud. We also take pride in the fact that the project will help solving one of the mobility problems in Liège and its surroundings by setting up a public transport network that will transport up to 4,000 passengers per hour and per direction in a modern and sustainable way.