专栏作者COLUMNIST

徐向东的专栏

  徐向东,化学工程和法律专业,曾在大型央企、民营企业、500强跨国公司、中介机构等工作,担任过高级法律顾问、投资总监、副总裁、政府顾问等职,现为北京财指南咨询有限公司总经理。


  自2002年开始进入PPP项目的运作和实施,拥有从项目开发、商业模式与交易架构的设计、招投标、合同起草谈判、投融资、财务税收、工程建设、运维的全过程经验,包括鸟巢、水上公园、垃圾焚烧发电和水务等众多国内外PPP项目。


  自2014年中国PPP新政以来,操作并执行超过50个PPP项目的咨询服务,涉及学校、医院、城市集中供暖、海绵城市、生态环境综合治理、市政道桥、水利水生态、轨道交通、供水污水、污泥处理、垃圾处理、河道综合治理、绿化、新型城镇化、公路、固废处理等行业。


  作为特约专家,参与国家发展改革委员会《基础设施和公用事业特许经营法》、《基础设施和公用事业特许经营管理办法》暨财政部政府和社会资本合作中心(PPP CENTER)《政府和社会资本合作模式操作指南(试行)》、《PPP项目合同指南(试行)》、《政府和社会资本合作项目政府采购管理办法》、 《政府采购竞争性磋商采购方式管理暂行办法》、《政府和社会资本合作项目物有所值评价指引》等多项工作,中国PPP专业委员会专家、中央财经大学PPP LAB首席法律专家,国家发改委培训中心PPP培训专家,中国国际工程咨询有限公司后评价专家等。


  作为评审专家参加了财政部第二批、第三批PPP示范项目的评审工作。现为财政部PPP中心亚行PPP融资模式技援项目专家组组长,研究中国PPP融资模式设立方案。

某境外污水处理PPP项目投标及合同谈判实务案例(三)

2021年02月25日

A+A-

  【前文回顾】

  某境外污水处理PPP项目投标及合同谈判实务案例(一)

  某境外污水处理PPP项目投标及合同谈判实务案例(二)


六、特许经营协议谈判、签约


  如前所述,本项目从发布招标文件到签署特许经营协议,时间为1年零10天,其中特许经营协议谈判约4个月的时间。比较特许经营协议与国内PPP项目合同,有哪些可以值得借鉴和参考的内容呢?


  (一)、可借鉴条款内容


  此处所讲的可借鉴内容,指的是国内PPP项目合同中很少见,但是本项目特许经营协议中却有闪光点的条款内容。


1.合作期限内的重大技术更新


  按照国际PPP项目惯例,合作期限基本在20年以上。在这长达20多年的期限内,相关技术更新不可避免。因此,一般会要求项目公司保持合作期限内一定程度的技术更新。而如果出现技术的重大更新并应用到项目上,由此而节省的成本应由政府和项目公司共同分享。其实质上是鼓励项目公司进行创新,积极进行技术开发,这对双方来说是共赢的。主要条款内容如下所示:


  1)EFFECT OF A STEP-CHANGE IN TECHNOLOGY


  A.Maintain Updated Technology

  As part of operating, maintaining and repairing the Facility, the Concession Company shall maintain a level of technology in its systems that:

  a)is consistent with Good Industry Practice; and

  b)ensures that the Facility is able to operate effectively and efficiently.

  The Concession Company shall……。

  B.Occurrence of Step-Change in Technology

  a)…….

  b)If, at any time during the Term, a Step-change in Technology occurs, the Concession Company may adopt and implement the Step-change in Technology at the Facility, in which case the Service Charges shall be reduced by a fair and reasonable amount, such reduction to be determined by the parties in good faith, having regard to all of the circumstances, including the cost savings obtained and the capital costs and risks incurred by the Concession Company in adopting the new technology, and/or the costs savings shall be shared between the parties in proportions to be agreed by the parties in good faith, having regard to all of the circumstances.

  c)The parties shall promptly meet and negotiate in good faith with a view to reaching agreement on what adjustments (if any) should be made to the Service Charges and/or how such costs savings should be shared between the parties.

