This accolade recognises the successful implementation of Russia's first urban toll road, the Western High Speed Diameter (WHSD). VTB Capital is a co-investor (sponsor), lender and financial adviser to the construction project.
Since 2002, Euromoney’s Project Finance magazine has recognised the world's best infrastructure projects on an annual basis. The magazine assesses the projects on the level of innovation, scale, risk mitigation, and profitability. The judges, consisting of experts from the infrastructure sector and Project Finance reporters, were impressed by the WHSD project’s financial structure, scale and construction complexity, and named it the best in Europe in the Transport category.
In January 2013, VTB Capital’s work on the WHSD was recognised by World Finance magazine as the Best Project Sponsor in Europe and Best Debt Funder in Europe. The WHSD was also named the Best Urban Development Project in Europe at the World Finance awards. In December 2012, the project also received the Thomson Reuters PFI award for Road Deal of the Year in Europe.
Oleg Pankratov, Head of Infrastructure Capital & Project Finance at VTB Capital, and Chairman of the Board of Northern Capital Gateway consortium, noted: 'The WHSD project plays a fundamental role in road infrastructure development in Russia and such authoritative international awards confirm its innovative structure and scale. I am confident that the successful experience of the WHSD project will allow VTB Capital to further develop the infrastructure business at the highest level, not only in Russia but internationally'.
The WHSD is the world's largest public-private partnership (PPP) toll road project. The highway stretches for 46 km and consists of three sections connecting St. Petersburg’s northern, central and southern areas. It will reduce traffic congestion on urban highways and roads by redirecting traffic to the federal highways, as well as improving connections with the downtown area and Pulkovo airport. VTB Group is a majority shareholder of the LLC Northern Capital Highway.
On 9 August, 2011, it was named the preferred bidder in the tender for the right to build the central part and further operation of the WHSD. On December 20, 2012 a signing ceremony was held in Moscow to mark the financial closing of the WHSD project. According to the loan agreement that was signed on June 22, 2012 in St. Petersburg, investments in the project will amount to RUB 206 billion (about USD6.4 billion), including more than RUB 120 billion between 2012-2015 financed under the Public Private Partnership Agreement (PPPA).