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Balfour Beatty reaches financial close for £163 million Knowsley building schools for the future PPP project

17 December 2007

Balfour Beatty's specialist education PPP concession company, Transform Schools, has reached financial close for the £163 million Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council PPP concession to construct seven new learning centres under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

The concession, which is for 25 years, will provide seven state-of-the-art learning centres which will replace all of the Borough’s existing secondary schools over a three-year period. Transform Schools will work with Knowsley Council not only in the building and management of the new premises, but also in the further development of a clear educational vision through researching and evaluating progressive learning environments and teaching models in the UK and internationally. Together, Balfour Beatty and the Council are investigating the potential for the establishment of a not-for-profit company to manage the extended use of the facilities and an employment and training hub to maximise local employment, training and development opportunities.

Commenting today, Balfour Beatty Chief Executive, Ian Tyler, said:
“We are delighted to have reached financial close on this exciting project which will transform education provision in Knowsley. We bring the experience gained not only from our work on five other major schools PFI schemes but also lessons learned from personalised project-based learning schemes in the UK, US, Australia and Asia.”

Councillor Graham Wright, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:
“We are delighted to set the seal on this contract and look forward to working with the company as we progress our plans to transform education in Knowsley. Our proposals are genuinely ground-breaking and will combine up-to-date facilities and the latest technology with a modern curriculum and teaching methods.”

Construction and building services work under the contract will be carried out by Balfour Beatty Construction and Balfour Kilpatrick. The maintenance of the schools will be undertaken by Haden Building Management, also a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty.Balfour Beatty will invest £15.3 million of equity in the project which will bring its overall equity commitment to the education sector to almost £50 million.

Knowsley is the sixth major Balfour Beatty schools PFI project to reach financial close and its first as a concession company under the BSF scheme. Its projects at Stoke and Rotherham are in their seventh and fifth year of operation respectively. Projects in North Lanarkshire and Bassetlaw began in the summer of 2005 and its Birmingham PP2 concession became operational in April 2006. Balfour Beatty is currently preferred bidder for the BSF scheme in Islington, north London.

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