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Allens and Blake's advise on billion dollar coal funding

Allens and Blake's advise on billion dollar coal funding

Allens Arthur Robinson and Blake Dawson have acted on the year's largest project financing deal.Blake Dawson has advised Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET), Queensland's first…

Allens Arthur Robinson and Blake Dawson have acted on the year's largest project financing deal.

Blake Dawson has advised Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET), Queensland's first user-funded coal terminal, on its financing by senior syndicate and mezzanine financiers, advised by Allens.

WICET is owned by a consortium of coal exporters, advised by ANZ Corporate Advisory.

The first stage of the development, located in Gladstone and due for completion in 2014, is expected to facilitate the export of around 27 million tonnes of coal per annum. The terminal, which will be operated by the Queensland Government-owned Gladstone Ports Corporation, will eventually have a capacity of more than 80 million tonnes per annum, effectively doubling the coal export capacity at the Port of Gladstone.

The financing for WICET Stage 1 is Australia's largest green fields project financing for 2011.

Signed on 9 September, the deal includes US$2.4 billion ($2.52 billion) for construction and $600 million (made up of Australian and US dollars) for performance guarantees, working capital and contingencies.

The Gladstone Long Term Securities (GiLTS) financing package is comprised of $450 million and US$50 million ($52.4 million).

In an Australian first, the senior debt facilities reportedly include a tranche of debt guaranteed by the Australian Export Finance and Insurance Corporation.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia is acting as the senior agent for a syndicate of 20 domestic and international banks which are providing senior debt on the deal, and as the mezzanine agent for a consortium of 13 mezzanine financiers, which have subscribed for GiLTS.

Sydney partner Phillip Cornwell, who led the Allens team acting for the senior financiers, said the huge and complex deal required a large, well-coordinated team, including the firm's due diligence specialists.

Cornwell was supported by Sydney partners Rob Watt and Nicholas Adkins, as well as senior associate Carmen Luk and lawyers Mary-Frances Murphy, Kevin Lu, Scott Day, Amy Cashman, and Sarah Petrie.

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