  ……。


  2. 金融机构介入权


  财政部 2014年11月29日《关于印发政府和社会资本合作模式操作指南(试行)的通知》(财金〔2014〕113号)第24条提及:“……当项目出现重大经营或财务风险,威胁或侵害债权人利益时,债权人可依据与政府、社会资本或项目公司签订的直接介入协议或条款,要求社会资本或项目公司改善管理等。在直接介入协议或条款约定期限内,重大风险已解除的,债权人应停止介入……”。笔者认为这里指的就是金融机构的介入权,由实施机构、项目公司、金融机构三方签署的直接协议进行约定。


  本项目特许经营协议附件18融资方直接协议(FINANCINGPARTY DIRECT AGREEMENT)共19页23条,详细的约定了金融机构何时可以行使介入权,介入权的两种主要方式,何时退出介入等内容。首先,项目发起人(采购人)确认:


  1) 为融资之需要,项目公司可将特许经营协议项下目前和未来的权益抵押或质押给金融机构(As security, in part, for the Financing Parties providing financing for the Project to the Concession Company pursuant to the Financing Documents, the Concession Company has [assigned/charged] all of its present and future rights, titles, benefits and interests in and to the Concession Agreement to the Financing Parties (for and on behalf of the Financing Parties) pursuant to the Security)。


  2) 但是,这并不意味着金融机构因此而承担了特许经营协议项下的责任和义务(However, the Financing Parties will not assume any liabilities or obligations under, pursuant to, or in connection with, the Concession Agreement as a result of the Security. The Financing Parties shall only assume liability for its own acts or omissions in exercising rights or in performing or failing to perform obligations under this Agreement )。


  3) 其按照特许经营协议规定项目发起人(采购人)终止特许经营协议之时如果没有给金融机构终止通知的复印件,则不能终止特许经营协议(The Master Developer may not terminate the Concession Agreement without giving the Financing Parties a copy of any notice given to the Concession Company pursuant to Clause XX of the Concession Agreement (“Master Developer Notice”)。


  4) 因此,项目发起人(采购人)给予金融机构收到前述通知之日起30天的选择期,由其决定是否行使介入权(The Master Developer hereby grants the Financing Parties a period of thirty (30) Days (or such longer period as may be specified in the Master Developer Notice or as the parties may agree) (“Election Period”) from the receipt by the Financing Parties of a copy of the Master Developer Notice to elect to exercise the step-in rights)。


  a) 如果金融机构行使介入权,则其或者授权的第三方应在60天的纠正期内纠正项目公司的违约行为(If the Financing Parties elects to step-in following receipt of a Master Developer Notice, the Financing Parties or the Financing Parties’ Agent (as the case may be) will be granted a period of sixty (60) Days from the first Step-in Notice in which to cure all the Concession Company Defaults specified in that Master Developer Notice to the sole and absolute satisfaction of the Master Developer (“Cure Period”)。


  b) 同时,金融机构或者授权的第三方可以在纠正期内随时提出终止介入(The Financing Parties or the Financing Parties’ Agent (as the case may be) may, at any time during the Cure Period, give the Master Developer notice terminating its future obligations to the Master Developer under the Concession Agreement (without affecting the continuation of the Concession Company’s past, present and future rights and obligations towards the Master Developer under the Concession Agreement ) (“Step-out Notice”)。


  c) 金融机构在选择期和纠正期内也可以通知项目发起人(采购人)其希望第三方代替项目公司履行特许经营协议项下的责任和义务(The Financing Parties may during the Election Period and the Cure Period give notice (“Novation Notice”) to the Master Developer that it wishes another party (“Substitute”) to assume the obligations and liabilities of the Concession Company under the Concession Agreement)。


