Natixis IM International Private Debt has taken part in a direct lending transaction to help complete the building of Barcelona’s newest metro line. When completed, Line 9 will be the longest fully-automated metro line in Europe, with 52 stations.

Natixis IM International Private Debt has granted a portion of the €720m loan to refinance the project section 4 of Line 9. The loan has an 18-year maturity and will finance Linia Nou Tram Quatre as it completes the construction and maintenance of 13 stations on the new line.

Celine Tercier, Head of Infrastructure Finance at Natixis IM Private Debt, said Natixis had taken a lead in structuring the deal.

Tercier said: “We participated in the negotiation of the term sheets and in the third-party advisers due diligence to the lenders. The legal documentation of the deal evolved with our input. In addition, we helped get all this done in time for the transaction to complete by the end of the year, which was a key stipulation of the sponsor.”

The European Investment Bank was involved in the transaction for the fourth section of the line after having previously provided substantial support to the construction of Line 9, which it classifies as a “green project”.

“Financing which provides green mobility is exactly the kind of deal we are looking for and is squarely in line with our overall strategy and with our GreenFin label,” said Tercier. “Line 9 is an essential asset in that it combines an efficient transport solution with low climate change impact. Those kind of deals are game changers.”

GreenFin1 was created by the French Ministry for Ecological Transition, and provides a guarantee to investors that the financial products bearing the label genuinely contribute to ecological and energy transition.

The growth of mass transportation means that fewer and fewer people need to buy and use private cars. With more than 10m trips a year on Line 9 already being taken, even before the line is fully operational, the line has removed between 6,000 and 8,000 private cars trips in Barcelona every working day.

The loan has strong features for Natixis IM Private Debt due to the absence of traffic risk and construction risk. The majority of the construction phase is already complete.

“We were particularly comfortable with this deal because we could see the track record of the operator given that the line opened in 2014,” said Tercier. “We can see that the asset is always open to passengers, and operates efficiently and to high standards.”

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