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03 June 2020

Perfect 10 winners 2019: 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...

Size matters - but innovation, strong marketing and a willingness to take on risk are the key traits that this year's winners of the TXF Perfect 10 Export Finance Deals of the Year all share.

From large-scale projects financings in the renewables sector in Taiwan and Europe to a 4G network expansion across India, ECAs propelled the offshore wind funding mix, set new benchmarks in direct lending for Chilean projects, and proved key to getting multisourced project finance transactions over the financial line.

There were several viable financing templates to emerge 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 some of the ECA debt portions. This was good news for project sponsors and borrowers as such low pricing confirms ECA finance as a key, and attractive instrument in their financial toolkits. 

So without further adieu, here are this year’s deal of the year winners…

Overall ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award

Winning TXF’s Overall ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award, the 640MW Yunlin offshore wind project financing in 2019 provided a deal template for Taiwanese large-scale offshore wind projects, helping a nascent sector to enter project finance adolescence.

Borrower: YunNeng Wind Power Company
Sponsors: Wpd and Sojitz Corp
Debt volume: NT$85.48 billion (NT$39 billion ECA-backed/NT$46 billion uncovered), with an 18-year tenor
Closed: 30 May 2019
Pricing: 80bp - 115bp (ECA element)/240bp over Tibor (commercial portion)
EPCs: SGRE, Formosa Heavy Industries, Steelwind, CTCI, Smulders, GE, Seaway, Sapura and Jumbo.
ECAs: EKF, Euler Hermes, Atradius
MLAs: SMBC, Mizuho, Taipei Fubon Commercial, Deutsche, Standard Chartered, Credit Agricole (lead documentation bank and facility agent to EKF and KfW) and , BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, DBS, ING, MUFG, Natixis, OCBC, Siemens Bank, Societe Generale, KfW IPEX-Bank, Cathay United Bank, CTBC Bank and E-Sun Commercial Bank
Financial advisers: SMBC (international); E-Sun (local)
Sponsors’ legal counsel: Linklaters (international) and Lee and Li (local)
Lenders’ legal counsel: White & Case
Lenders’ technical/environmental & social advisers: Wood Group (Technical)/ Mott MacDonald (E&S)
ECA advisor: Ernst & Young

Middle Eastern ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award

Taking home TXF’s Middle Eastern ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award is Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), after the state-owned sponsor sealed a tightly priced heavily ECA-backed project financing in May last year to back the expansion of its Sitra oil refinery.

Borrower: Bahrain Petroleum Company
Close date: 9 May 2019
Description: Upgrade to existing refinery, improving energy efficiency and increasing capacity from 267,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 380,000 bpd
Size: $4.2 billion (EPC price)
EPC contractors: TechnipFMC, Samsung Engineering and Tecnicas Reunidas
Debt: $4.1 billion in ECA-covered and uncovered commercial and Islamic facilities, with a 16.5-year tenor
MLAs: Ahli United Bank, Arab Banking Corporation, Apicorp, BNP Paribas, Banque Saudi Fransi, BBK, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, Mashreq Bank, National Bank of Bahrain, Natixis, Riyad Bank, Santander, Societe Generale, and Standard Chartered
Financial advisers: BNP Paribas, HSBC, Verus Partners
Sponsors’ legal advisers: Linklaters (finance), Shearman & Sterling (project)
Lenders’ legal advisers: Allen & Overy (English), Haya Al Khalifa (Bahraini)
Lenders’ technical advisers: Jacobs (independent engineer), ERM (environmental), JLT (insurance), Nexant (market)

Telecoms ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award

Winning TXF’s Telecoms ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award, Reliance Jio Infocomm drew on its strong relationship with K-Sure to close an attractively priced $600 million ECA-backed loan to fund its expansion of its pan-India 4G long term evolution network.

Borrower: Reliance Jio Infocomm
Description: Expansion of the pan-Indian 4G network
Debt volume: $600 million ECA-backed buyer’s credit
Tenor: 11 years
Pricing: 81bp all-in
ECAs: K-Sure, Kexim
ECA Coordinators: ANZ, HSBC
MLAs: ANZ, HSBC, BBVA, Citi, Commerzbank, HSBC, JP Morgan, Santander
Legal (lenders): Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and Juris Corp
Exporter: Samsung Electronics

Russian ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award

Taking home TXF’s Russian ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award, the financing for Gazprom’s Amur gas processing project (GPP) set new tenor and volume benchmarks for both the sponsor and Russian oil and gas. The project will initially deliver gas to China for the conversion of coal-fired plants to gas, thus acting as a carbon reduction facilitator in part of China’s energy transition phase.

