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Last data update: February, 2013
What does the PPI Database record?
- The database records contractual arrangements with and without investments in which private parties assume operating risks in low- and middle-income countries (as classified by the World Bank).
- Projects included in the database do not have to be entirely privately owned, financed or operated. Some have public participation as well.
- With few exceptions, the investment amounts in the database represent the total investment commitments entered into by the project entity at the beginning of the project (at contract signature or financial closure), not the planned or executed annual investments.
- For projects that involve investments, the database figures reflect total project investments encompassing the shares attributable to both the private and the public parties.
- A breakdown by financing sources is not provided. The database does not provide data on funding flows coming as debt from private sources.
- The database draws its information exclusively from publicly available sources. This enables us to make the results publicly available, but carries the risk of inaccuracy depending on the reliability of sources used.
The database methodology is described in more detail below.
Countries included in the database
The database covers projects awarded in low- and middle-income countries as classified by the World Bank. Countries are also classified in six regions (East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa).
Sectors and subsectors included in the database
The database focuses on sectors with some monopoly or oligopoly characteristics. More competitive sectors, such as airlines and gas production, are not included. The database classifies infrastructure projects into four sectors:
- electricity generation, transmission, and distribution
- natural gas transmission and distribution
- fixed or mobile local telephony
- domestic long-distance telephony
- international long-distance telephony
- airport runways and terminals
- railways (including fixed assets, freight, intercity passenger, and local passenger)
- toll roads, bridges, highways, and tunnels
- port infrastructure, superstructures, terminals, and channels
- potable water generation and distribution
- sewerage collection and treatment
Projects included in the database
The database covers infrastructure projects that meet three criteria:
- Projects that are owned or managed by private companies in low- and middle-income countries. Private parties have at least a 25% participation in the project contract, except for divestitures which are included with at least 5% of equity owned by private parties.
- Projects that directly or indirectly serve the public -- captive facilities (such as cogeneration power plants and private telecommunications networks) are excluded unless a significant share of output (20%) is sold to serve the public under a contract with a utility.
- Projects that reached financial closure after 1983 (database coverage currently extends to 2011).
Types of private participation included in the database
Projects are considered to have private participation if a private company or investor bears a share of the project's operating risk. That is, a private sponsor is at least partially responsible for operating cost and associated risks. This could be by either having the rights to operate alone or in association with a public entity or owning an equity share in the project.
The Database classifies private infrastructure projects in four categories:
Most infrastructure projects with private participation fit in one of these four
categories. But the boundaries between these categories are not always clear, and
some projects have features of more than one category. In these cases projects have
been classified in the category that better reflects the risk borne by the private
Management and lease contracts transfer at least partially the operational risk to a private sponsor through contractual obligations. In greenfield projects and divestitures, the operational risk is transferred to a private party through contractual obligations and/or equity ownership in the project.
A private sponsor is a company controlled and majority owned by private parties. State-owned enterprises or their subsidiaries are considered private investors only in projects located in foreign countries. Partially divested state-owned enterprises or their subsidiaries that remain majority owned by government entities are not considered private sponsors in their own countries.
Stage at which projects are included projects in the
The Database only includes projects that have reached financial or contractual closure. The definition of financial or contractual closure varies among types of private participation as a result of availability of public information:
A project in the database usually takes the title of the corporate entity created
to operate infrastructure facilities in the hosting country. When the same corporate
entity operates two or more physical facilities (such as power plants or toll roads),
under the provisions of a single contract or more than one telecom license for a
geographic region, all of them together are considered one project.
- For management and lease contracts, a contract authorizing the commencement of management or lease service must be signed with the private consortium assuming the operation of the services.
- For concession projects, contractual closure is reached when the concession agreement is signed, and the date for taking over the operations is set.
- For greenfield projects, financial closure is defined as the existence of a legally binding commitment of equity holders and/or debt financiers to provide or mobilize funding for the full cost of the project. In some cases project construction begins with partial funding. Such projects are included in the database when there is a significant advancement of project construction (25%).
- For divestitures, the equity holders must have a legally binding commitment to acquire the assets of the facility. Such commitment usually occurs at the signing of the share purchase contract.
Recording investment commitments
Investments recorded by the database are those made or to be made by the project company under the PPI contract. In many cases project companies are owned by both private and public parties. Therefore the database does not record private investment alone.
Investments are recorded in millions of US dollars in either the year of financial closure or year of investment as indicated below. Notes and other data analysis formats often used data in real terms adjusted by the U.S. consumer price index and with the year of analysis (e.g. 2011) as the base year.
Investments are classified as one of two types:
Investments in physical assets: resources the project company commits to invest in expanding and modernizing facilities. Total cost of developing or expanding the facility during the contract period is entered as investment data in the year of financial or contractual closure (for which data are typically available). For agreed further expansions (e.g. additional power plants) under the same contract, the investment commitments involved in the expansion are recorded in the year the expansion was agreed. Finally investment commitments for rental projects do not include the total asset cost. Instead, they are recorded in an amount which is proportional to the ratio of project’s contract period over the asset’s expected life.
