by Jerome a Paris
Sat Jul 25th, 2009 at 08:16:57 AM EST
Belgian and Dutch investors join EIB and banks in Belwind rescue (24 Jul 2009)
Banks have signed the most important European renewable energy project financing of 2009 so far, after a band of Low Countries investors bought the Belwind offshore wind farm from the failed Econcern group.
The deal, one of the most encouraging pointers so far that the worst of the credit crunch may be easing for clean energy, sees the European Investment Bank agree to lend EUR 300m towards a EUR 482.5m (USD 686.4m), 15-year debt package for Belwind.
The remaining EUR 182.5m of the long-term debt is being provided by [commercial banks]
This is the transaction I have been working on for over a year and a half and, between my bank's bailout, the credit crunch or my client's bankruptcy, it's been a rather stressful process - and an altogether too busy one, as may have attested my patchy presence on ET in recent months.
It's the biggest offshore wind farm to be project-financed, it's the first to be financed since the credit crisis, and it's the first time the EIB is involved in taking project risk in the sector, despite the clear push from EU governments over the past year. It took coordinating 6 banks (including a multilateral and two quasi-public institutions), 6 equity investors, 2 large contractors and 1 bankruptcy administrators, jointly with a client with excellent engineers and permits to a great project, but with no money and management in chaos. It took bringing together on the same terms at the same time people who were all indispensable to the deal, all knew they were indispensable and all too often were tempted into brinkmanship to get a better seat at the table.
Quite honestly, I'm still stunned that it actually happened. I never gave up, took up an obviously big role in keeping it alive throughout but at times the odds seemed overwhelming and it took its toll on my morale and energy. It's going to take more than a bit of time to stop obsessing about clauses of the financial documentation, or the conflicting conditions imposed by the various parties, and it's going to be hard to forget the past several months, toiling away day and night in desperate efforts, but t least now I can think it was worth it.
I DID IT!!!
I saved a windfarm (a collapse of the project this month would have delayed it by at least 2 years). I gave a significant, and much needed, boost to the nascent offshore wind project finance market. I bring my bank good publicity. I help save the planet. I'm quite proud. Downright giddy, in fact.
part of the Windpower series
Brought across by afew