Eversheds guides Carlisle PFI project to financial close

Eversheds has advised its long-standing client Balfour Beatty on the £176m Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR) PFI project.

Rebecca Carter

Rebecca Carter

The deal has reached financial close after months of financial and environmental challenges.

The project company Connect CNDR has signed a 30-year contract with Cumbria County Council to design and construct five miles of road connecting to the M6 around Carlisle and to manage and operate around 93 miles of roads throughout the county.

Lead projects partner Rebecca Carter, who was assisted by banking partner Geraint Thomas, said that this was a “typical credit crunch deal”.

“There was a long gestation,” she said. “From a settled position with Dexia providing the financing, the bank then pulled out and we had to bring in new lenders at a crucial point in the deal.”

Barclays, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and National Australia Bank picked up the financing on an arrangement resembling a club deal. The banks were advised by projects partner Gordon Prestige at Tods Murray.

The deal faced other setbacks including flooding, meaning that it had to be redesigned, and archaeological finds that to delays in the project progress.

Cumbria County Council was advised by a team led by projects partner Kate Orviss at Pinsent Masons.