Each year, GTR’s editorial team selects the market’s Best Deals from the previous 12 months. The winning deals are chosen from submissions sent to GTR, and feature a mix of trade, commodity, supply chain and export finance, as well as fintech-led transactions. Congratulations to those behind these 15 deals, which were chosen as the top transactions from 2019.
The rise and rise of sustainability-linked financing
Leveraging finance to facilitate and support environmentally and socially sustainable economic activity was a major focus for many banks in 2019. While numerous transactions have been closed across a growing number of sectors, these four winning deals have set the bar for the industry with a series of firsts.
- Deal name: Cofco International: sustainability-linked facilities
- Borrower: Cofco International (HK) Ltd
- Amount: US$2.3bn
- Senior bookrunning MLAs: ABN Amro, Agricultural Bank of China, ANZ, BBVA, China Construction Bank, China Development Bank, ICBC, ING, Natixis, OCBC
- Bookrunning MLAs: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Crédit Agricole, Rabobank, Westpac
- MLAs: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, DBS Bank, HSBC, MUFG Bank, Société Générale, SMBC, Standard Chartered
- Co-ordinator: ABN Amro
- Sustainability co-ordinators: BBVA, ING, Rabobank
- Law firm: Clifford Chance
- Tenor: 1-year RCF, 3-year RCF and 3-year term loan
- Pricing: Margins based on Cofco’s performance against environmental, social and governance targets
- Date signed: July 16, 2019
In this groundbreaking transaction, Chinese commodity trader Cofco International worked with a consortium of over 21 banks to link its main financing to its sustainability performance. Structured in line with the sustainability-linked loan principles, the bumper US$2.3bn financing comprises three tranches – a one-year revolving credit facility (RCF), a three-year RCF and a three-year term loan – each of which is tied to the meeting of KPIs in areas such as increasing traceability of agri-commodities, with a focus on directly sourced soy in Brazil. This deal is the largest sustainability linked loan for a commodity trader to date and the first of its kind for a Chinese company.
Bunge Europe Finance BV
- Deal name: Bunge: sustainability-linked facility
- Borrower: Bunge
- Amount: US$1.75bn
- Active Bookrunners/MLA): ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, Natixis, SMBC
- Bookrunners/MLAs: ANZ, Bank of China, Bank of Montreal, BTMU, Citi, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, ICBC, Mizuho, Rabobank, Société Générale, Standard Chartered, UniCredit, US Bank, Wells Fargo
- Sustainability co-ordinators: ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Natixis, Rabobank
- Law firms: Clifford Chance; Reed Smith
- Tenor: 3 years
- Pricing: Libor plus between 0.3% and 1.3% on a ratings-based grid. Additionally, the margin can be further adjusted based on five sustainability-linked KPIs which will be tested on an annual basis
- Date signed: December 16, 2019
Over in Europe, a substantially oversubscribed deal for Bunge saw 41 institutions come together to amend and extend an existing facility and tie its pricing to sustainability objectives. The interest rate on this US$1.75bn, three-year revolving credit facility is linked to Bunge’s performance on greenhouse gas reduction, traceability of agricultural commodities and sustainable practices across the soybean and palm supply chain.
The first sustainable finance transaction for the commodity trader, this deal shows the power of financing to drive best-in-class value chains that are transparent, verifiably sustainable and which can create a positive impact on the ground, making it a clear winner.
