16 Mar 2010

More accolades for Victoria's Desalination Plant PPP project

Melbourne, 16 March 2010: Around the world, Victoria's Desalination Plant PPP project continues to be recognised as a leading example of public and private sector collaboration in infrastructure projects – reflecting a long-term and ongoing team effort by Clayton Utz.

With a number of awards already to its credit, the project has now been named Global Deal of the Year 2009 and PPP Deal of the Year 2009 at the Infrastructure Journal's Annual Awards held in London on 11 March, and received the Financial Excellence award at Infrastructure Partnerships Australia's National Infrastructure Awards night in Sydney, also on 11 March.

This follows earlier awards for the deal including PPP Deal of the Year at the 2009 Project Finance International (PFI) awards held on 20 January in London, Asian-Counsel's 2009 Deal of the Year and Project Finance Magazine's Deal of the Year 2009.

A Clayton Utz team led by partners Dan Fitts, Marcus Davenport and Simon Irvine (Banking & Financial Services), Naomi Kelly (Construction & Major Projects) and Brendan Groves (Corporate / Equity Capital Markets) advised the winning project bidder the AquaSure consortium – comprising Suez Environnement, Degremont, Thiess and Macquarie Capital Group – throughout the bidding process for the project, providing strategic and commercial advice on both the bidding documentation and financing arrangements.

Clayton Utz Banking & Financial Services partner Dan Fitts said: "Our team worked hard to ensure that financial close was achieved quickly despite the challenging financial environment. It is great to see that teamwork has been recognised all over the world."

Commenting on the decision to award the desalination plant project Global Deal of the Year 2009, Infrastructure Journal's editor Angus Leslie Melville said: "Victorian Desal was a stand-out for our sector. The judges were impressed by the obstacles it had to overcome and the speed with which it was then brought to financial close."

The AquaSure consortium will finance, design, construct, operate and maintain the multibillion dollar desalination plant via a Public Private Partnership with the Victorian Government, including an 84-kilometre transfer pipeline to connect to Melbourne’s existing network and undertaking various related renewable energy projects in order to fully offset the electricity used by the project. The project is the largest PPP being undertaken globally since the global financial crisis began.

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