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13 June 2019

Perfect 10 winners 2018: Export finance

Managing Editor
This year's winners of the TXF Perfect 10 Export Finance Deals of the Year beat a lot of worthy contenders. Read on to find out why...

From large-scale multisourced financings in the renewables sector in Europe, to a 4G network expansion across India, and an inaugural sustainability-linked deal in the Ivory Coast for a water supply plant, TXF’s Perfect 10 Deals of the Year comprise only landmark financings within the export finance community in 2018.

Half of TXF’s Perfect 10 Deals of the Year 2018 took place in the oil and gas sector, with several viable financing templates emerging for both serial and debut ECA-backed borrowers from around the world.

But the most prevalent theme across last year’s award winning deals was the record-low pricing under the ECA debt portions, with margins ranging from 70bp to 300bp, and even as low as 82bp all-in. This was good news for ECA-backed borrowers as such low pricing has firmly placed ECA finance as an attractive instrument in their financial toolkit. But with ECA premiums often expected to be paid upfront for the maturity of large project loans, ECA tranches were in some cases cut bank by sponsors, especially when the uncovered tranches came in cheaper. 

Please download TXF's Perfect 10 2018 report in pdf form here.

Overall ECA finance Deal of the Year: DUQM refinery

Despite an uncertain economic backdrop, sponsors of the DUQM refinery forged the first venture of its kind and successfully closed the largest project financing in the EMEA region in 2018 as well as the largest ever project financing in the Sultanate of Oman. The project marks an important milestone in the diversification of Oman’s economy. 

Sponsors: Oman Oil, Kuwait Petroleum International

Debt: $4.61 billion

Tenor: 17 years

Pricing: CESCE tranche 150bp, UKEF tranche 100bp, Commercial bank tranche 225bp

Financial close: 1 November 2018



MLAs: BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, KfW IPEX, MUFG, Natixis, Santander, Societe Generale

Financial advisor: Credit Agricole, Greengate 

Banks: Ahli Bank Oman, Ahli United Bank, Apicorp, Banca IMI, Bank Dhofar,  Bank Muscat, Bank Sohar,  Boubyan Bank, Commercial Bank Of Kuwait (CBK),  ICBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Korea Development Bank (KDB), Kuwait Finance House, National Bank of Kuwait, National Bank of Oman,  Qatar National Bank ( QNB Group ), Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC),  UBI Banca - Unione di Banche Italiane, Warba Bank

Legal (borrower): Allen & Overy

Legal (lender): Latham & Watkins


Best Middle East ECA-backed Deal of the Year: MIDOR oil refinery

Aimed at reducing Egypt’s dependency on refined oil products the project pushed through adversity to achieve a sovereign guarantee from the Egyptian ministry of finance. Its success marks the harmonisation of two nations.

Sponsor: Middle East Oil Refinery Company (MIDOR)

Exporter: Technip Italy

Debt: $1.2 billion

Tenor: 13.6 years

Pricing: 508bp

Financial close: 14 October 2018


MLAs: BNP Paribas Fortis, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Credit Agricole

Financial advisor: National Bank of Egypt, First Abu Dhabi Bank 

Legal (borrower and guarantor): Dechert; Zaki Hashem & Partners

Legal (lender, SACE and SIMEST): Shalakany; Shearman & Sterling


Best ECA-backed Oil and Gas Deal of the Year: TAP

The largest project financing for European infrastructure in 2018 and an important string in the bow of the wider Southern Gas Corridor scheme. The TAP project will offer a new source of competitively priced gas marking a key shift away from Russian oil and gas dependence.

Sponsors: BP, SOCAR, Statoil, Fluxys, Total, E.ON, Axpo

Debt: $4.25 billion

Tenor: 16.6 years

Financial close: 7 December 2018

ECAs: Bpifrance, Euler Hermes, SACE


Financial advisor: Societe Generale 

Banks: Bank of China, BNP Paribas, CaixaBank, Credit Agricole, Helaba, ING Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Korea Development Bank (KDB), Mizuho, MUFG, Natixis, Siemens Bank, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered, SMBC, UBI Banca - Unione di Banche Italiane, UniCredit

Legal (borrower): Allen & Overy

Legal (lender): Clifford Chance


Best European/Eurasian ECA backed Deal of the Year: Lukoil Overseas Uzbekistan

The first transaction in which South Korean ECA K-sure provided direct support to a Russian sponsor, the pathfinder deal enabled Lukoil to tap into the Asian financial market as well as opening up future opportunities for Korean exporters.