- Deal name: Rusal: sustainability-linked facility
- Borrower: UC Rusal plc
- Amount: US$1.085bn
- Co-ordinating bookrunning MLAs: ING, Natixis
- Initial bookrunning MLAs: Bank of China, Crédit Agricole, Société Générale, UniCredit
- Bookrunning MLA: Sberbank
- Initial MLA: RCB Bank
- MLAs: Bank Zenit, Intesa Sanpaolo
- Lead arranger: Raiffeisen Bank
- Sustainability co-ordinators: Natixis, Société Générale
- Law firms: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Clifford Chance
- Tenor: 5 years
- Pricing: The interest rate of the PXF is subject to a discount or premium depending on Rusal’s fulfilment of sustainability-linked KPIs
- Date signed: October 29, 2019
Tackling sustainability issues in the energy-intensive aluminium smelting business is one thing. Getting a deal over the line just months after sanctions on the borrower were lifted deserves an award. In the first ever syndicated sustainability-linked pre-export finance facility in Russia’s metals and mining sector, 11 banks came together to loan US$1.085bn to aluminium and alumina producer Rusal – up from US$750mn at launch.
The transaction combines a pre-export finance structure with a sustainability-linked feature, and includes KPIs related to carbon footprint and fluoride emission reductions as well as sales of Rusal’s “green” aluminium brand, Allow.
Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod)
- Deal name: Cocobod: sustainability-linked facility
- Borrower: Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod)
- Amount: US$300mn
- Bookrunning MLAs: Crédit Agricole, MUFG Bank, Natixis, Rabobank, Société Générale
- MLAs: DZ Bank, Ghana International Bank, Nedbank
- Tenor: 3 years
- Pricing: Initial margin of 295bps per annum over US$ Libor, includes a margin incentive mechanism subject to environmental and social KPIs
- Date signed: March 19, 2019
Another “first” came from Africa, with a US$300mn syndicated sustainability-linked loan facility for Ghana’s Cocobod. The margin on the facility is based on Cocobod achieving performance targets, from the empowerment of female farmers to increased sensitivity to child labour among community leaders. What put this deal over the line was its far-reaching impact: as the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, changes brought about in Ghana make a tangible difference along the cocoa supply chain, setting a high bar for other African commodity producers.
African solutions for African infrastructure
- Deal name: Ghana Infrastructure Company (GIC)
- Borrower: Ghana Infrastructure Company Ltd (GIC)
- Amount: US$22.5mn
- Lender: Investec Bank South Africa
- ECA: ECIC South Africa
- Law Firm: DLA Piper
- Tenor: Up to 5 years
- Date signed: April 24, 2019
In an export finance market traditionally focused on larger deals and blue chip borrowers, this transaction is relatively small, highly structured and focused on supporting a mid-sized African supplier as it grows its business in its home market.
Ghana Infrastructure Company Ltd (GIC) was last year bidding to sign contracts with the Ministry of Roads and Highways of Ghana to construct 5.8km of storm drainage along the Lamashiegu, Nalung-Bulpela and Tamale roads. It was also looking to engage in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 56km of selected roads within the Ashanti region in central Ghana.
The company needed a financing structure that allowed it to implement the project against contract receivables from the Ministry of Roads and Highways, without any direct guarantee from the Ministry of Finance. Despite having never lent to the company previously, it was Investec Bank South Africa that stepped up to structure the financing and fund the projects. Export credit agency Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa supported the financing based on procurement of key goods (steel) and services (design and engineering) from South Africa.
The finance was structured as a supplier credit, which allowed GIC to manage payments and terms negotiated with the Ministry of Roads and Housing. “Whilst some banks are able to arrange transactions in Ghana where the Ministry of Finance is the borrower, it is less common for the repayment source to be a local contractor relying on line ministry receivables,” a spokesperson for the bank tells GTR.
The deal enabled GIC to not only win the work, but also keep a high level of localisation of jobs in Ghana and grow GIC’s and Ghana’s capacity to deliver such projects domestically.
“Local contractors such as GIC are often viewed as potential sub-contractors to foreign contractors in export credit transactions. In this case GIC was the lead contractor who set up an African supply chain to implement it,” Investec says in its awards submission.
