John Laing acquired a 30% stake in the Ruta del Cacao road project in Colombia for approximately £62 million in 2019. The acquisition marked the Group’s entry into Colombia, an OECD member state with a strong and stable PPP framework and a good pipeline of PPP projects focused on transport, a core area of John Laing expertise. Teaming up with existing partner Ferrovial, the acquisition of a stake in the project was an opportunity to de-risk our entry into a highly attractive market.

The project is being delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and is part of the Colombian government’s $15 billion Fourth Generation (‘4G’) road building programme aimed at integrating and upgrading the country’s road network and creating better connectivity. Colombia has some of the poorest roads in the world, exacerbated by challenging terrain. Upgrading the national road network is a key priority in order to reduce transportation costs, improve economic competitiveness, better connect the interior and industrial centres to the coast and major ports, and improve road safety.

Travelling through difficult terrain, the Ruta del Cacao project is at the heart of the development of North-Eastern Colombia, and involves remodelling and improving part of the existing roadway as well as designing and building a new road between Bucaramanga and Barrancabermeja. The project is expected to boost employment and stimulate economic development by improving connectivity with Eastern Colombia, providing an important connection between the cities of Bucaramanga, Barrancabermeja and Yondo in the Santander Department of North-Eastern Colombia. It consists of a 29 year design, build, finance, operation and maintenance contract for new roads, tunnels, viaducts, bridges and toll stations as well as upgrades to existing road segments.

Construction began in 2016, is now well advanced with some of the most complex challenges of the build now completed and on track to complete during 2022.

The video below provides further information on the Ruta del Cacao and John Laing’s approach to responsible investing.

For further detail on Ruta del Cacao, please click here.