John Laing increases equity stake in Denver commuter rail project
John Laing Group plc ("John Laing" or the “Group"), the responsible investor and active manager of infrastructure projects internationally, today announces that it has committed to invest an additional US$14 million (approximately £10 million) to increase its shareholding in the Denver Eagle P3 project in Denver, Colorado (“Denver Eagle” or the “Project”) from 45% to 50%.
John Laing’s investment in Denver Eagle in 2010 marked its entry into the US P3 market and was the country’s first public-private partnership transit project. The availability-based public-private partnership between the Regional Transportation District (“RTD”) and Denver Transit Partners was designed to provide safe, affordable and reliable transport options for the 3 million people living in Denver’s growing metropolitan area. The Project has helped to expand transit across the region with the addition of three new commuter rail lines.
Since investing in Denver Eagle, John Laing has played an active role in the delivery of the Project through construction and entirely into operations in 2019, holding key positions within the project company and at board level, including as Chief Executive Officer. The Project’s Last Final Completion Certificate was awarded in November 2020, formally concluding the construction phase. The Group has worked closely with its partners throughout each phase of the Project and most recently led and secured a refinancing at the end of last year, resulting in improved cash yields and a gain share with RTD.
Since commencing operations, the Project has maintained a strong operational track record with each commuter line averaging 95% or above reliability and a combined ridership of over 33 million. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Denver Eagle has continued to perform well and has held the highest level of commuter rail ridership retention in the United States throughout the pandemic.
The Project has improved connectivity across the city, providing much needed links to the Denver International Airport and the Union Station, with reduced travel times for local, business and tourist commuters. The Project has positively impacted economic growth in the region; during the construction phase alone, it is estimated that the Project benefited approximately US$2 billion to the local economy, and to date has made over US$31 million in contributions to a local small business enterprise community project.
The asset benefits from an availability-based revenue model with a 34-year concession and its central location in the metropolitan area. This additional investment enables John Laing to increase its stake in an existing asset with considerable opportunities for further value creation and growth, working in conjunction with global partners, while building further track record. It is also an example of how John Laing is able to enhance its portfolio, increase control and improve cost efficiency through additional stake acquisitions.
Anthony Phillips, Co-Head of PPP and Greenfield Projects of John Laing, said:
“Denver Eagle has shown its resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with its strong operational performance and high ridership rates. This highly attractive asset has proven to be a piece of critical infrastructure for the local communities of Denver. We welcome this opportunity to increase our stake in an asset in which we see continued potential value and significant growth opportunities.”
About Denver Eagle
The Project consists of the design, build, finance, operations and maintenance of three commuter rail lines including approximately 40 miles of commuter rail transit lines, rolling stock, a commuter rail maintenance facility, and systems and track improvements to Denver Union Station. The commuter rail lines provide routes between key centres within the city, including Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport. The Project was delivered by the Denver Transit Partners consortium, constituting Alternate Concepts, Inc (ACI), Ames, Aberdeen Assets, Balfour Beatty, Fluor, Hyundai-Rotem and John Laing.
About John Laing
John Laing is a leading international investor across a range of infrastructure sectors. We seek to deliver attractive and sustainable returns over the medium-term. We are a responsible investor, committed to delivering critical and enduring infrastructure which responds to public needs and improves the lives of the communities we serve.
John Laing has operations in seven countries around the world, and invests in the UK & Europe, North America, Latin America and Australia. We invest in greenfield projects and in businesses which develop and own infrastructure assets. We have invested in over 150 projects and businesses to date, across a range of sectors, including transport, social infrastructure, energy transition, accommodation and digital infrastructure.