Borrower: Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk
Sponsor: Gazprom PJSC
Debt volume: €11.4bn (partially ECA-backed), with a 15 to 17-year tenor
ECAs: Euler Hermes, SACE, EXIAR
ECA Agent: Intesa Sanpaolo (SACE), ING (Hermes), Gazprombank (EXIAR)
Financial advisors: China Development Bank, ING Bank, Gazprombank
Exporters: Linde AG, Marie Technimont, Sinopec
MLAs: MUFG, SMBC (global coordinator), ING, Natixis, DZ Bank, Societe Generale, Credit Suisse, Credit Agricole CIB (security agent), Intesa Sanpaolo (facility agent), UniCredit, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Mizuho, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Bank Otkritie Financial Corporation, Vnesheconombank, Sberbank (facility agent), China Construction Bank Corporation (facility agent), Bank of China, China Development Bank, Banca IMI.
Lenders: Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen, UBI Banca
Financial advisor (lenders): PwC
Legal counsel: Herbert Smith Freehills (borrower), Freshfields (lenders)

Mining ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award

Winning TXF’s Mining ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award, the Quebrada Blanca 2 (QB2) copper mine project financing in Chile raised the benchmark for ECA direct lending on projects in South America, with ECA support coming in off the back of the nationality of the shareholders and offtakers.

Borrower: Compania Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca
Sponsors: Teck Resources, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co, Sumitomo Corporation, Empresa Nacional de Mineria
Debt volume: $2.5 billion
Tenor: 12 years
ECAs: JBIC, EDC, Kexim, Euler Hermes
ECA agents: BNP Paribas, SMBC and KfW IPEX-Bank
MLAs: Bank of Montreal (technical bank), BNP Paribas (global coordinator), ING (modelling bank), KfW IPEX-Bank, Mizuho (offshore collateral agent), MUFG (insurance agent), and SMBC
Lenders’ legal counsel: Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
Sponsors’ legal counsel: Sullivan & Cromwell
Financial adviser (borrower): Rothschild

South American ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award

Winning TXF’s South American ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award, Chilean wood pulp, engineered wood and leading forestry company Arauco has provided a viable financing template with ECA support for the pulp mill project sector globally after closing a Finnvera-backed loan to fund its mill in Chile.

Borrower: Celulosa Arauco y Constitución (Arauco)
Close date: 1 April 2019
Debt volume: $1.6bn (€555m of ECA backed loan/ $1bn of bonds)
Tenor: 11-year-and-six-months
EPCs: Valmet and Andritz
MLAs: BNP Paribas, Santander, JP Morgan
ECA: Finnvera
Legal counsel: Allen & Overy (lenders), Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (borrower)

European ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award

Despite a lengthy deal gestation and a change in project sponsor, the Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind project financing tapped support from EKF to fund the scheme last year to help de-carbonise the UK electricity system, winning TXF’s European ECA-backed Finance Deal of the Year Award.

Borrower: Neart Na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Limited
Debt: £2.286 billion ($2.785 billion)
Close: 29 November 2019
Location: UK
Description: 448MW wind farm 15km off the coast of Scotland in the outer Firth of Forth
Sponsor: EDF Renewables and ESB
EPC Contractor: Deme Offshore
Exporter: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy
Lead arrangers: Santander, Bank of China, Barclay, BNP Paribas, Caixabank, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, CIC, DZ Bank, ING, KfW IPEX, LBBW, Helaba, Lloyds, Mizuho, MUFG, NatWest, Norinchukin Bank, OCBC Bank, Shinsei Bank, Siemens, SEB, Societe Generale, SMBC
Financial advisor: Societe Generale
Sponsor legal counsel: Linklaters
Lender legal counsel: Clifford Chance
Tax & Accounting: Ernst & Young

Renewables ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award

Taking home TXF’s Renewables ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award, the heavily ECA-backed 376MW Formosa 2 project financing in 2019 revealed an increased risk appetite for 100% cover from some ECA-backed local debt portions in the Taiwanese offshore wind sector.

Borrower: Formosa 2 Offshore Wind IPP
Sponsors: Macquarie Capital, JERA, Green Investment Bank and Swancor Renewable Energy
Debt volume: TWD60bn ($1.91bn) or (TWD33.7bn of ECA-backed debt/ TWD25.21bn uncovered)
MLAs: Societe Generale, ANZ, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole (ECA coordinator, lead documentation bank and facility agent to EKF and K-sure), DBS Bank, EnTie Commercial Bank, E.Sun Commercial Bank, Taipei Fubon Bank, HSBC, ING Bank, KGI Bank, Natixis, OCBC, Standard Chartered Bank, SMBC, MUFG, Taiwan Life Insurance, Siemens Bank, Commerzbank, and Cathay United Bank
ECAs: EKF, K-sure, Credendo, UKEF
Legal: Linklaters (lenders), Lee & Li (borrower), Clifford Chance and Tsar & Tsai (for sponsors)
Financial advisor: Societe Generale
ECA coordinator: Ernst & Young/AHB
EPC contractors: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Jan De Nul
Exporters: LS Group, Jan De Nul, Fisher & Sons, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy
Lenders’ insurance advisor: Benatar & Co
Technical advisor: Wood Group
Model auditor: Mazars

Asia-Pacific ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award

Winning TXF’s Asia-Pacific ECA-backed Deal of the Year Award, joint sponsors Petronas and Saudia Aramco almost went out of their way to set a new benchmark in complexity for the heavily ECA-backed financing of the $15.3 billion RAPID oil refinery in Malaysia. The sheer scale of the project financing demanded six ECAs from four countries and 23 commercial banks from around the world.