Sponsor: Lukoil Overseas Uzbekistan

Exporter: Hyundai Engineering

Debt: $660 million

Tenor:  11 years

Financial close: 19 April 2018

ECAs: K-Sure

Banks: Deutsche Bank, ING, UniCredit

Legal (borrower): Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

Legal (lender): Allen & Overy


Best Americas ECA finance Deal of the Year: PetroPeru Talara refinery

Despite a period of political uncertainty both in Peru and Spain, PetroPeru’s Talara refinery expansion closed the largest ECA financing in Peru’s history. The record-breaking financing was also the largest transaction ever covered by Spain’s CESCE.

Borrower: PetroPeru

Debt: $1.3 billion

Tenor:  13 years

Pricing: 270bp

Financial close: 31 January 2018


MLAs: BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citi, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan, Santander

Legal (borrower): Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Legal (lender): Allen & Overy


Best ECA-backed African Deal of the Year: Senelec

From ironing out internal legal procedures for smoother public sector procurement, to sealing a landmark deal for Senegal’s energy transportation and distribution network expansion, state-owned Societe d'Electricite du Senegal's (Senelec) debut ECA-backed loan in 2018 – a €220 million ($247 million) Bpifrance-backed buyer’s credit facility – has provided a viable financing template for future Senegalese projects.

Borrower: Senelec

Debt: €220 million ($247 million)

Tenor:  12 years

Pricing: 204bp fixed rate

Financial close: 31 January 2018

ECAs: Bpifrance

Exporters: Vinci Energies; Cegelec Maroc

MLAs: Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie du Sénégal Société Anonyme (BICIS), BNP Paribas, Bpifrance Financement, and Credit Agricole CIB

Legal advisors: Hogan Lovells; Mame Adama Gueye & Associes (MAGA)


Best Asia-Pacific ECA finance Deal of the Year: VinFast

Vietnam witnessed its inaugural ECA-backed corporate deal in 2018 after automotive start-up, VinFast, made a strongly priced debut in the ECA market.

Sponsor: VinFast

Debt: $950 million ECA-backed buyer’s credit facility

Tenor:  12 years

Pricing: 75bp excluding Hermes premium

Financial close: 25 September 2018

ECA: Euler Hermes

Lead arranger: LBBW

MLAs: HSBC, Credit Suisse

Legal (borrower): Norton Rose Fulbright

Legal (lenders): Allen & Overy


Best ECA Telecoms Deal of the Year: Reliance Jio Infocomm

Reliance Jio Infocomm drew on its strong relationship with K-sure to close a tightly priced $1 billion ECA-backed loan in under three months to fund its expansion of a pan-India 4G network.

Borrower: Reliance Jio Infocomm

Exporters: Samsung Electronics; Ace Technologies

Debt: $750 million

Tenor:  12 years

Pricing: 82bp all-in

Financial close: 22 June 2018

ECAs: K-sure

Facility agent: HSBC

MLAs: ANZ, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, HSBC, ING Bank, JP Morgan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Mizuho, Nonghyup Bank, Santander, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

Legal advisors(s):  Bae, Kim & Lee; Baker & McKenzie; Juriscorp; Milbank,Tweed, Hadley & McCloy


Best Sustainable ECA-backed Deal of the Year: MoEF Ivory Coast

Winning TXF’s Best Sustainable ECA-backed deal of the year award, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MoEF) of the Republic of Ivory Coast sealed a sustainability-linked DFI/ECA-backed facility for a water supply plant in Abidjan, the first such deal in the West African country.

Borrower: Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Ivory Coast

Contractors: PFO Africa; Veolia Africa

Debt: €253 million ($280 million)

Tenor:  3, 7, and 12 year tranches

Financial close: 18 December 2018

ECA/DFIs: Bpifrance A.E and West African Development Bank

Facility agent: Societe Generale

MLAs: Bpifrance and Societe Generale 

Legal advisors (lenders): Herbert Smith Freehills


Best ECA-backed Renewables Deal of the Year: Hornsea 1

TXF’s Best ECA-backed Renewables Deal of the Year, Global Infrastructure Partners' (GIP) EKF-backed acquisition loan for a stake in the Hornsea 1 offshore wind project in the UK, has introduced a new asset class to institutional investors – with significant construction risk.