  d) 第三方应及时全面履行特许经营协议项下的责任和义务,项目公司则丧失了相关的权利(The Substitute shall: (i)assume and enjoy all of the rights and perform all of the obligations andliabilities of the Concession Company under the Concession Agreement (whetherthose rights, obligations or liabilities arose or accrued before, on, or after,the Effective Date); and ii) without delay, fully perform any or all of itsobligations and liabilities that have already arisen or accrued and have notyet been fully performed and discharged (which in the case of any outstandingamounts payable will be deemed to be payable within five (5) Days from theEffective Date); and the Concession Company shall no longer enjoy any rights ofwhatever kind arising out of or related to the Concession Agreement)。


  5) 如果金融机构未发出介入通知,则项目发起人(采购人)可以在30天的选择期满之后通知项目公司终止特许经协议(If the Financing Parties does not issue a Step-in Notice during theElection Period, the Master Developer may, upon the cessation of the ElectionPeriod, immediately terminate the Concession Agreement by notice to theConcession Company)。


  附件18融资方直接协议(FINANCING PARTY DIRECT AGREEMENT)也明确金融机构的介入权并不能影响项目发起人(采购人)在特许经营协议项下的介入权(详见下文内容)。


  除此以外,特许经营协议中也规定了财务模型(Financial Model)、出于便利而终止(Termination for Convenience)、保障和责任限度(Indemnity& Liability Limit,前期分析过)、中止权利(Right of Suspend)等条款内容,也非常值得借鉴,由于篇幅关系,不做详细介绍。


  (二)可参考条款内容


  此处所讲的可参考内容,指的是国内PPP项目合同中也提及,但是本项目特许经营协议中的描述可能更合理的条款内容。


1.股权转让限制


  财政部2014年12月30日发布了《关于规范政府和社会资本合作合同管理工作的通知》(财金〔2014〕156号),该通知后附的《PPP项目合同指南(试行)》第十节股权变更限制提及:通常在PPP项目合同中会直接规定:在一定期间内,未经政府批准,项目公司及其母公司不得发生上文定义的任何股权变更的情形。常见的锁定期是自合同生效日起,至项目开始运营日后的一定期限(例如2年,通常至少直至项目缺陷责任期届满)。这一规定的目的是为了确保在社会资本履行完其全部出资义务之前不得轻易退出项目。在锁定期内,如果发生以下特殊的情形,可以允许发生股权变更:


  (1)项目贷款人为履行本项目融资项下的担保而涉及的股权结构变更;


  (2)将项目公司及其母公司的股权转让给社会资本的关联公司;


  (3)如果政府参股了项目公司,则政府转让其在项目公司股权的不受上述股权变更限制。


  一旦发生违反股权变更限制的情形,将直接认定为项目公司的违约行为,情节严重的,政府方将有权因该违约而提前终止项目合同。


  本项目的股权转让限制是分层次设计的:


  在锁定期内,项目公司的股权不得对外转让,但是经过项目发起人(采购人)批准,股东内部、股东向其子公司可以进行转让(Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, no Shareholder may transfer any part of its Equity in the Concession Company during the Equity Lock-In Period save that a Shareholder may transfer any part of its Equity to another Shareholder or an Affiliate of a Shareholder during the Equity Lock-In Period with the prior written approval of the Master Developer (which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld))。


  在锁定期之后,项目公司股权对外转让必须经过项目发起人(采购人)批准(After the Equity Lock-In Period, no Shareholder may transfer any part of its Equity in the Concession Company except with the prior written approval of the Master Developer)。


  从实操的角度看,一些国内PPP项目合同仅是简单一次性约定:在股权锁定期和锁定期之后,未经项目实施机构批准,项目公司股权不得变更,其没有体现出锁定期和锁定期之后股权变更的差异性和层次性。例如,如果联合体中标,在锁定期内完全限制联合体内部股权转让是否有必要?因为联合体互相之间对实施机构承担连带责任,其股权的变化其实对项目公司、实施机构并没有实质性影响。因此,在锁定期内不允许对外进行股权转让,但是联合体内部、社会资本股东内部转让可以灵活一些,笔者认为这样更为合理一些,也有利于PPP项目的实施和执行。


