Shikun & Binui Ltd., a global construction and infrastructure company headquartered in Israel, today announced that it has raised funds for the planning, construction and maintenance of a toll express lane that it plans to build in the metropolitan area of Houston, Texas for $1 billion. This is Shikun & Binui Group's first infrastructure project in the United States.
The partners of the project's concessionaire, known as the Blueridge Transportation Group, include Shikun & Binui (21.62%), as well as an international infrastructure contractor and other financial investors. In addition, 50% of the project's building contractor will be held by SBI, Shikun & Binui's international construction arm, with the remaining 50% held by an international infrastructure company.
This project is a further step in line with Shikun & Binui's strategy to invest in international projects, and it is expected to increase the Company's work backlog.
The concessionaire has committed to build, finance, maintain and operate the portion of the road defined in the contract (primarily the express lane) for 52 years (including the construction period, which is expected to last three years). In return, the Concessionaire will be given the right to collect tolls from users of the Express Lane.
The financial closing for most of the project and the initial drawing of funds is expected take place during the next several weeks, conditional upon the fulfillment of a number of customary terms set out in the financing agreements. These include the receipt of the final approval of the project's bond offerings from the Texas legislature.
In addition, at the time of the signing of the project's financing agreements, the partners in the concessionaire will be required to post security bonds as a guarantee for their commitments, including each partner's proportional share of the project's shareholders' equity.
This project adds to Shikun & Binui Group's roster of mega-infrastructure projects, which already includes a BOT concession project in Colombia to build a toll road around the city of Bogota for $550 million and operate it for 25 years. Financial closing has not yet been achieved for this project.
Commenting on the news, Mr. Moshe Lahmani, Chairman of Shikun & Binui, said, "The completion of this project's financial closing is another key step in our 'go international' strategy, whose goal is to diversify and expand the geographic scope of our operations, and enter the American market. The US is a sophisticated, competitive market, and the choice of Shikun & Binui confirms the excellence of our capabilities and the high level of professional and know-how that we bring to complex infrastructure projects. We intend to further deepen our activities throughout the Americas in general, including the US, Colombia and other Latin American countries."
Mr. Yaron Karisi, Shikun & Binui's CEO, added, "We are proud that the Shikun & Binui Group, which has been building large infrastructure projects throughout the world for decades, has now been chosen to carry out its first high-profile project in the US. While this is an important new project for our Concessions Division, it also benefits SBI, our International Construction arm, which will contribute to the building of the project, thereby bringing it into the US and boosting its backlog by $400 million."
Mr. Ami Landau, CEO of Shikun & Binui Concessions, added, "Shikun & Binui Concessions is going from strength to strength, building on the many years of know-how accumulated over time, across many fields, through our activities in numerous markets. All our previous projects have helped pave the path towards future success, enhancing our ability to continue expanding our scope in the infrastructure market year after year. The success of our fundraising efforts for this project is a clear expression of the confidence that the financial markets and our partners have in our executional capabilities."