Supporting the world’s newest nation’s export strategy
- Deal name: Government of South Sudan
- Borrower: Government of South Sudan
- Amount: US$400mn
- Lender: African Export-Import Bank
- Law firm: Hogan Lovells
- Tenor: 4 years
- Date signed: October 2019
Having signed a peace deal in 2018 following five years of civil conflict, the Republic of South Sudan is now prioritising the expansion of its trade and inward investment flows in a bid to revive its economy.
The world’s youngest nation, independent since 2011, has overwhelming endowments in oil, which account for 95% of export earnings. It is also strong in non-oil sectors, including around 16 mineral deposits such as gold and iron ore – although mining operations have yet to commence – as well as gum arabic, of which it produces 10% of global output. It also has great prospects for the growth of agriculture owing to abundant arable land around the Nile basin.
In this winning deal, the government of South Sudan, which to date has received little financial intermediation, turned to the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to assist with a broad-based facility that would, among other things, provide financing for urgent infrastructure maintenance as well as development.
The bank provided the government with an amortising US$400mn resource-backed term loan in support of various infrastructure projects to accelerate diversification of the country’s economy. The financing was availed against future receivables of crude oil exports. Afreximbank offshored its risk through assignment agreements entered into with international offtakers who pay through letters of credit issued by international banks.
“The objectives of the facility are to help create an enabling environment for expansion of trade and investment and accelerate export diversification through the exploitation of non-oil sectors, all of which will build confidence as well as support sustainable development in the country,” says Kanayo Awani, managing director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative.
She explains that immediate attention will be turned to financing the completion of an international airport. Also earmarked for the financing are key roads linking the country to its regional trading neighbours, as well as the development of a solar and battery power plant. “Drawdowns are ongoing. Most of the projects required significant downpayments for contractors or service providers to mobilise,” explains Awani.
Voltron proves interoperability potential
- Deal name: Landmark Group
- Borrower: Landmark Group
- Issuing bank: HSBC
- Lender: HSBC UAE
- Date signed: June 2019
Interoperability between blockchain platforms has long been a concern for banks and other players in trade finance, who worry that they may pump money into an initiative, only to find out that it can’t link up with other platforms.
This winning deal saw HSBC and the UAE-based retail conglomerate Landmark Group build a blockchain-based supply chain platform called ReChainME, before carrying out two live pilots that connected it with the Voltron blockchain initiative.
It was the first time that Voltron – which has since rebranded as Contour and was run by a group of eight banks, including HSBC, at the time – connected with another blockchain platform and demonstrated its potential for interoperability.
HSBC issued a letter of credit (LC) on Voltron for the shipment of goods from manufacturer Bee Dee in Hong Kong to Babyshop, Landmark Group’s family retail brand in the UAE. By interoperating with ReChainME, data and documents were exchanged seamlessly.
HSBC says that the use of blockchain meant that less paper was used, but also led to a 40% reduction in the overall transaction time. Meanwhile associated costs were cut through the convergence of the financial and physical supply chains.
Speaking to GTR about the transaction at the time it was signed, Sunil Veetil, HSBC’s regional head of trade for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, said: “We have the problem that there are many blockchain platforms now and they are not interoperable, so it is creating digital islands. It has raised the question of how they are going to talk to each other. What we proved here is that not only could we link the physical and financial aspects of the supply chain, but also create the technical link between separate platforms.”
Swiss ECA backs first waste-to-energy plant in Istanbul
- Deal name: Municipality of Istanbul waste-to-energy plant
- Borrower: Municipality of Istanbul
- Amount: €318mn
- Mandated lead arranger: BNP Paribas, Black Sea Trade Development Bank, Société Générale
- Lenders: BNP Paribas, Black Sea Trade Development Bank, Société Générale
- Law firm: Baker McKenzie
- Tenor: 13 years (Serv-covered loan) and 7 years (tied commercial loan)
- Date signed: November 2019
While waste-to-energy plants aren’t classed as wholly renewable, facilities which burn non-recyclable waste to create power are generally perceived as being more environmentally friendly than simply sending the rubbish to landfill.
