Freshfields, Norton Rose, Lovells finalise Tube PPP

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Lovells and Norton Rose have finally completed most of the London Underground public-private partnership (PPP) work on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines' infrastructure. It is one of the most high-profile and complex PPPs to date and the largest to complete in 2002.

Lovells acted for the Tube Lines consortium, consisting of Amey, Jarvis and UIC (an arm of Bechtel Enterprises), on its acquisition of InfraCo JNP from London Underground, which was advised by Freshfields. Norton Rose advised the 29 lending banks, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Ambac on the financing of the project.

Tube Lines now holds a 30-year service contract from London Underground to provide maintenance and upgrade services for the infrastructure of the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

Freshfields took part in a beauty parade for the work in May 1998, winning the contract to advise on both this deal and the Metronet deal, which involves work on the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines, and which and is due to complete in April this year. Corporate finance partner Richard Philips and project finance partner Jeffrey Rubinoff are leading the Freshfields team.

Lovells won the contract from Tube Lines following a pitch in 2000. “It helped that we had a longstanding relationship with Bechtel, which was a key player,” said Lovells project finance partner Mike Matheou, who led the team. Tube Lines' successful bid for the work meant Lovells won out over Allen & Overy, Ashurst Morris Crisp, Linklaters and Slaughter and May, all of which advised unsuccessful consortia.

Norton Rose, advising on the financing, was pre-appointed by the sponsors before the arranging banks were brought in. “We tend to be regarded as one of the two preferred choices on such deals. All the banks in the syndicate we've acted for previously,” said Jeffery Barratt, Norton Rose global head of banking and one of the partners leading the deal. The Norton Rose team was led by Barratt and Tom Day (finance), David Crane and Alan Crookes (projects) and Peter Hall (construction).

Denton Wilde Sapte also got a piece of the action, advising the mezzanine finance provider CIT Group Structured Finance (UK) on £135m of subordinated debt. It is the first time that Dentons has advised CIT, although the firm has acted on the other side on a previous deal. The Dentons team was led by banking and finance partner David Nanson.