White & Case LLP has advised the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a bank consortium on the €1 billion financing to support the development and construction of Aquila Clean Energy’s renewable energy pipeline in Spain and Portugal over the next three years.
White & Case partner Florian Degenhardt, who led the Firm’s deal team, said: “This landmark built-to-sell construction financing is the first of its kind and includes one of the biggest loans ever granted by the EIB under a project finance structure. It sets a new benchmark to support Europe`s energy transition.”
The short-term construction financing breaks new ground for the EIB, which previously mainly acted as a long-term lender in the infrastructure sector. It was made possible because of an EU budget guarantee under the InvestEU programme, which enables the EIB to increase its risk-taking capacity and assume electricity merchant risk under a non-recourse financing structure. The green loans are aligned with the EU’s renewable energy targets and support Spain and Portugal in meeting their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the objectives of the European Green Deal.
The financing consists of €400 million credit from the EIB and €600 million from the consortium of commercial banks. For the total project cost of over €2 billion, the remaining amount comes from funds managed by Aquila Capital and from its capital.
For the construction facility, Santander acted as the Facility and Security Agent. NatWest acted as Documentation Agent and KfW IPEX-Bank as Hedging Documentation Agent. BNP Paribas, ING, Intesa SanPaolo Luxembourg and Banco Sabadell further supported the facility. Glas SAS in Frankfurt acted as Administration Agent.
The pipeline consists of more than 50 projects of predominately solar photovoltaics (PV) and onshore wind assets with a total electricity generation capacity of 2.6 gigawatts (GW), a volume equivalent to the annual consumption of around 1.4 million households. These projects will have an estimated yield of 5.3 terawatt-hours per year.
White & Case team advising on the transaction was led by partner Florian Degenhardt (Hamburg) and included partners Fernando Navarro and Yoko Takagi (both Madrid), local partner Matthias Grigoleit (Hamburg), counsel Beate Treibmann (Hamburg) and associates Martin Riederer, Dana Masberg, Robert Bente (all Hamburg), Alfonso Garcia Freire, Diego Hernandez-Sampelayo Lara, Gracia Truan and Rafael Minguez Velasco (all Madrid).