A public–private partnership (PPP) contract to build schools in Abu Dhabi has reached financial close. The work will involve three schools able to accommodate 5,360 students, and will be carried out by a joint venture between Belgian contractor Besix and Australia’s Plenary Group.
The Besix and Plenary Group team were appointed to the Zayed City Schools in May 2022 by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO).
The scope includes financing, design, procurement, construction, commissioning and 20 years of operation and maintenance.
HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo and the Norinchukin Bank will act as the debt provider.
Paul Crowe, Plenary Group’s chief investment officer, said: “This is an important milestone in the exciting growth phase of the Plenary business, and we are pleased to be collaborating with Besix, ADIO and ADEK to deliver this fantastic project.
“The strength of our PPP project development experience in Asia Pacific and North America has presented opportunities for us to export our skillset to other regions adopting a private partnership model.”
The building will meet the Estidama Pearl 2 green building rating, a sustainable framework designed for Abu Dhabi’s climate, and design will focus on low-energy consumption and the use of locally produced materials.
The project will be the first vertically integrated education PPP in the Middle East, a may set an example for private sector participation in the UAE’s social infrastructure development.
Construction on site is expected to start this year and be completed in August 2024. The schools are due to open in September 2024.