Financial close and start of construction expected within weeks --
Toronto, Ontario – January 31, 2006: Aecon Group Inc. (TSX: ARE) today announced that the Quito Airport concession, in which Aecon holds a 45.5% economic interest, is in full effect and the airport is now being run to the financial benefit of the concessionaire.
Final documents were signed yesterday indicating that the City and the concessionaire, with approval of the project lenders, have now signed-off on the contractual conditions precedent to the concession taking effect. The most important impact of achieving effective date is that the airport, which Aecon and its partners have been operating on behalf of the City for over three years, is now being operated to the financial benefit of the concessionaire.
Reaching effective date is an important step toward achieving financial close of the project which will occur when all of the conditions to drawdown of the project loans have been met and the lenders have disbursed the first tranche of the senior loan funding for construction of the new airport. A formal request to begin the draw down process is expected from the concessionaire next month, with financial close (i.e. receipt of the funds) expected later this quarter.
Aecon has a 45.5% economic interest in the airport concession through its stake in Corporacion Quiport S.A. (Quiport), which holds concession rights for the airport. The grantor of the concession on behalf of the City of Quito is Corporacion Aeropuerto y Zona Franca del Distrito Metropolitano de Quito (CORPAQ).
Aecon's partners in Quiport are: Andrade Gutierrez Concessoes of Brazil; Airport Development Corporation of Toronto; and HAS Development Corporation of Houston, Texas, affiliated with the Houston Airport System. The project's senior lenders are: US-based Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank of the USA, the Inter American Development Bank and Export Development Canada (EDC).
"Reaching Effective date is an important milestone for the project," said John M. Beck, Chairman and CEO, Aecon Group Inc. "The profits generated by the airport will form a key component of the financing for the new airport, and I'm pleased to have the generation of these funds underway."
In 2002, Quiport was awarded a concession by the City of Quito, Ecuador to design, build, finance and operate a new airport to replace the existing smaller airport currently serving the city. In August 2005, project financing documents were signed among Aecon, its concession partners and the project lenders.
Total cost of the project including construction of the new airport is US$587 million, which will be provided through sponsor equity contributions from Aecon and its partners, debt raised from the project lenders and by cash generated from the existing Quito airport between now and the end of the construction period.
Aecon Group Inc. is Canada's largest publicly traded construction and infrastructure development company. Aecon and its subsidiaries provide services to private and public sector clients throughout Canada and internationally.