|Signing Date||May 31st, 2016|
|Total Project Cost||$105M|
|ICF Debt Pool Exposure||EUR 16.5M|
Transambiental S.A.S is the holder of one of three concessions for the operation of the Transcaribe Mass Transport Integrated Bus System (SITM) in Cartagena, Colombia, and whose purpose is the financing, acquisition, operation, and maintenance of up to 212 SITM vehicles. Transambiental was constituted with the sole purpose of participating in this project and whose main shareholders are Ashmore Colombia Infrastructure Fund, Si-03 S.A. (a subsidiary of Grupo Si and the operator of the concession), and LinkColombia Investments S.A.S.
For the project, IFC will provided a peso linked A Loan of COP 48M (USD 18.6M) and mobilized Parallel/B-Loans of COP 97M (USD 37.5M) which included ICF Debt Pool’s exposure of EUR 16.5M.
The majority of the proceeds from the loan will be used to purchase the 89 pre-trunk and 123 feeder buses needed to operate the concession, in addition to funding a “FUDO” account for the purpose of gradually scrapping old buses in tandem with the phased rollout of the new system.
Strong Project Rationale: Cartagena is a growing city with a dysfunctional transit system. Buses are currently run by many small private operators which are uncoordinated, inefficient and with equipment that is obsolete, polluting, and in some cases unsafe. There is also a surplus of vehicles on the road for the city’s requirements which increases congestion. Transcaribe, the municipality owned system coordinator, is implementing a plan to bring order to the chaos and improve service. SITM is a critical part of this plan.
Financial Resilience: The project is expected to be a stable cash flow generator based on progressive but small increases in fares, stable operating costs and stable volume.
Strong Concession Contract: The Concession is underpinned by a Concession Contract which grants the Borrower the right to operate 212 buses on prescribed routes for up to 19.5 years, the right to use the public infrastructure, defines an adjustment mechanism for fares and regulates service quality. The Concession also provides lenders with step-in rights, and allows for the reversion of all assets to the government upon contract expiry.
Progressive Implementation: The system will be built up over a 3 year period and based on actual passenger numbers. While the system was conservatively sized to serve about 450,000 daily users, the implementation will progressively assess whether the actual number of passengers meets this target and adjust accordingly.
The project is expected to have the following developmental impact: 1) Reduce the number of buses (from 1585 to 658) in Cartagena through the use of newer vehicles and increased route efficiencies; significantly lowering carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. 2) New transit system will be considerably safer. 3) Better transit system will formalize the industry and the professionals within it. 4) Training for bus drivers and management. 5) The project will introduce new technology and management methods and thus provide some degree of know-how transfer.
The project required long-term financing which has been difficult to come by in Colombia from local banks.