A consortium led by global infrastructure major Besix with Plenary, a leading independent long-term investor, developer, and manager of public infrastructure, as its partner, has announced the successful financial close of the Zayed City Schools PPP.
This UAE’s first public-private partnership in the field of school infrastructure, Zayed City Schools PPP is a pioneering project paving the way for private sector participation in the development of the country’s social infrastructure.
The project was awarded to the consortium by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).
It covers a greenfield plot for each of the three new schools across Zayed City, a 4,900-hectare construction project being built 7 km inland from Abu Dhabi Island, between Mohamed Bin Zayed City and the Abu Dhabi International Airport.
As per the deal, the consortium will be responsible for the financing, design, procurement, construction, commissioning and operations and maintenance of the three school campuses for a 20-year period. The construction on site will begin later this year and is set for completion in August 2024, Besix said.
The school buildings will be designed and built with high sustainability objectives, complying with the Estidama Pearl 2. These will be low-energy buildings with a focus on usage and consumptions efficiency, and the partners will give priority to the use of locally produced building materials, it stated.
The institution, located in Zayed City, Abu Dhabi, will have a total capacity of 5,360 students when it opens for the academic year in September 2024.
Pathfinding PPP Project
Besix Middle East General Manager Peter Lembrechts said: “We are extremely proud to partner with the Abu Dhabi Government to develop and implement this pathfinder PPP project. We are providing campuses with specialist expertise to support the project from start to finish, in terms of financing, engineering, construction, and long-term maintenance.”
“In Plenary Group we have found a world-class partner to develop and deliver this project. We look forward to the next steps and would like to thank ADIO and ADEK, as well as the leading international financial institutions and advisors that are supporting us, for their confidence and commitment to ensure the success of the project,” he added.
Plenary Group Chief Investment Officer Paul Crowe said: “This is an important milestone in the exciting growth phase of the Plenary business, and we are pleased to be collaborating with Besix – who we have previously partnered with in Australia – ADIO and ADEK to deliver this fantastic project.”
“The strength of our PPP project development experience in Asia Pacific and North America has presented opportunities for us to export our skillset to other regions adopting a private partnership model. We commend the Abu Dhabi Government on its impressive programme of infrastructure development and investment and its acknowledgment that private sector capital can support its ambitions to deliver infrastructure vital for social and economic growth,” Crowe added.
The debt provider group comprises financial institutions HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo and The Norinchukin Bank. They provide senior debt financing with a long-term maturity.