Infrastructure Finance: An Inside View

By Martin Blaiklock

ISBN: 978 1 78742 083 0


An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”

Globe Law and Business is a publisher that can be relied upon to produce titles containing authoritative, carefully researched and certainly expert advice on all manner of key business issues, in particular those requiring consistent and reliable legal input. One of its latest titles, ‘Infrastructure Finance’ by Martin Blaiklock is definitely one of these.

The very word ‘infrastructure’ engenders feelings that range from excitement and exhilaration to alarm and a degree of dread at the sheer size and complexity of any infrastructure project, from concept to completion. However, you define it –and there are many different definitions – ‘infrastructure’ refers to big projects, big commitments, big money.

‘In the context of this book’, says author Martin Blaiklock, “infrastructure” is assumed to mean ‘the underlying framework of fixed assets required to deliver a public service.’ There are grey areas, he adds, as to what constitutes a public service, although generally, power, transportation, water, health, education and municipal and governmental administration are public services regarded as essential to the economy and its future development.

The sheer size, scope and importance of such projects necessitates a broad spectrum of expertise. Project finance and PPP, says Martin Blaiklock, is ‘the ultimate team game in the financial sector,’ requiring a ‘core team’ consisting typically of a banker, technical expert, environmentalist, proposal manager, computer modeller and also, you might say, a lawyer! As contract is really the core consideration in any of these projects, yes, a solid core of knowledgeable legal advice consistently on tap is of prime importance to the core team.

Part 1 of the book, entitled ‘Principles’ covers the technical, commercial and financial conditions and requirements, which are intrinsic to and vital within, the legal and contractual framework. Part 2 – ‘Practice and Experience’ covers no less than thirteen categories of infrastructure, from six sub-categories of transport (roads, bridges, rail, ports, airports and so forth) to power generation, oil and gas, water and waste management, government services such as schools, health, housing, sports facilities and IT.

Most of these chapters are organised logically to deal with key features and key risks. Illustrative case studies are provided throughout, many of them replete with warnings against possible perils and pitfalls, while revealing the steps that should be taken typically to ensure success.

‘Infrastructure finance,’ remarks the author, is ‘a corner of the financial markets that ever continues to fascinate.’ He should know. As a banker with scientific training, he has brought to this book his forty years of experience in structuring, evaluating, developing and implementing the funding of public and private sector projects.

For anyone, especially corporate lawyers involved with the development of infrastructure projects -- of which finance is always at the centre -- this book, (as the subtitle indicates) does indeed provide with admirable clarity, ‘an inside view’.

Phillip Taylor, Richmond Green Chambers