In theory, waste-to-energy plants should produce lower CO2 emissions while also contributing to the circular economy.
In this winning export finance deal, in which the municipality of Istanbul borrowed €318mn to build such a plant, the size and location of the project stood out.
According to the deal submission, this will be the first waste-to-energy plant in the city and will be the biggest in Europe, with Swiss industrial and engineering corporation Hitachi Zosen Inova AG, which is helping construct the facility, telling GTR that the plant will process 1 million tonnes of waste a year when it gets going in 2021. It says this will be more than any other facility of its kind on the continent.
This was also the first transaction the Swiss export credit agency (ECA) Serv had signed with the Istanbul municipality, in what was an election year in the city.
BNP Paribas and Société Générale provided €198mn as part of the Serv-covered facility, with the ECA supplying support via 95% political and commercial risk cover. BNP Paribas and Société Générale acted as mandated lead arrangers, and BNP Paribas as Serv facility agent.
In a separate commercial facility, Société Générale acted as the agent, providing €80mn alongside BNP Paribas and the Black Sea Trade Development Bank providing a parallel €40mn loan.
The structure of the deal, meanwhile, will see the municipality of Istanbul reimbursed based on the invoices already paid to the business partnership of Mak-Yol and Hitachi, the two firms chosen to build the plant.
Shoring up finance for coffee farmers
- Deal name: NKG smallholder finance
- Borrower: Neumann Kaffee Groupe (NKG)
- Amount: US$25mn
- Mandated lead arranger, facility agent and structuring bank: ABN Amro
- Lenders: BNP Paribas, Rabobank
- Insurers: IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative, USAID
- Law firm: Clifford Chance
- Tenor: Up to 10 years
- Date signed: July 8, 2019
Smallholder farmers in emerging markets continue to struggle to access finance. This 10-year US$25mn revolving credit facility will provide loans through coffee service group Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) to smallholder coffee farmers most in need.
NKG will provide loans via the NKG Bloom initiative to its local entities, which will then on-lend to coffee farmers and co-operatives in emerging markets including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, to finance their coffee operations and provide fertiliser, education and technology.
ABN Amro structured the facility and acted as the mandated lead arranger and, alongside BNP Paribas and Rabobank, will provide funding. The partner banks will share the risks on farmer defaults, with the facility further supported by two default guarantees by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative.
On an annual basis, and based on a representative sample of borrowers, NKG will report to financiers and investors on the impact per country of its loans and investments from a social and environmental perspective.
The NKG Bloom initiative is designed to address poverty in coffee communities and hopes to reach 300,000 coffee families in 10 major coffee producing countries by 2030.
“It’s time to shift the conversation on sustainable coffee: from a demand-led overemphasis on compliance aspects, towards a farmer-centric perspective of solving poverty at farm level,” reads the awards submission, adding that: “The smallholder livelihoods facility enables us to bring the power of the global financial markets – long the missing piece – to smallholder coffee farmers.”
Trio of hospitals for Oman
- Deal name: Oman Ministry of Finance hospitals
- Borrower: Ministry of Finance, Oman
- Amount: US$873.7mn
- Global co-ordinating banks, joint structuring banks and bookrunners: Crédit Agricole CIB, Standard Chartered
- Mandated lead arrangers: Crédit Agricole CIB (documentation bank), MUFG (agent bank), Natixis, Société Générale, Standard Chartered
- ECA: UK Export Finance
- Law firms: Baker McKenzie; White & Case
- Tenor: 14 years (UKEF-supported loans), 5 years (commercial loans)
- Date signed: February 15, 2019
The construction of three hospitals in the Salalah, Khasab and Suwaiq regions in Oman are a “top priority” for the country and will provide intensive care, emergency services and specialist baby care to the sultanate’s citizens.
Three UK Export Finance-supported buyer credits (one for each hospital), combined with both bank and UKEF lending together with three associated commercial loans, have been made available to the Omani government to finance the project.
