"Make the complex simple" was a key criteria for modelling Reliance Rail's NSW Rolling Stock PPP project.
Reliance Rail is in a public-private partnership (PPP) with the NSW Government to deliver the largest single contract for procurement and maintenance of trains in Australian history. Costing AU $3.6 billion, Reliance Rail will supply 626 new state of the art carriages, followed by continued maintenance for a 30 year period. It is owned by a consortium of leading international infrastructure developers and financial services companies – Downer EDI, interests managed by AMP Capital Investors, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and International Public Partnerships.
A complex project, the NSW Rolling Stock PPP has many elements, requiring multiple financial models. Graeme Bell, Chief Financial Officer at Reliance Rail, is tasked with the financial management of the project. Bell has identified the need for several reporting tools since the project’s inception in early 2007. Initially, he required a new operational reporting model which incorporated the ability to reflect the project’s history as well as forecasting future performance. With only a very small internal team, and with little experience in building a financial model, Reliance Rail identified the need to source an external consultant.
“Make the complex simple” - financial model requirements
Since that first model, Corality has now:
Rebuilt Reliance Rail’s bid model into an operational reporting model that assisted them through a strategic restructuring process;
Built a financial lease model, which will cover approximately 30 years’ reporting, and in Bell’s words “will be able to be used for the life of the project”;
Developed a model to calculate liquidiated damages due from its contractor; and,
Offered consistent client support
Bell has also had the experience of working with both a Big 4 provider and Corality on a financial model. “Our Big 4 consultant built one aspect of a financial model for us. The Corality team was able to reduce the size of the Big 4 model by about 90%, and to import what would have been a very large, complex element into the Corality-built model without trouble.”
“We wanted expert advice”
“When we were searching for a service provider, there were two suggested by an internal stakeholder. After discussion and review, Reliance Rail decided Corality was the best fit, due to their locality, and the ease of working together face-to-face,” says Bell.
What started as a relationship based on proximity has turned into one built on confidence and trust.
As Bell explains, “I have worked with Corality since mid-2007, when it was just a firm with five staff. From our initial request for one model, we have now worked with Corality to build at least four different financial models. As I use our Corality-built financial models every day, I am able to make some small changes myself. However, I am in regular contact with Corality regarding amends, big or small, and no request for assistance goes unanswered.”
“Can’t get any better than that” - Rail PPP financial modelling
So what is it about Corality that keeps Bell and his team coming back? According to Bell, “while time and money is always a determining factor, it is Corality’s expertise that we rely on. Corality takes the time to understand the client’s issues, and can create a workable model just from these discussions.
“In my experience, even when Corality staff are travelling, they can deliver to better than expected times – you can’t get any better than that. Nothing has been too much of a trouble. If Corality says they can’t do something, they will take the time to work out an alternate solution.”
While the NSW Rolling Stock model is in Bell’s words “a beast”, Reliance Rail’s new CEO has told him that the Corality model gives an overview of the finances of the whole NSW Rolling Stock PPP project, “which is easy to follow, flexible and informative.”
“I have recommended Corality to others in the past, and will do so again in the future,” concludes Bell.