The bank led a consortium that included three additional entities that will provide NIS 3.5 billion to finance the project; the project includes the expansion of the red line and the construction of the green line of the light rail in Jerusalem.
Shafir Engineering and Kaf, the Spanish railway and systems manufacturer, completed last Thursday (5/11/2020) the financial closure of the JNET project, a franchise project (PPP) under which the existing red line will be expanded and the green line of the light rail network in Jerusalem will be established. The financing of the project is led by Bank Hapoalim with the participation of the International Bank, Altshuler-Shaham and Migdal Insurance Company. The scope of the project is estimated to cost about NIS 5.1 billion.
The franchisee in the project is a partnership of the Shafir Group and the Spanish Kaf Group, each of which owns 50 percent of the franchisee, the construction contractor and the operations and maintenance contractor. The franchise includes 15 years of operation with an option to extend the period by an additional 10 years as well as 25 years of maintenance. This is the first time that a network of light rail lines will be operated in Israel.
The tender for the project to expand the red line and build the green line of the light rail in Jerusalem was published by the Accountant General in the Ministry of Finance as a BOT tender for the planning, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the light rail system in Jerusalem. As part of the project, the existing red line will be extended to the Neve Ya’akov neighborhood in the north of the city, and to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the south.
The line extensions are a total length of about 8 km and an addition of 13 stations. In addition, the second line, the Green Line, will be built, which is about 22 km long and includes 37 stations. The line will connect the Hebrew University campus on Mount Scopus in the north of the city with the Hebrew University campus in Givat Ram and will end in the southern neighborhood of Gilo; The line will also include an extension to Givat Shaul and the Malcha neighborhood.
The project includes the supply of 114 URBOS 100 tram trains and ancillary systems for managing and controlling the production of Kaf and upgrading the 46 old tram trains. In addition, two new large maintenance centers (depot) will be established and the maintenance center on French Hill will be expanded.
This is the third and central phase in the system of transportation solutions provided by the state to Jerusalem, which includes the construction of Road 16, which will be the new entrance to the capital; Completion of the new and electric line of the Israel Railways and now the construction of the new line of the light rail into a network of light rail that will make over 500,000 journeys a day and will contribute significantly to the strengthening and development of the city.
Deputy CEO of Bank Hapoalim and Commander of the Business Division, Tzachi Cohen, said that “investment in infrastructure has been proven to be of paramount importance in encouraging growth in the economy and this importance is also rising at this time both in the short term and in the long term. As a bank that funded the existing red line we see great importance in continuing to fund the second phase of the light rail project in the capital. The bank’s strategy is to continue to lead the field of infrastructure financing. “
Bank Hapoalim led the deal, Lior Menzer, director of project and infrastructure financing, and Neta Saada, head of the deal team.
The Shafir-Kaf joint venture stated that “The completion of the financial closure in a challenging period and at the present time is an expression of trust and proof of the partnership’s strength and strength – the largest transportation project in Israel. The project that outlines transportation development in Jerusalem is significant for both Shafir and Kaf “Shafir, a long-standing Israeli company in the field, with proven experience in national projects and the Spanish company Kaf with extensive experience in international projects in the field of light rail and their production, is a natural connection that will significantly contribute to the project’s success and joint preparation.”
The transaction was accompanied on behalf of Bank Hapoalim by Adv. Yonatan Finkelstein from the firm of Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal & Co. On behalf of the franchisee, Adv. On behalf of Shafir Engineering, Adv. Micha Tolman from the firm of Pearl Cohen Tzedek accompanied Letzer Baretz, on behalf of Kaf accompanied Adv. Simon Jaffa from the firm of Barnea & Co.
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