The complex cross-border financing structure is made up of US$700.5mn in UKEF-supported facilities, while the three tied commercial loans total US$173.2mn.
International Hospitals Group (IHG), an international healthcare services company based in the UK, will provide equipment from the UK supply chain for all three hospitals, while Omani sub-contractor Al Tafnim Enterprises will construct and commission them.
All hospitals will be built in compliance with UK NHS standards – a prerequisite of the Sultanate.
The hospitals are the first to be constructed with export finance support in the region and on such a scale and required “intensive co-ordination of six separate financing facilities”, reads the submission. “The financing covers the construction of three hospitals in the Sultanate which serve significant objectives as they will provide high quality diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitation services for different medical cases in three governorates,” it adds.
SCF backing for Ørsted’s wind farm expansion
- Deal name: Ørsted Wind Power
- Borrower: Ørsted Wind Power AS
- Amount: DKr5bn (peak exposure)
- Lender: NatWest
- Law firm: Norton Rose Fulbright
- Tenor: Revolving (180 days maximum receivable tenor)
- Date signed: January 2019
In the past decade the Danish energy company Ørsted has gone green, moving away from oil and gas and investing big in renewables instead.
But the undertaking of major offshore and onshore wind projects in Europe, the US and Taiwan has posed challenges on the financing front.
In this winning supply chain finance deal, NatWest provided Ørsted with a tailored DKr5bn facility to help address some of these issues.
Suppliers of turbine parts to Ørsted – which might otherwise struggle to get access to financing – were able to get a “low-cost working capital solution” through the programme, for instance. Designed to be off balance sheet, the facility worked to help Ørsted expand its global wind farms operations as well.
The deal also sought to address the large swings in funding requirements caused by the cycle of projects closing and new ones beginning, and was created with a mix of funded and unfunded risk distribution techniques, with both the traditional bank and credit risk insurance (CRI) markets providing liquidity and underwriting capacity.
Meanwhile Rabobank joined the programme under a funded risk participation structure with a DKr400mn hold.
The deal submission reads: “CRI was also used to underwrite short-term peaks in exposure, enabling NatWest to maximise credit capacity, and by using a CRR-compliant policy, the bank could reduce overall capital requirements for the transaction, thereby keeping the cost of financing attractive.”
Formerly known as Danish Oil & Natural Gas (Dong Energy), Ørsted has ditched fossil fuel investments and invested DKr165bn in renewables in recent years, with the firm’s 2019 ESG performance report showing that as of last year it had upped its green energy share to 86%.
As well as offshore and onshore windfarms, Ørsted develops, constructs and operates bioenergy plants, solar farms, energy storage facilities and provides energy products for its customers.
Digging deep with blockchain-enabled multi-tier SCF
- Deal name: Rong-E Lian
- Borrower: Rong-E Lian
- Amount: Rmb300mn
- Lender: DBS Bank
- Tenor: Up to 12 months
- Date signed: August 20, 2019
Enabling upstream suppliers, which are often SMEs that only have access to trade finance at higher rates or sometimes not at all, is a consistent challenge for complex supply chains.
DBS Bank has developed a blockchain-based supply chain management platform named Rong-E Lian, in partnership with a Chinese logistics firm, to help SMEs beyond the first and second tiers of supply chains get faster access to trade finance.
Rong-E Lian offers multi-tier financing solutions to more than 1,000 suppliers in the logistics firm’s supply chain, allowing users to manage orders, shipments and payments, and connect with banks for financing solutions.
The technology means the credentials of a supplier can be verified within seconds and, once these are verified, banks are able to offer digital trade financing services to upstream suppliers within 24 hours.
By recording users’ activity and transactions, the technology allows transparency throughout the entire supply chain. This transparency also serves as an added safeguard against potential data manipulation.
