The UK’s export credit agency UK Export Finance (UKEF) is providing £1.7bn in backing for a monorail project in Egypt, the largest amount it has ever provided for an overseas infrastructure project.

UKEF’s support takes the form of a buyer credit guarantee on a €1.89bn loan facility, including financed ECA premium, for a €2.7bn contract supplied by Bombardier Transportation UK. The facility is administered by a syndication of banks, led by JP Morgan as the initial mandated lead arranger and facility agent. The other banks in the syndicate are CaixaBank, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, KfW Ipex-Bank, NatWest, Société Générale and UBS.

This guarantee will allow an unconsolidated consortium comprising Bombardier Transportation UK, Bombardier Egypt, Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors to build two monorail projects in the North African country: the New Capital City Monorail, with 21 stations, 40 four-car trains, one depot and an approximate length of 54km; and the October 6th City Monorail, with 12 stations, 33 four-car trains, one depot and an approximate length of 42km.

The single engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract is split between different scopes of work for every consortium member, with each having procurement plans based on their individual scope and local content restrictions. Therefore, to get the deal over the line, the Italian and Spanish ECAs, Sace and CESCE, also came in as reinsurers.

“The Cairo Monorail export win, against international competition, shows that that the UK rail sector can fight and win in key growth markets such as sustainable transport,” says Matt Byrne, president of Bombardier Transportation UK and Ireland, adding that this is the company’s first UK export since its Derby-built trains were exported to South Africa for the Gautrain project in 2008.

Bombardier will now start production at the UK’s only monorail car production line, which it says will directly support 100 UK jobs at the company and “many more” in its UK supply chain.