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Deals of the Year 2018: AIB, EIB and ISIF support economically significant expansion by Port of Cork Company    
The winning 'Deal of the Year' in the 'Loans & Financing - Public Sector ' category is the €78 million financing package to support expansion by the Port of Cork Company. A commercial semi-state entity that owns and runs the Port of Cork, POCC plays an important strategic role in the development of the Cork region and the wider economy. Directly and indirectly it supports over 170,000 jobs.

Since 2015, AIB Corporate Banking, in its role as senior lender and global agent, has worked with POCC and a wider lending group that includes joint senior lender EIB and junior lender ISIF to devise an innovative financing structure to facilitate the development of a container terminal at Ringaskiddy and to expand the capacity of the port. This highly complex transaction has involved coordination of more than 10 counterparties across lending, legal and technical disciplines.

From a lending perspective the key considerations were finding the optimum mix of senior and mezzanine bank finance and equity, managing the high level of commercial and technical due diligence required and facilitating the oversight and support from key stakeholders that include the Department of Transport, the European Investment Bank and the Irish Strategic Investment Fund.
AIB said that, with its proven trading resilience and robust cashflows with which to service debt obligations, POCC represented an excellent opportunity for it to support a key commercial semi-State in its development. AIB contributed €30 million to the total €78 million financing package, which closed in December.

Conor Morgan, Head of Transport & Logistics at AIB Corporate Banking, said: 'We were delighted to deliver this financing for the Port of Cork to support its strategic development at Ringaskiddy. Following a funding process of over two years, a complex and innovative transaction structure was put in place involving senior debt from AIB and EIB and junior debt from ISIF. As a key infrastructure deal supporting the growth of the Irish economy, the project brings major strategic value to the city of Cork and the Munster region.'

Elaine Hanly, partner at William Fry, which acted for EIB in the transaction, said: 'The Ringaskiddy Port redevelopment by the Port of Cork is a Strategic Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) project which recognises the Cork Port as a key national and regional container terminal gateway with significant growth potential. The project will provide replacement facilities for City quays traffic, facilitate the Tivoli regeneration and Cork Docklands development and enable the port to handle larger feeder vessels. This is a significant project for both POCC and Cork and the funding by the European Investment Bank is a significant commitment to the future of the Irish maritime sector.'

Legal advisors to the deal were: Philip Lee for POCC, McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors for AIB Corporate Banking, William Fry for EIB and Arthur Cox for ISIF. EY was financial advisor to POCC.

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