Borrower: Pengerang Refining Company, Pengerang Petrochemicals Company
Debt: $9.5bn (approximately $5.6bn uncovered/$3.783 ECA-backed)
Close date: 7 April
ECA guarantors: CESCE, Kexim, K-Sure, NEXI and SACE. ECA direct loans: Kexim and JBIC
ECA direct loans: Kexim and JBIC
MLAs: ANZ, BNP Paribas, Bank of China, Citi, Credit Agricole, DZ Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan, MUFG, Mizuho, National Bank of Kuwait, Santander, SMBC and Societe Generale.
Exporters: Samsung Engineering and Samsung C&T; Tecnicas Reunidas
Financial advisor/facility agent: BNP Paribas
Legal (borrower): Shearman & Sterling and White & Case
Legal (lenders):  Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, Christopher & Lee Ong                                                                                                                                                                                         Lenders’ technical adviser: Nexant

Environmental Enhancement ECA-Backed Deal of the Year Award

The Environmental Enhancement ECA-Backed Deal of the Year Award goes to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality €318 million waste to energy conversion project. This landmark project will drastically transform the waste management of the city while also providing a state-of-the-art energy generation plant.

Borrower: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM)
Debt volume: €318 million
Tenor: 13-years (ECA-backed); 7 years (commercial)
MLAs: SG, BNPP, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank
ECA: SERV - covered loan €198 million
Legal: Baker & McKenzie (for lenders)
Exporter: Hitachi Zosen Inova (Switzerland)

TXF Industry Choice Awards: Top Banks and ECAs

TXF's Industry Choice Awards for the top active ECA banks and ECAs are not chosen by TXF, rather they are driven by client feedback via the Industry Choice Awards Survey.

Bank winners: LBBW, Credit Agricole and KfW-IPEX Bank.

ECA winners: EKN, Serv and GIEK 

Now time to get up to speed on the markets.
 our exclusive TXF in depth articles

Export Finance Industry Report 2020
TXF has launched the annual Export Finance Industry Report - the most ambitious and timely to date. The report takes the pulse of the industry during this most challenging time and provides unique insight into who is driving this business forward, what is working, what is not working, and who is going to be best placed to lead the charge for the industry over this critical next 12 months. Download free sample pages here.

Keynote: Caterpillar on spreading the ECA umbrella
TXF spoke with Tim Gaul, global export finance director, export and agency finance at Caterpillar to outline what the reauthorisation of US Exim means for the US exporter, especially given now it can tap other more flexible ECAs - like Serv, UKEF and most recently Sinosure - for support.

Shop talk: Bpifrance ups ECA cover and offering
Arnaud Floris, head of West, Central and North Africa at Bpifrance has been busy since he started his new role two months ago at the French ECA in the midst of a global pandemic. Floris speaks to TXF to discuss Bpifrance's response to the crisis.

Exclusive TXF Tracker and Originals content

Bokor Mountain wind project IPP nears PPA signing
Singaporean-based renewables developer Blue Circle is in discussions with Cambodia’s state-owned utility Electricite du Cambodge to sign a 25-year PPA at the end of the summer to back its roughly $180 million 80MW Bokor Mountain wind project in the country’s southern coast in Kampot province.

ADB eyes Pakistan's Balakot hydropower plant financing
ADB is eyeing up a $300 million loan to back the $755 million 300MW Balakot run-of-river hydropower plant in Pakistan. While the DFI is the lead co-financier on the deal, it has yet to provide final approval.

Japan prepares final conditions for first offshore wind auction
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) are preparing to publish the final conditions for the first general waters offshore wind zone auction in June.

eSVolta seals standalone battery storage portfolio facility
Californian developer esVolta signed a $140 million senior secured loan in March to back construction and operation of a 136MW/480MWh portfolio of lithium-ion projects, collectively called esFaraday, in the US. The deal marks the first large-scale standalone battery storage portfolio to reach financial close.

EIB delays bid deadline for technical advisory on GCDP
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has pushed back the deadline for bids for the technical advisory role on the Gaza Central Desalination Plant and Associated Works Programme (GCDP).

Saudi to tap first ECA-backed green loan
Saudi Arabia’s ministry of finance is set to raise an inaugural green loan backed by ECAs, with financial close expected in June, it was confirmed in an investor call which included Saudi's debt management office (NDMC) and National Development Fund, BlackRock and HSBC.

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