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25 Feb 2016

Stephenson Harwood, Bond Dickinson and CMS advise on first of its kind £200 million-plus rail finance deal

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Stephenson Harwood LLP, Bond Dickinson and CMS advised on the £200 million-plus financing of a replacement suburban train fleet for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). The innovative structure involved new rolling stock lessor, Rock Rail, with investment by SL Capital and Aviva Investors – the deal was the first of its kind in UK rail finance.

This strategically significant investment will see passengers on GTR's Great Northern’s suburban routes enjoy a modern, high-quality environment, with a more frequent service.  GTR were advised by Bond Dickinson.

Rock Rail is a new company formed by Rock Infrastructure Limited, focussing on strategically important rail assets within the United Kingdom.  Stephenson Harwood has been advising Rock Rail and SL Capital for some time on the development of the financing proposition.

Aviva Investors turned to long-standing advisors, CMS, in relation to the funding provided to Rock Rail.

Graeme McLellan, head of rail at Stephenson Harwood, said:
“This was a particularly interesting transaction, involving an innovative finance model which was the first of its kind. We were pleased to advise Rock on their first investment, and look forward to continuing to advise them as their business develops.”

Mark Swindell, founding partner of Rock, said:
“For the past two years we have been developing a new approach to funding rolling stock in the UK which offers financial institutions the opportunity to invest directly in core rail assets on a basis that generates better value for the tax payer and passenger alike.

We are delighted to be working with our partners SL Capital and Aviva Investors, together with GTR and Siemens, on our first investment and now look forward to delivering these trains to this key part of London’s rail network.”

The Stephenson Harwood team was led by head of rail Graeme McLellan, who was assisted by senior associate Mette Rolle, associate Peter Field and trainee Katy Barradell-Smith.

The CMS team was led by Andrew Ivison, Bill Carr and Jonathan Dames and included Katie Duffield, Matt Stephens, Tom Bishai, Natasha Heald, Simon Johnston and Stephanie Flynn advised the senior finance parties, Aviva Investors and Deutsche Bank Luxembourg.

The Bond Dickinson team was led by David Rewcastle, who leads the firm's Transport and Infrastructure team, and included Will Bonas, David Millard and Joe Causer.

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