Lovells gets into PFI fast lane

Lovell White Durrant has landed another bumper deal in connection with a Private Finance Initiative to build a £290 million motorway between the M1 and A1 in Yorkshire.

The City firm is advising lenders to a consortium of Trafalgar House and BICC, contracted to build the motorway by the Government's Highways Agency.

Lovells acted for venture capitalists 3i, merchant bank Morgan Grenfell, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

PFI was introduced by the Government three years ago to draw private capital into publically funded projects.

Gavin McQuater, head of project finance at the firm said: “PFI work has become a very important part of our business. We are working on about 18 PFI projects. They are often complex deals but because the area is a new one, there are opportunities for innovation and developing new standards and practices.”

At £290 million, the Yorkshire motorway deal is one of the largest of its kind. Lovells had to ensure the structure of the agreement was beneficial to the lending institutions and looked at the entire economics of the deal.

The Lovells team comprised John Penson, Catherine Allinson, Philip Robb, Mike Matheou and Rona Westgate.

McQuater added: “We have been involved in two of the largest PFI projects – the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and now the M1-A1 tie-up.

“We are working for authorities, bidders and lenders on projects across a range of sectors such as healthcare, information technology, light rails, prisons and water.”