Edinburgh tramline builders’ 100% stake in new high schools

THE major player in the private finance initiative (PFI) that built new high schools at Duns, Eyemouth and Earlston, now has total ownership of the 30 year contract.

Investment firm Bilfinger Berger Global Infrastructure (BBGI) was the main stake holder in the Scottish Borders Education Partnership (SBEP) with 75 per cent of the equity and in a £2.8 million deal they have bought the remaining 25 per cent from Graham Investments Projects.

Scottish Borders Education Partnership was chosen by Scottish Borders Council to design, build and maintain the three the new schools. The 30 year maintenance contract and total building and maintenance costs mean the project costs will be in excess of £100 million; annual repayments by the council rising from around £7 million in 2009 to over £13 million during the lifetime of the contract.

Scottish Borders Council said this week: “We are aware that equity holdings in this type of contract do change, however, this should not affect the day-to-day operation of the schools. We have made contact with the PPP provider and understand that a letter will be with us later this week.”

The acquisition by BBGI is conditional on third party consents and is expected to be completed by August 2012.

In March this year, three years after pupils moved into the new schools, Scottish Borders Council had to set aside £100,000 for possible legal costs arising from a dispute between SBEP and Scottish Borders Council over delays about power supply access

Bilfinger Berger, the contractors appointed to design, construct and build Edinburgh’s troubled tram line were also involved in a dispute with tram company Tie over the design of the line and delays in moving gas, water, telecoms and electricity services.