  2. 项目发起人(采购人)介入权


  财政部 2014年12月30日发布了《关于规范政府和社会资本合作合同管理工作的通知》(财金〔2014〕156号),该通知后附的《PPP项目合同指南(试行)》第十七节政府方的监督和介入提及到政府方的介入权。与融资方享有的介入权不同,政府方的介入权通常适用于发生短期严重的问题且该问题需要被快速解决、而政府方在解决该问题上更有优势和便利的情形,通常包括项目公司未违约情形下的介入和项目公司违约情形下的介入两类。


  本项目特许经协议中专门设置了项目发起人(采购人)介入(STEP-IN)条款,如下所示:


  1) 项目发起人(采购人)可以但不是必须在其认为必要的时候为项目之目的介入并取得和控制项目实施的部分或全部(The Master Developer may, but is not obliged to, step-in and take possession and control of the whole or part of the Facility for the purpose of operating the Facility as it deems necessary to ensure the continued operation of the Facility and/or Project (“Step-in Rights”))。


  2) 当发生下列情况之时,项目发起人(采购人)有权行使介入权(The Master Developer shall be entitled to exercise the Step-in Rights when in the opinion of the Master Developer):


  A. 项目公司破产(an Insolvency Event has occurred in respect of the Concession Company);


  B. 项目公司有如下违约情况(there is breach by the Concession Company of any obligation under this Agreement that):


  a) 存在或即将发生并严重危及客户、项目现场或项目设施占有者的人身健康或安全的风险(creates or will create an immediate and serious threat to the health or safety of any Customer or occupiers of the Project Site, the Facility);


  b) 导致或即将导致客户服务的实质性中段(results or will result in a material interruption in the supply of any Services to the Customers); or


  c) 实质性或即将侵害或影响项目设施或环境的开发、建设、运营(materially prejudices or affects or will materially prejudice or affect the development, construction or operation of any property at the Facility or the environment),并且项目公司未能在项目发起人(采购人)限定期限内纠正这些违约(简称“介入事件A”)and the Concession Company has failed to rectify such breach within the time notified by the Master Developer (each event described hereinafter referred to as a “Step-in Event A”); or


  C. 项目发起人(采购人)为了公共利益,或者发生公共紧急情况,但项目公司并没有违约行为(简称“介入事件B”)(it is in the public interest for the Master Developer to step-in or the circumstances constitute a public emergency, without in each case the Concession Company being in breach (or in anticipatory breach) of its obligations under this Agreement (“Step-in Event B”)。


  如果是介入事件A,假设项目公司协助项目发起人(采购人)行使介入权,则项目公司仍有权继续按照服务协议的约定从用户处收取服务费,同时应支付项目发起人(采购人)行使介入权所合理发生的所有成本,包括其为保证项目设施能够继续为用户提供服务所采取的补救措施(While the Master Developer is exercising the Master Developer’s Step-in Rights as a result of a Step-in Event A, provided that the Concession Company provides the Master Developer with reasonable assistance in exercising the Master Developer’s Step-in Rights, the Concession Company shall be entitled to continue receiving the Service Charges from the Customers under their Service Agreements and shall be obliged to pay to the Master Developer all costs properly and reasonably incurred by the Master Developer in exercising the Step-in Rights or as a result of the circumstances giving rise to the Step-in Event, including any remedial action the Master Developer considers reasonably necessary to ensure the Facility continues to supply Services to the Customers in accordance with the Service Agreements)。


  如果是介入事件B,假设项目公司协助项目发起人(采购人)行使介入权,则项目公司仍有权继续按照服务协议的约定从用户处收取服务费,项目发起人(采购人)行使介入权的费用由其自行承担(While the Master Developer is exercising the Master Developer Step-in Rights as a result of a Step-in Event B, provided that the Concession Company provides the Master Developer with reasonable assistance in exercising the Master Developer Step-in Rights, the Concession Company shall be entitled to continue receiving the Service Charges from the Customers under their Service Agreements)。


