by Jerome a Paris
Thu Nov 25th, 2010 at 11:25:52 AM EST
C-POWER Financial Close PHASE 2 & 3 (Belgium)
C-Power is pleased to announce that it has closed the financing of the second and third phases of the offshore wind farm on the Thornton Bank (situated about 30 km in the North Sea off the Belgian coast). The financing will be provided by a group of 7 commercial lenders: KBC, Rabobank, Société Générale, KfW Ipex-Bank, Commerzbank, Dexia and ASN Bank together with export credit agencies Euler-Hermes of Germany and EKF of Denmark, and the European Investment Bank
A year and a half ago, I wrote a story entitled, somewhat arrogantly, 3 for 3
, which bragged about my role in bringing about the financing of an offshore wind farm, and my de facto monopoly on that activity.
Today, I don't know if I should be proud or worried that I was, again, instrumental in the next offshore wind construction financing to take place and am thus maintaining my firm grip on the activity (there was another deal in the UK last year where I was only very indirectly involved, but it was a re-financing of an already-operating project rather than the financing of the construction of a new one). Proud because I made it happen (with my new start-up company), because it's the only offshore wind deal this year, and because it's a damn nice deal all around. Or worried because the "market" still seems unable to do any deals in the sector otherwise, at a time when the offshore industry is going to need the financial support from the banks.
This is a billion euro deal, not a small achievement in today's liquidity-constrained banking world. It brought together 10 financial institutions, including 3 public ones, ie the financing is backed by the governments of Denmark, Germany and the European institutions. It is the first transaction ever done with 6MW turbines offshore (the "big babies" shown right). It has an overall cost of debt of just about 5%, a pretty stunning number in itself for an 18-year financing (and, as my readers know, an all-important one for such a capital-intensive industry). With more than 20,000 pages of contractual documents, it's kept a fair number of highly-paid professionals busy before the "real people" (engineers and other construction workers) get to do the actual work - at the last count, there were more than a hundred people copied on our deal emails...
Once again, I'll be arrogant, claim full credit for making this financing happen (together with the exceptional team of the developer and my own brilliant and tireless colleagues) and continue to say "no greenfield offshore wind non recourse debt deal has ever been done without me." Having done this from outside of a bank, with my own company (acting as advisor to the project and helping it negotiate with the banks) makes me even more pleased, of course.
The traditional 'reward' for outstanding performance in the course of duty is yet more difficult missions.