Capital structure of Public–Private Partnership projects: a sustainability perspective

Jing Du, Hongyue Wu, Ruoyu (Roy) Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Capital is key to achieve the standardized operation of public–private partnership (PPP) projects. The capital structure of PPP projects stresses the structure of equity and debt funds, which
are important for securing life-cycle ample funds and achieving the expected outcomes of projects. By incorporating sustainability into PPP projects, the capital structure not only secures current needs of funds, it also focuses on life-cycle stable operations and achieves economic, social, and environmental benefits. This study first set the equity–debt ratio and equity investment ratio of the private sector as the dependent variables and built a selection model of the capital structure of PPP projects from a sustainability perspective using the benefit, cost, and project conditions as core factors based on multi-objective programming and a discounted cash-flow model. Then, the qualitative analysis could
be achieved according to the analysis of critical factors that had not been calculated. Afterwards, a selection process which combined the multi-objective programming model with qualitative analysis was proposed to achieve a comprehensive selection of the capital structure of PPP projects from the
sustainability perspective. Finally, the process was applied to a real project to verify its rationality and usability. This study not only enriches the theoretical research of PPP projects and provides a new idea on which to build the capital structure selection model, it also proposes a selection process that can provide scientific references for the selection and optimization of the capital structure of PPP projects in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3505
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


  • Capital structure
  • Equity structure
  • Equity-debt ratio
  • PPP
  • Sustainability


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