  3. 法律变更


  财政部 2014年12月30日发布了《关于规范政府和社会资本合作合同管理工作的通知》(财金〔2014〕156号),该通知后附的《PPP项目合同指南(试行)》第十五节守法义务及法律变更中提及法律变更的后果分为政府方可控的法律变更的后果和政府方不可控的法律变更的后果。


  政府方可控的法律变更,具体后果可能包括:


  1) 在建设期间,如果因发生政府方可控的法律变更导致项目发生额外费用或工期延误,项目公司有权向政府方索赔额外费用或要求延长工期(如果是采用政府付费机制的项目,还可以要求认定“视为已开始运营”);


  2) 在运营期间,如果因发生政府方可控的法律变更导致项目公司运营成本费用增加,项目公司有权向政府方索赔额外费用或申请延长项目合作期限;


  3) 如果因发生政府方可控的法律变更导致合同无法继续履行,则构成“政府违约事件”,项目公司可以通过违约条款及提前终止机制等进行救济。


  对于超出政府方可控范围的法律变更,如由国家或上级政府统一颁行的法律等,应视为不可抗力,按照不可抗力的机制进行处理。在某些PPP项目合同中,也有可能将此类法律变更直接定义为政治不可抗力,并约定由政府方承担该项风险。


  本项目的法律变更定义为(Changein Law means):


  1) 新法即现有法律的补充或修正(a newLaw, representing an addition to, or amendment of, existing Laws);or


  2) 法律的适用或解释发生变化(achange in the manner in which a Law is applied or interpreted),


  并且(which):


  A. 协议签署日之后发生的(occurs after the Signing Date);


  B.项目公司应受其约束(the Concession Company is legally obliged to comply with);and


  C.在协议签署日或之前,项目公司不知悉或者一个有经验的承包商或特许权人在从事类似项目之时无法合理预见(was not known by the Concession Company or was not reasonably foreseeable by an experienced contractor or concession holder undertaking a project similar in nature to the Project, prior to or on the Signing Date)。


  法律变更分为两大类,其中一种法律变更为关联法律变更,包括歧视性法律变更和特殊性法律变更(Relevant Change in Law means Discriminatory Change in Law and Specific Change in Law);


  特殊性法律变更指的是专门针对再生水和污水处理服务行业的法律变更(Specific Change in Law means any Change in Law which applies expressly to the industry for the supply of recycled water or waste water treatment services to customers in the Country);


  歧视性法律变更指的是专门针对本项目而不是类似项目,或者专门针对项目公司而不是其他主体的法律变更,但是下列情况除外(Discriminatory Change in Law means any Change in Law which applies expressly to the Project and not to similar projects in the Country or applies expressly to the Concession Company and not to other persons, save that):


  1) 专门针对项目公司非法作为和不作为的法律变更(anyChange in Law shall not be a Discriminatory Change in Law where itsimplementation is in response to any act or omission on the part of theConcession Company which is illegal (other than an act or omission renderedillegal by virtue of the Discriminatory Change in Law itself));


  2) 仅是根据变更对项目公司的影响大于其他公司的法律变更(anyChange in Law shall not be a Discriminatory Change in Law solely on the basisthat its effect on the Concession Company is greater than its effect on othercompanies); and


  3) 税收变化的法律变更(achange in Taxes or the introduction of a Tax affecting companies generallyshall be deemed not to be a Discriminatory Change in Law in any circumstances)。