“The blockchain platform is integrated with DBS’ digital onboarding service, which requires facial biometric authentication when a supplier logs onto Rong-E Lian,” says Ginger Cheng, head of large and mid-cap corporates, institutional banking group at DBS Bank. “In addition, the blockchain platform is also integrated with various China government databases to further validate and verify the authenticity of the transactions made by suppliers in the ecosystem.”
Argentina gets mobile network upgrade despite economic turmoil
- Deal name: Telecom Argentina
- Borrower: Telecom Argentina SA
- Amount: US$96mn
- Mandated lead arrangers: Banco Santander, JP Morgan
- Lender: Finnish Export Credit
- ECA: Finnvera
- Tenor: 8 years
- Date signed: May 2019
Argentina in 2019 was not an easy place to do business. GTR has awarded this winning deal for overcoming economic turmoil and political upheaval in order to secure cross-border support for a major digital infrastructure project.
The financing, a US$96mn unsecured credit line, is provided to Telecom Argentina SA – known locally as Telecom – to support its expansion of the country’s 4G mobile network and the conversion of copper wiring to high-speed fibre optic cable. The equipment needed is being supplied by Finland-headquartered mobile technology giant Nokia.
The transaction is 95% guaranteed by Finland’s state-owned financing company Finnvera, and the lender is Finnish Export Credit (FEC), a Finnvera subsidiary.
JP Morgan, mandated lead arranger along with Banco Santander, says in its awards submission that the deal will allow Telecom to match its cash outflows with the useful life of the underlying equipment, adding that it is the first ever Finnvera-backed deal supporting the export of Nokia equipment into Argentina.
JP Morgan and Banco Santander acted as initial lenders before transferring all rights and obligations to FEC once the transaction was closed in May.
The deal took place against a difficult backdrop. Argentina’s October general election resulted in Alberto Fernández ousting Mauricio Macri as president, following widespread dissatisfaction at Macri’s attempts to drag Argentina out of a deep recession and slow the rate of inflation.
Relaxation of currency controls was one of Macri’s flagship policies upon his election in 2015, amid promises of a business-friendly government, but they were reinstated in September 2019 with the country on the brink of default.
The previous year, Argentina had been granted an IMF loan of US$57bn – its largest ever – which also came with strict conditions including an immediate elimination of the country’s deficit.
“JP Morgan and Santander were able to arrange a facility that would allow Telecom to benefit from competitive funding despite headwinds in the Argentine market,” the awards submission says.
Wind farm projects a leap forward for Taiwan’s green energy overhaul
Taiwan is forging ahead with ambitious plans to overhaul its energy production. The government plans to ditch nuclear power and go green, setting a target for 20% of the island’s energy production to come from renewable sources by 2025.
However, construction of the vast number of offshore turbines required is a challenge, with officials acknowledging that international support is needed. Chung-Hsien Chen, director of the electricity division of Taiwan’s Bureau of Energy, says domestic institutions “lack the necessary technology, capital and licensed experts for maintenance” to go it alone.
“The threshold is too high for indigenous companies, and local banks have no experience in offering loans of this magnitude for energy investment,” he adds.
That has opened the door to international investors, starting with a 2018 syndicated loan deal for the construction of Formosa 1, Taiwan’s first commercial-scale wind farm. The following year saw the emergence of two even larger offshore wind farm projects, both of which break new ground bringing together dozens of international and local banks, law firms and export credit agencies (ECAs).
The Yunlin Project
- Deal name: The Yunlin Project
- Borrower: Yunneng Wind Power Co.
