Sunday, February 8, 2009

Four banks run rule over £147m Carlisle Northern Development Route

Four banks have flagged their interest in funding the long delayed ВЈ147m Carlisle Northern Development Route (CNDR), raising hopes that the PFI contract could reach financial close by the end of March. However Cumbria County Council warned this week it could take longer.

The scheme, which was awarded to preferred bidder Connect CNDR (Balfour Beatty) in December 2007, ground to a halt after the consortium’s funder Dexia Bank fell victim of the credit crunch in October last year.

Since then Balfour Beatty has been struggling to find other funders to provide the private finance for the scheme.

This week the council confirmed that four banks have sent letters of support for the scheme and are now carrying out their due diligence.


Four banks run rule over £147m Carlisle Northern Development Route


Diane Wood, the council’s corporate resources director said: “Assuming the project remains affordable to the council and the Department for Transport/Treasury, it should be possible to secure final approvals to enable the contract to be signed sometime in March 2009.”

However she warned: “This continues to be a challenging timescale and remains subject to confirmation from the banks. There is also the risk that detailed contract issues may be reopened, which could easily extend the timetable.”

Preparatory works have already started on the scheme which will allow construction work on the scheme to start immediately after financial close.

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