Firms: King & Wood Mallesons (lenders); Norton Rose Fulbright (Sapphire Wind Farm)
Deal: Major financing for Australia's third largest wind farm, Sapphire
Area: Project financing
Key players: Claire Rogers led the KWM advisory team with assistance from partner Shannon Etwell, senior associates Chris Allfrey and Amy Munro, and solicitors Sarah Grant and Priscilla Hejtmanek.
Once operational, the Sapphire Wind Farm will provide clean energy to 116,0000 houses, abating 600,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year with 75 wind turbines.
“The project received a $120m loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which is a positive indication that large-scale greenfield renewable assets can still secure financing despite the uncertainty around the government’s clean energy policy,” Ms Rogers told Lawyers Weekly.
The new wind farm will be the third largest wind farm in Australia.
“Sapphire will have a positive impact on the local community, creating new jobs during construction and providing a clean, sustainable energy alternative for residents once completed,” Ms Rogers said.
“We are very pleased to have been able to leverage our extensive experience financing wind farms across Australia to support our clients on the successful closing of this significant project.”
KWM advised the project lenders, comprised of Commonwealth Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, EKF Denmark and the CEFC.
“The debt consists of long term debt provided by CEFC, as well as covered and uncovered long term funding from EKF – the Danish Export Credit Agency,” Ms Rogers said.
“This is supplemented with a shorter term commercial debt tranche – this very much mirrors the trend of investors looking for long term financing solutions to limit refinancing risk.”
Ms Rogers said 2017 is looking reasonably busy in the project finance space, with a number of private assets predicted for the year ahead.
“The pipeline for 2017 is looking very busy with the LPI and Endeavour privatisations, the sale of Westconnex equity, a number of PPPs on the agenda and a resurgence of renewable projects,” she said
“A number of private assets sales are also likely.”