Ageas helps fund €300m French prisons PPP

The insurance company is providing a 30-year, fixed rate tranche as part of a €100m loan put together by Natixis for a French prisons PPP. The deal is the first from a €2bn debt partnership between the French bank and Ageas, signed last October.

The partnership between Belgian insurance company Ageas and French bank Natixis has yielded its first deal – a €100 million loan to help fund three French prisons.

Natixis acted as mandated lead arranger, hedging bank, agent, and account bank on a €300 million public-private partnership (PPP) to build three prisons in Valence, Riom and Lutterbach with a combined capacity for 1,742 inmates. The project sponsor is a consortium of fund managers Barclays Infrastructure Funds and FIDEPP together with French developer Spie Batignolles and prisons expert GEPSA, a GDF Suez subsidiary.

Natixis is providing a €100 million loan, which includes a 30-year fixed rate tranche provided by Ageas subsidiary AG Insurance. In a statement, Natixis explained that AG Insurance’s participation in the deal – “a major first in the French PPP market” – “is managed through a securitisation vehicle”. Natixis is acting as deposit holder, account bank, and “servicer” of the securitisation vehicle, which is managed by French securitisation specialist EuroTitrisation.

The French bank did not, however, say how much money AG Insurance is providing nor shed further light on the loan structure employed. Natixis could not be reached for comment in time for publication. In addition to Natixis and AG Insurance, Societe Generale, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation are providing debt for the prisons PPP.

Last October, Ageas and Natixis signed an agreement to help the Belgian insurer build an infrastructure debt portfolio.

Under the agreement, Ageas will invest up to €2 billion over the next two to three years in infrastructure loans originated by Natixis. The loans will have to conform to pre-agreed criteria between the two parties and Natixis will retain a percentage of each facility, the bank had previously explained.