There are exceptions to commitment bases which are telecommunications and some large energy utilities controlled by private parties. For these projects, annual investments on facility expansion and modernization are entered as investment data in the year of investment when information is publicly available. The database uses two criteria to identify telecommunications and energy companies controlled by private parties which are: (i) private parties own at least 50% of equity stake (or voting shares) in the company, or (ii) private parties own less than 50% of equity stake but were granted the operational control of the company.
- Payments to the government: to acquire state-owned enterprises or rights to provide services in a specific area or to use radio spectrum. Those expenditures are usually paid through divestiture revenues, license or concession fees, or lease payments. Where divestitures are phased (such as for large privatized electricity and telecommunications companies), the investments are recorded in the years in which the transactions take place. Where investments in acquiring government assets are due over the period of a concession, an estimate of their present value is recorded in the year of financial or contractual closure.
If investment commitments change during the contract period due to contract renegotiation, they are adjusted in the database accordingly when information is publicly available. If revised investment commitments are not made publicly available, original investments are kept in the database.
The status of projects in the database can be one of the following options:
- under construction for facilities that are still being built
- operational projects that have started providing services to the public
- concluded projects for which the contract period has expired and was neither renewed nor extended by either the government or the operator
- canceled projects from which the private sector has exited in one of the following ways:
- selling or transferring its economic interest back to the government before fulfilling the contract terms
- removing all management and personnel from the concern
- ceasing operation, service provision, or construction for 15 percent or more of the license or concession period, following the revocation of the license or repudiation of the contract
- distressed projects where the government or the operator has either requested contract termination or are in international arbitration.
- merged projects that have been acquired by other projects in the database and consolidated in one project.
Project information and updates
The database is updated every year through a comprehensive review of activity in each of the low- and middle-income economies. When new information on existing projects is available, project records are updated accordingly. Each update includes project information as of December of the update year, and the updated information is published by August of the following year.
The database is updated annually with information up to December of the update year. Projects that reached financial or contractual closure after December of the update year are not entered in the database until the next update.
Sources of information
The database’s research team uses the following sources:
If necessary, information is also requested from or verified with:
- commercial news databases such as Factiva, Business News America, ISI Emerging markets,
and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s databases
- specialized and industry publications
such as Thomson Financial’s Project Finance International, Euromoney’s Project Finance,
Media Analytics’ Global Water Intelligence, Pisent Masons’ Water Yearbooks, and
Platt’s Power in Asia
- specialist portal such as Privatization, IPAnet, and
- Internet resources such as web sites of project companies,
privatization or PPP agencies, and regulatory agencies
- sponsor information primarily through their Web sites, annual reports, press releases, and financial reports such as 10K and 20F forms submitted to the NYSE
- multilateral development agencies
primarily through information on their Websites, annual reports, and other studies
- project companies
- regulatory agencies
Interpretation of data
The PPI Projects Database is quite extensive and provides a good proxy for measuring trends. But the following data characteristics should be taken into account when presenting and interpreting data from the database:
Given data characteristics, the database does not provide an exhaustive listing of each and every infrastructure project with private participation in every developing country or a precise estimate of investments. It is very likely that some projects have been missed and investment figures are rough estimates. Rather, the objective is to provide access to detailed and aggregated data that can serve as the basis for estimates and analyses of private participation in infrastructure and its trends by country, region, and sector.
Project size: The database does not have good coverage of small scale providers due to lack of publicly available information. Those projects are usually not reported in major news sources, databases, government sites or other sources used by the database. This limitation is particularly important to note in water and electricity services where small scale providers play an important role. There are other PPIAF funded initiatives available to map and profile these types of operators.
Investment in telecommunications: The database tends to underestimate telecommunications investments in facilities due to data gathering problems. The database relies on publicly available information. However, many telecommunications operators, particularly the non-publicly traded ones, do not release investment data. In those cases, the database either does not include their investments or uses partial information provided by news reports.
Distressed projects: The database tends to underestimate international arbitration cases because most arbitration bodies do not disclose information about cases. International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is the only international arbitration body that provides public information on its cases. Even when information on international arbitration cases is public, it can be difficult to find out which projects are under arbitration because private sponsors rather than project companies are usually the claimants.
Accuracy of sources: The database relies primarily on information reported in public sources which may not be accurate or contain all the required information. For instance, different public sources report different investment commitments for some projects. In these cases, the database reports the investment figures which seem to be the most accurate. Other projects are reported without any indication of investment commitments or very limited information on contractual obligations. When unable to obtain more information, these projects are included in the database with the limited information available.
For a more detailed description, see the expanded methodology
For a description of terms and definitions used in the Private Participation in
Infrastructure Projects Database, see