South African firms set to profit from PPP boom

South Africa’s leading firms are well positioned to cash in on an expected increase in project work in the country, following the commercial completion of a $3.3bn (£1.77bn) Gautrain rapid rail link public-private partnership (PPP).

Webber Wentzel Bowens advised the Bombela consortium, which includes construction companies Bombardier and Bouygues Travaux Publics, as preferred bidder on the Gautrain project, the world’s second-largest rail PPP project.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer worked with South African firm Bowman Gilfillan to advise the Standard Bank of South Africa and Rand Merchant Bank as co-arrangers of the commercial debt-funding package.

Freshfields partner Bobby Stewart said South Africa has so far failed to mature as a PPP market, but that it is now showing signs of further development.

“Given the amount of enthusiasm, it has been a fairly disappointing deal flow over the past six or seven years,” Stewart said. “There are signs, however, that it is picking up.”