Details on the Competing Public-Private Partnership Proposals for the Virginia Port Authority

As stated in my previous postThe Virginia Port Authority (VPA) received two competing proposals to the Centerpoint proposal for operating its four existing terminals and the development of Craney Island. An interesting article about these proposals was written by Cezary Podkul, in Infrastructure Investor here. (May need subscription)

In summary:

One proposal is from The Carlyle Group a private equity firm and the second is from Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners backing Carrix, a terminal operator. All three conceptual proposals are now posted on the VPA website.

  • Centerpoint, a subsidiary of a company ultimately owned by the Californian Public Employees’ Retirement System, proposed a 60-year lease (concession) in exchange for an upfront cash payment of $500 million. The proposal also included a profit sharing component.
  • The Carlyle proposal is also for a 60-year concession and suggests conceptually it would be possible to pay the Commonwealth $500-$700 million plus a profit sharing component.
  • The Carrix-Goldman proposal takes a different tact and proposes a 30-year operating agreement with Carrix which would work with state-owned terminal operator Virginia International Terminals to improve cash flows. Carrix would offer a $250 million up front payment. Goldman is functioning as financial advisor, underwriter etc. and is not investing any equity.

At the same time, a legislative subcommittee has been separately considering public-private partnerships as they relate to the Ports. The Secretary of Transportation, Piece Homer gave a presentation on August 12, 2009 detailing the Port’s business outlook as well as the proposals.

The next steps will be for the Secretary to appoint an Independent Review Panel which will consist of officials from the localities, the Port Authority, planning agencies in the Hampton Roads area, Virginia Department of Transportation plus business interests such representatives from the Hampton Roads Maritime Association. This panel will evaluate all the proposals and make a recommendation to the board of the Virginia Port Authority and the Secretary.

This review process for public-private partnership proposals is well established in Virginia and has led to successful projects such as the Pocahontas Parkway and the Beltway HOT Lanes.

As always, we will continue to follow the Port deliberations closely and keep you updated.