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July 1, 2010updated 12 Apr 2017 4:22pm

Politics playing havoc with projects

International legal practice Norton Rose has been involved in various rail finance projects globally, including advising Porterbrook in respect of passenger rolling stock for UK operator Southern Railways, valued at more than £800m.

By Claire Hack

Rail finance legal experts Norton Rose told to ‘put down their pens’ in run-up to general election.

 

International legal practice Norton Rose has been involved in various rail finance projects globally, including advising Porterbrook in respect of passenger rolling stock for UK operator Southern Railways, valued at more than £800m.

The company also has a team specifically dedicated to advising on rail finance and rolling stock supply, consisting of numerous key staff in offices in around the world.

Gordon Hall, a banking partner in the London office, said: “In the UK, existing rolling stock is pretty well fully used.

“There is a fairly sophisticated way of moving rolling stock around the country between franchises to make sure it is used most efficiently.”

And, although he and partner Tom Johnson have observed a “continuing strong rosco presence” in the UK, both said other financiers were looking to enter the market.

Johnson said: “It is fair to say that over the last couple of years, more and more financiers have started to become interested in rolling stock, I think because they regard it as a relatively stable sector compared to others.”

The recent UK election, Hall added, has also had an impact as companies “stalled” on going ahead with transactions in the run up to the May ballot.

He said: “We were basically asked to put our pens down in the six weeks before the election. There were several transactions which did not proceed.”

The impact of the emergency budget on 22 June, not known at time of writing, will also be of significance, Johnson said, as it sets out exactly how much the Department for Transport’s funding will suffer.

He said: “The question is whether the Budget is going to say anything meaningful about rail, or whether it will be deferred until later.”

 

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