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Lenders agree £200m loans package for Port of Dover's Western Docks expansion

By Chris Price

The expansion of a port is a step closer after a consortium of British and European lenders agreed a £200 million package of loans.

The investors – including Allianz, RBS, Lloyds Bank and the European Investment Bank – have backed the redevelopment of Dover’s Western Docks.

The scheme will add cargo facilities and allow the port to create a ferry terminal in the Eastern Docks, as well as transforming the town’s waterfront with a new marina pier, shops, bars and cafes.

Artist's impression of the Dover Western Docks Revival. Image courtesy of the Port of Dover

Allianz Global Investors will give the scheme a £55 million cash injection through a private placement bond, a private issue of securities in the port to the financial services giant.

RBS and Lloyds Bank will each provide £35 million through a revolving credit facility, whereby the port can access as much or as little of the cash as it needs throughout the year in return for a commitment fee.

Meanwhile the European Investment Bank has confirmed a £75 million loan to the project.

It follows the agreement of a £90 million loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland in June last year.

“The financial support supplied by blue chip lenders underlines the critical role Dover fulfils for UK and European economies, businesses and consumers..." - Tim Waggott, Port of Dover

Chief executive Tim Waggott said: “The financial support supplied by blue chip lenders underlines the critical role Dover fulfils for UK and European economies, businesses and consumers.

“A prominent role which will remain into the future post Brexit.”

The port handles about 17% of all UK trade in goods, worth about £119 billion annually.

Allianz Global Investors portfolio manager Adrian Jones said: “The Port of Dover is a unique asset. Given its history and proximity to continental Europe, it is of vital importance to UK trade.

“The port has assembled a cost-effective funding solution that matches the most cost-effective debt product – short-term commercial bank debt, medium term European Investment Bank debt and long-term private placement bonds – thus ensuring it can keep the cost of funding the project as low as possible for its customers.”

The Dover Western Docks

Jonathan Taylor, a vice president of the European Investment Bank, said its loan was an “exciting new investment” for a “once in a generation project”.

Guillaume Fleuti, head of infrastructure for Lloyds Bank, said the expansion of the port is “the next evolution in the history of Dover”.

RBS acted as financial advisor to the Port of Dover as well as lender.

Bruce Riley, managing director of its structured finance team, said: “The diversity, tenor and flexibility of the overall funding package achieved reflect the strength of the Port of Dover’s business and its enduring importance to the UK economy.”

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