  如果法律变更不是关联法律变更,则视同项目公司变动,项目公司无权要求修改本协议的任何条款,进行索赔或者要求赔偿损失或者其他任何减轻其义务的行为(The Concession Company shall give notice to the Master Developer of the need for a Variation which is necessary in order to enable the Concession Company to comply with any Change in Law which is not a Relevant Change in Law. Upon such notification, the parties shall meet within ten (10) Business Days to consult in respect of the effect of the Change in Law and any Variation required as a consequence thereof. If the Master Developer is satisfied that a Variation is so required, the Master Developer shall confirm and agree to such Variation and such Variation shall for purposes of this Agreement be deemed to be a Concession Company Variation. For the avoidance of doubt, except as otherwise provided in Clauses XX and XX, the Concession Company shall not be entitled to any revision to the terms of this Agreement, make any Claim or be paid any Loss or entitled to other relief from any performance of its obligations under this Agreement in respect of any Change in Law)。


  如果是关联法律变更,则双方可以协商,修订本协议中的条款以保证项目公司获取如同在未发生该种变更之时同等的项目回报(Within five (5) Days following the receipt of the Relevant Change in Law Notice or where the party giving the Relevant Change in Law Notice is the Master Developer, following the receipt by the Master Developer of the full details and supporting evidence with respect to the Relevant Change In Law (including net amount of the resulting costs or savings to the Concession Company), the parties shall meet and begin (or, if they already have begun, continue) negotiating in good faith, with a view to reaching agreement on, whether a Relevant Change in Law has occurred and what changes should be made to the terms of this Agreement to provide or allow for that Relevant Change in Law. To the extent the Relevant Change in Law has not otherwise been provided for under this Agreement, the terms of this Agreement shall be changed so as to ensure that the Concession Company has the same Project Return as if such costs had not been incurred or such savings had not been realised)。


  除此以外,特许经营协议中明确了EPC承包商对项目公司和项目发起人(采购人)提供工艺和机械性能连带责任保证、项目公司应保证在整个合作期限内一直拥有美国绿色建筑协会认证的“亲邻发展计划(NDP) ”类别中的绿色能源与环境设计(LEED)金牌认证、管网连接账户(Connection Charge Account) 等条款内容,均值得参考,由于篇幅关系,不做详细介绍。


七,境外PPP项目


  2018年第四届中国PPP融资论坛首次举办了亚太国家PPP项目推介会,并由伊朗、hasak哈萨克斯坦、老挝、斯里兰卡、泰国等国介绍了本国PPP模式实施的基本情况,并公开推介了相关PPP项目。


  笔者从中精选了泰国两个污水处理方面的项目:(1)Nong Bon Swamp Wastewater Treatment Facility (Nong BonSwamp 污水处理设施);(2)Construction of SAMUT SAKHON City Municipality Wastewater TreatmentFacility, Samut Sakhon Province (龙仔厝府SAMUT SAKHON 污水处理设施)。如果对这两个项目感兴趣,我们可以提供进一步详细的资料及分析。


  从2018年开始,中国PPP开始与国际PPP相容互通。财政部PPP中心也在其微信公章号“道PPP”多次推介国外的PPP项目,如2018年12月7日公布了“智利PPP项目清单”(http://www.cpppc.org/zh/pppyw/7545.jhtml),2018年9月18日先后公布了“泰国PPP项目清单”(http://www.cpppc.org/zh/pppyw/7363.jhtml)、“哈萨克斯担PPP项目清单(http://www.cpppc.org/zh/pppyw/7363.jhtml)”等。笔者认为,从当前国际国内形势来看,中国走出去参与国外PPP项目是大趋势(具体见笔者另一篇文章2019年中国PPP发展方向粗析),尤其是在2019年国外PPP项目将与国内PPP项目进一步融合贯通。如果您对境外PPP项目感兴趣,请及时与我们联系,我们将为您提供法律、财税策划、项目合同谈判、EPC承包合同谈判、股权融资等方面的咨询服务。


  作者简介

  徐向东:北京财指南咨询有限公司总经理

  倪杨:北京财指南咨询有限公司副总经理

  徐卫东:北京财指南咨询有限公司高级项目经理

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