Assured wraps schools PFI bonds

Monoline insurer Assured Guaranty (Europe) has taken up a position guaranteeing £88m of index-linked bonds and a £70m European Investment Bank loan for an existing schools PFI deal.

The firm has guaranteed principal and interest payments that are payable by Transform Schools (North Lanarkshire) Funding under the North Lanarkshire Schools PFI Project, which originally reached financial close in June 2005.

Assured has replaced the prior guarantor, Syncora Guarantee, on the deal that has seen the construction of 24 schools.

The concession, which runs until 2037, is operated and maintained by Engie, with Balfour Beatty having completed construction on all the schools in 2008. Equitix and Innisfree are the sponsors.

“We expect debtholders to benefit from an upgrade of the transaction from its current BBB underlying rating to an Assured Guaranty (Europe) enhanced rating of AA,” said managing director Dominic Nathan.