- Amount: US$2.75bn
- Mandated lead arrangers, underwriters and bookrunners: Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, Mizuho, SMBC, Standard Chartered, Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank
- Lenders: BNP Paribas (Taipei), Cathay United, Commerzbank, CTBC Bank, DBS Bank (Taiwan), E.Sun, ING, KfW Ipex-Bank, MUFG Bank, Natixis (Taipei), Siemens Bank (Singapore), Société Générale (Taipei)
- ECAs: Atradius, EKF, Euler Hermes
- Law firms: Blanke Meier Evers; Linklaters; Lee & Li (all acting for sponsor); Tsar & Tsai; White & Case (both acting for lenders)
- Tenor: 18 years
- Date signed: May 2019
This winning deal involves a TN$85.5bn (US$2.75bn) loan to support the development of a new offshore wind farm. Built 8km off the west coast of Taiwan, the Yunlin Project is expected to supply the island with 640MW of renewable energy. It is scheduled to become operational by the end of 2021.
The borrower – a special purpose vehicle, Yunneng Wind Power Co. – is 73% owned by German energy firm wpd and 27% by a consortium of Japanese power companies. The wind farm is expected to provide electricity to more than 450,000 homes while offsetting nearly 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
The deal brings together a total of 15 international banks and four local banks. SMBC acted as financial advisor and Deutsche Bank as sole hedge co-ordinator for the transaction. Both banks were also joint underwriters, bookrunners and mandated lead arrangers, along with Crédit Agricole, Mizuho, Standard Chartered and Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank.
The other lenders were BNP Paribas, Cathay United, Commerzbank, CTBC Bank, DBS Bank, E.Sun, ING, KfW Ipex-Bank, MUFG Bank, Natixis, Siemens Bank (Singapore branch) and Société Générale.
Linklaters, Blanke Meier Evers and Lee & Li act as the sponsor’s international legal advisor, German legal advisor and local legal council respectively. White & Case and Tsar & Tsai act as legal advisor and local legal counsel to the lenders. ECA support comes from Atradius, EKF and Euler Hermes.
Describing the deal as a “landmark transaction”, Deutsche Bank says measures it took to mitigate exchange rate risk include “the largest deal contingent interest rate swap solution ever offered by a bank globally”.
- Deal name: Formosa 2
- Borrower: Formosa 2
- Amount: US$2.1bn
- Financial advisor: Société Générale
- Mandated leader arrangers: ANZ, BNP Paribas, Cathay United Bank, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole, DBS, Entie Commercial Bank, E.Sun, HSBC, ING, KGI Bank, MUFG Bank, Natixis, OCBC, Siemens Bank, Société Générale (financial advisor), Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank, Taiwan Life
- ECAs: Credendo, EKF, K-sure, UK Export Finance
- Law firms: Clifford Chance (sponsors); Linklaters (lenders)
- Tenor: 18 years
- Date signed: October 2019
GTR has awarded this winning deal for supporting another major renewable energy project.
Constructed in the Taiwan Strait west of the island, the Formosa 2 wind farm is expected to provide 376MW of energy to 380,000 households per year – making it the largest in the region. The total loan is TN$62.4bn (US$2.1bn), with a tenor of 18 years.
Bringing together a syndicate group of 20 banks and four ECAs, Société Générale says the deal “sets a new record for the number of financial institutions and export credit agencies mobilised in a single transaction”.
Société Générale acts as financial advisor and a mandated lead arranger to the transaction.
NT$9.2bn (£230mn) of the loan was provided by UK Export Finance (UKEF), supporting British businesses involved in the product. Its project financing had to be put in place quickly and in Taiwanese new dollars, which UKEF says “demonstrates that project risk appetite in local currency is no barrier to UK support”.
Formosa 2 itself is 75% owned by Macquarie Capital and 25% by Swancor Renewable Energy, the two firms that were also behind Formosa 1. 49% equity interest will be sold to Japanese utility company JERA upon completion of the transaction.
The other ECAs providing support are Denmark’s EKF, South Korea’s K-sure and Belgium’s Credendo. The sponsor’s legal advisors are Clifford Chance and the lenders’ legal advisors are Linklaters; insurance and technical advice are provided by Benatar & Co and Wood Group respectively.