John Laing, the international infrastructure investor and asset manager, announces today that the State Government of Victoria and the East West Connect consortium has successfully achieved financial close on the East West Link Stage 1 project in Melbourne, Australia.

The East West Connect consortium includes John Laing and QIC as investors in the Project, alongside Lend Lease, Acciona and Bouygues and Capella Capital as financial adviser.

East West Link Stage 1 involves the design, construction, finance and operation of a new freeway-standard road link, including twin 4.4km three-lane tunnels, connecting Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway with the CityLink motorway. The project is a 30 year concession, involving a construction period of approximately five years and 25 years of operations, and will be one of the largest public private partnership (PPP) projects in Australia’s history.

The project investment will be provided by the East West Connect consortium members, with John Laing as the equal largest shareholder. This is a further example of John Laing’s ongoing commitment in the Australian market.

The design and construction will be undertaken by a joint venture comprising Lend Lease, Bouygues and Acciona, with Lend Lease Services as the long term operator of the project. Construction is expected to be completed by 2019.

Justin Bailey, Head of John Laing Asia Pacific, said: “We are delighted to have secured the contract on this vital transport link within the heart of Melbourne, which will ease congestion and improve road safety. This is the latest in a number of major projects that we have invested in within the Asia Pacific region and I am pleased to see our presence further develop in what is a strong sector for our business, globally”.

Dr Denis Napthine, Premier of the State Government of Victoria, said: “Across the nation people are sick to death of congestion, they are tired of the gridlock, and they expect their governments to do something about it. That’s why I was pleased to sign the contract that will deliver a much needed, congestion busting infrastructure project.”