Legal advisor to the lenders

The project is financed 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 the fund management company DIF, and this in relation to the tender procedure launched by the l’Opérateur de Transport de Wallonie (formerly, the Société Régionale Wallonne du Transport) regarding the tramway PPP project in Liège. The delivery of the project is currently expected in the second half of 2022.

Our team was involved in the documentation phase and negotiation with selected lenders and in relation to the drafting and negotiation of the financing term sheets, the intercreditor arrangements and finance documentation. Furthermore, we advised in relation to the due diligence on the DBFM contract and the contracts with the main subcontractors.

PPP market in Belgium

The project is 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 contribute to the successful closing 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 and 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.

The Loyens & Loeff team was led by Koen Panis, Partner Banking & Finance and Valentijn De Boe, Counsel Public Law, in collaboration with Marc Vermylen, Sarah Libregts, Zita Leijnse, Camilia Lika and Felix Feyt.

Other law firms involved in the financing of the Tram de Liège project were DLA Piper (counsel to the consortium) and Clifford & Chance (counsel to EIB).