(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 18th December, 2018 (WAM) -- The owners of the 402-megawatt (MW) Dudgeon wind farm in Britain's North Sea, Masdar, Equinor and China Resources Group, have announced the signing of a hybrid refinancing that includes approximately GBP561 million (AED 2.6 billion) of commercial bank debt and GBP706 million (AED 3.275 billion) of senior secured notes privately placed with institutional investors, finally maturing in 2032.
Both tranches have been oversubscribed, underpinning strong investor interest. Financial close is expected next week. The original financing for Dudgeon was successfully closed in May 2016.
The total refinanced debt consists of approximately GBP1.27 billion (AED 5.89 billion) in fully-amortising senior-term loans. Both tranches were oversubscribed, reflecting strong credit features and investor interest. The commercial tranche will be fixed upon the financial close of the transaction and execution of interest rate hedging.
The notes have been publicly rated A- by Fitch (EXP), which reflects Dudgeon's efficient operations and robust asset performance. The financing also includes approximately GBP150 million (AED 696 million) in ancillary facilities provided via commercial bank commitments.
The Mandated Lead Arrangers were BNP Paribas Fortis S.A./N.V.; DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited; DNB Bank ASA; MUFG Bank, Ltd; Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB; Societe Generale London Branch; Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, London Branch; and The Norinchukin Bank.
Dudgeon is developed and operated by Equinor (35%), formerly known as Statoil; Abu Dhabi's Masdar (35%); and Chinese conglomerate - China Resources Group (30%).
Dudgeon started operations, as scheduled, in October 2017. It was one of the first UK offshore wind projects to be awarded an investment contract under the UK government's ‘Contract for Difference' (CfD) scheme, in May 2014, and the first CfD offshore wind project to obtain financing, in May 2016.
"Dudgeon is a unique project with strong operational performance," said Beate Myking, Chair and Director of Dudgeon Offshore Wind Limited. "The excellent collaboration with our partners and advisors has enabled the successful refinancing. The A- (EXP) credit rating and investors' keen interest further underpins the market confidence in Dudgeon and is strong evidence of Equinor's competence and capacity to successfully develop and operate offshore windfarms."
The Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm is located 32 kilometres off the Norfolk coast. It produces 1.7 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity annually, the combined output of 67 wind turbines, sufficient to power an estimated 410,000 UK homes and displace 893,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
"Our congratulations to all the parties involved in the successful refinancing of this iconic wind energy asset," said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, the Chief Executive Officer of Masdar. "This reconfirms the strong bankability of Dudgeon and further reflects the market appetite for large-scale assets which have a robust credit profile, transparent economics and are subject to stable regulatory environments. It also demonstrates our own commitment at Masdar to the United Kingdom's renewable energy sector. The combined capacity of the UK wind energy projects in which we are partner today exceeds 1 gigawatts, enough clean energy to supply nearly 1 million homes."
WAM/Esraa Ismail/MOHD AAMIR