Borrower: Global Infrastructure Partners

Debt: £3.6 billion ($4.6 billion)

Tenor:  17-year-six-month

Financial close: 26 November 2018


Financial advisor: Citi 

Facility agents: RBS/Natwest, IFC, Proparco

MLAs: ABN AMRO, Banca IMI, Barings, BNP Paribas Fortis, Citi, Credit Agricole CIB, ING Bank, KfW IPEX-Bank, Legal & General Investment Management, Lloyds Bank, M&G Investments, Macquarie Capital , Mizuho, MUFG Bank, NatWest, Pension Insurance Corporation, PFA (Pension Forsikrings Aktieselskab), Santander, Scottish Widows, Siemens Bank, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Sun Life Investment Management, TD Asset Management, The Norinchukin Bank, Vantage Infrastructure, Westbourne

Legal advisors: Allen & Overy; Slaughter & May; Watson, Farley & Williams and Clifford Chance


Now time to get up to speed on the markets.
 our exclusive TXF Essentials subscriber content

Guinea mining: DFI/ECA-backed loan boosts bauxite mine project
DFI loans and a direct loan from Canada’s EDC have enabled commercial banks to push the tenor on Guinea Alumina Corporation’s greenfield mining project financing.

Expert briefing: I just don’t see it folks! Why blockchain consortia may be wrong on trade
Markus (Maex) Ament is at odds with the private/permissioned route that most blockchain consortia are taking to blockchain in general, and trade and supply chains in particular. He explains how they may be repeating the same mistakes made by the early internet and potentially creating bigger, not smaller, silos.

A tastier dish for investors in trade assets: Will HSBC and AllianzGI make for a better spread?
When the self-styled biggest global provider of trade finance teams up with a large European asset manager to wrap European trade finance assets and lend to institutional investors, it should be a winning combination. But how can HSBC and Allianz Global Investors avoid the pitfalls of the past? TXF spoke to HSBC’s Surath Sengupta and AllianzGI’s David Newman to find out.

Shop talk: East African geothermal picks up steam
Geothermal power projects in East Africa have been gaining traction after a handful of heavily DFI-backed projects reached financial close. TXF spoke with Darrell Boyd, CEO at TM Geothermal, to discuss the region’s growing pipeline of projects, and why ECAs are yet to join the funding mix.

Plus, to top things off...

the news you thought you had but didn't 

Senelec to close ECA-backed deal imminently
Senegalese state-owned electricity utility Senelec is expected to reach full financial close this month on an approximately €100 million ($111 million) Bpifrance-backed facility to finance the expansion of the African country’s electricity grid.

Asahan 1 hydro refinancing gains commitments
Bajradaya Sentranusa (BDSN) – a joint venture between Fareast Green Energy, IFC, Pembangkitan Jawa Bali (PJB) and RH International – has received commitments from existing lenders for the refinancing of its 180MW Asahan 1 hydro project in Indonesia.

RFPs to launch for Egypt's $1.9bn Assuit oil refinery
Assuit Oil Refining Company (AORC), a subsidiary of state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, is expected to launch request for proposals (RFPs) to prospective lenders this month to finance the $1.9 billion Assuit oil refinery expansion project in Egypt. Bank mandates are targeted for H2 2020.

Formosa 2 out to banks for indicative pricing
Potential lenders to the 376MW Formosa 2 offshore wind project in Taiwan have until mid-June to respond to a request for indicative pricing and commitment sizes from deal coordinator Societe Generale.

Auramet reprises 2018 RCF debut
Metals trader and boutique financing house Auramet Trading and Auramet International have closed a $190 million one-year syndicated revolving credit facility – an upsizing and renewal of the $185 million on-year debut RCF they closed last year.

Ital Gas Storage refinancing out to lenders
The 1.3 billion cubic metre Ital Gas Storage project in Italy – sponsored by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure (93%) and Whysol Investments (7%), and with financial advisory from Arcus – is said to be out to banks for an amend-and-extend on the pricing and tenor of up to €1 billion of its original project debt.

EPH refinances Italian biomass portfolio
Czech integrated energy utility EPH has closed a €130 million ($146 million) debt facility for its Italian biomass portfolio.

New Zealand wind farm to sound out banks
Joint sponsors of a 16MW wind farm to power a hydrogen-production plant in New Zealand – Hiringa Energy and Ballance Argi-Nutrients – are in the process of sounding out banks to fund the scheme.

Jordan to select bidders for 50MW wind tender imminently
Jordan’s Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources is close to selecting the preferred bidders for a 50MW wind tender under its round three renewables programme.

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