The N.V. BESIX S.A. Sharjah Branch (“BESIX”) – Plenary Group (“Plenary”) consortium is pleased to announce it has achieved financial close of the Zayed City Schools PPP on the 5 July 2022. This is the UAE's first public-private partnership in the field of school infrastructure, a pioneering project paving the way for private sector participation in the development of the country's social infrastructure.

The public-private partnership project was awarded to the BESIX – Plenary consortium by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK). It covers the financing, design, procurement, construction, commissioning, and 20-year operations and maintenance of three new state-of-the-art school campuses with a total capacity of 5,360 students in Zayed City, Abu Dhabi.

The debt provider group comprises financial institutions HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo and The Norinchukin Bank. They provide senior debt financing with a long-term maturity.
Peter Lembrechts, General Manager, BESIX Middle East: “BESIX is extremely proud to partner with the Abu Dhabi Government to develop and implement this pathfinder PPP project. We are providing campuses with specialist expertise to support the project from start to finish, in terms of financing, engineering, construction, and long-term maintenance. In Plenary Group we have found a world-class partner to develop and deliver this project. We look forward to the next steps and would like to thank ADIO and ADEK, as well as the leading international financial institutions and advisors that are supporting us, for their confidence and commitment to ensure the success of the project.”

Paul Crowe, Chief Investment Officer, Plenary Group: “This is an important milestone in the exciting growth phase of the Plenary business, and we are pleased to be collaborating with BESIX – who we have previously partnered with in Australia – 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. We commend the Abu Dhabi Government on its impressive program of infrastructure development and investment and its acknowledgment that private sector capital can support its ambitions to deliver infrastructure vital for social and economic growth. We look forward to delivering this exciting project and future opportunities in the region.”

World-class school campuses
The campus buildings have a dual priority of academic excellence and high environmental performance.

The school campuses will feature state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, allowing for world-class, high-end education.

The buildings will be designed and built with high sustainability objectives, complying with the Estidama Pearl 2. The buildings will be low-energy buildings with a focus on usage and consumptions efficiency, and the partners will give priority to the use of locally produced building materials.

The Project covers a greenfield plot for each of the three new schools across Zayed City, a 4,900-hectare construction project being built seven kilometres inland from Abu Dhabi Island, between Mohamed Bin Zayed City and the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Construction on site is still expected to start in 2022 and be completed in August 2024, with schools opening in September 2024.

About BESIX Group
BESIX is a leading Belgian group, based in Brussels and operating in twenty-five countries and on five continents, in the construction, real estate development and concessions sectors. Active since 1909, its iconic achievements include Dubai's Burj Khalifa. In Abu Dhabi, BESIX Group is currently building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and has been involved in the construction of world-class landmarks such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Emirates Palace, the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, and the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park. The Group's engineering department enables BESIX to design complex and unique projects, particularly in terms of technical and environmental aspects.

The group also offers its clients tailor-made solutions for the financing, operations, and maintenance of their projects. In this field, the Zayed City Schools campuses add to BESIX's growing portfolio of pioneering PPPs in the United Arab Emirates. These include, among others, the Abu Dhabi ISTP2 wastewater treatment plant, the Dubai Waste-to-Energy plant, and the Ajman Sewerage facilities.

About Plenary Group
Plenary is a leading independent long-term investor, developer, and manager of public infrastructure, specialising in public-private partnerships. It currently has 76 assets under management worth more than US$38 billion across Australia, Canada, the US and now the UAE. It adopts a holistic approach to delivering projects that embraces finance, design and construction, commercial development, asset management and operations.

Media contacts

Chris Whitefield
Executive Director, Communications
Plenary Group