Bergen, 16 March 2022
Sotra Link AS – comprising Macquarie Capital (70%), South Korean civil engineering company SK ecoplant (20%), and Italian industrial group Webuild (10%) - today announced financial close on the €2.0 billion (19.8 billion NOK) Sotra Connection PPP Project. It is the largest road infrastructure contract in Norwegian history to date1., and one of the largest contracts awarded in Europe in 20211.
Sotra Link was selected as the preferred bidder for the project by the Norwegian Public Roads Authority (NPRA) last year and will operate and maintain the link for 25 years after it opens to traffic in 2027. The design and construction of the project will be executed by the Spanish group FCC Construcción (35%), Webuild (35%), and SK ecoplant (30%) – and will be operated by Hungary’s Intertoll via their Norwegian subsidiary Intertoll Norge AS.
The public-private-partnership (PPP) contract to finance, design, build and operate a 9.4km four-lane road link in Norway’s Vestland county, aims to improve travel between Bergen and Øygarden municipality. The construction includes a 4.6km road in twin-tube tunnels and a four-lane bridge of about 900 meters. The new road system will have dedicated infrastructure for public transport, as well as pedestrian and bicycle paths. Three smaller bridges are also included in the project. It is the largest and most complex of the Norwegian Government’s planned road PPPs for its 2018-2029 National Transport Plan2.
Ingrid Dahl Hovland, Director General of the NPRA, said “It was a great pleasure to sign and reaching financial close of the contract for The Sotra Connection today. Both contract value, contract form and complexity are exceptional. We are now looking forward to the construction work starting in full scale next year.”
Christopher M. Bjerke, Chief Executive Officer at Sotra Link AS, said “Thanks to an exceptionally good collaboration with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, we have covered and resolved many of the classic challenges, even before signing the final contract, that emerge in large construction projects. It has also been very inspiring to work closely with so many talented people in the Sotra Link consortium. Going forward, we will perform detailed engineering and I look forward to the start of construction in the first quarter of 2023.”
Mark Bradshaw, Global Head of Infrastructure & Energy Capital at Macquarie Capital, said “We are incredibly proud to be part of Sotra Link, and to support the development and delivery of such a significant infrastructure project in Norway as lead sponsor and equity investor. We understand that the communities of the Vestland county have been waiting a long time for this vital road link, and with today’s financial close, we celebrate the next important milestone of this exciting project.”
Kyung-il Park, Chief Executive Officer at SK ecoplant, said “It is great pleasure and honour for us to join the landmark infrastructure project in Norway as an equity investor and main contractor with our investment and technical expertise and capability. Reaching financial close today, we are about to take our several years’ journey to construct an infrastructure of high municipal interest and we will make the utmost effort to deliver the project on schedule and with best quality to the community.”
Since founded in 1977, SK ecoplant has acquired world-class competitiveness in civil engineering as well as the construction of commercial buildings, residential complexes, oil refineries, gas processing plants, petrochemical plants, power plants, and advanced IT infrastructure. SK ecoplant today expands the existing construction business to include the environmental and energy solutions to our business portfolio. SK ecoplant is applying the extensive technical expertise and proven construction project track record amassed at sites around the world to build major expressways and arterial roads in the nationwide transportation grid. The competencies and experiences that SK ecoplant has gained from these EPC projects have enabled to expand the involvement in public private partnership (PPP) development projects and SK ecoplant is now growing as PPP project developer in the global market. Projects of note in this regard include the Eurasia Tunnel and the Canakkale Bridge in Turkey and the Silvertown Tunnel in the UK.
Webuild, the new Group founded in 2020 by Salini Impregilo, is a major global player in the construction of large complex infrastructures for sustainable mobility, clean hydro energy, clean water, green buildings, supporting clients in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs. The Group is the result of 115 years of applied engineering experience in 50 countries on five continents, with 70,000 direct and indirect employees representing over 100 nationalities. Having been acknowledged for five years by Engineering News - Record (ENR) as the world's top company for the implementation of infrastructure in the water sector (dams, hydraulic and wastewater projects, drinking water and desalination plants), since 2018, it has been included in the top ten within the environment sector and is also a leader in the sustainable mobility sector (in particular with regard to undergrounds and railways, as well as roads and bridges). A signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, the Group's expertise lies in projects such as the Milan M4, Grand Paris Express, Copenhagen Cityringen, Sydney Metro Northwest in Australia, Red Line North Underground in Doha, Line 3 Metro in Riyadh; high-speed railway lines in Italy; the new Genoa Bridge in Italy and the new Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach, California; the expansion of the Panama Canal; the Snowy 2. 0 hydroelectric plant in Australia; the Rogun Dam in Tajikistan; the Anacostia River Tunnel and the Northeast Boundary Tunnel in Washington, D.C.; the Al Bayt Stadium, which shall host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. At the end of June 2021, it had a total order backlog amounting to €43.3 billion, with 92% of the construction backlog relating to projects linked to the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Webuild, under the management and coordination of Salini Costruttori S.p.A., is based in Italy and listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (Italian Stock Exchange: WBD; Reuters: WBD.MI; Bloomberg: WBD:IM).