Details emerge of €850m Northwind finance deal

Banks back Belgian project, with build to begin March 2013

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Financial close has been achieved for the 216MW Northwind offshore wind station in Belgian waters, as reported by Windpower Offshore earlier today. Total project financing amounts to €850m with details of the deal indicating a healthy level of support from investors, which include commercial banks and institutional investment funds.

Northwind was known as Eldepasco until April 2011, when a change of project ownership resulted in a new name. Depret and Electrawinds sold their shares to the project's other shareholders, Colruyt Group and Aspiravi, which increased the latter companies' holdings to 66.7% and 33.3% respectively.

Project financing is being funded, in part, via a 30% equity stake maintained by Parkwind – part of the Colruyt Group – and Aspiravi Offshore. The two project developers are supplying €80.6m and, in addition, are supported by five backers, which will provide €174.4m of 'mezzanine' debt. These are: PMV/PMF, DG Infra/Inframan/GIMV, Korys/DHAM and Autofinancing.

On the debt side, the remaining 70% in project finance - totalling €595m – will be provided by ASN Bank, Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, European Investment Bank (EIB), ING, KfW Ipex, MTI, Pension Danmark and the Rabobank.

Debt guarantors are: EIB, EKF, GIEK and the Office National Du Ducroire (ONDD)- Delcredere.

The commercial banks providing Northwind with a 17 year loan facility are each supplying the same sum. In addition, Rabobank will offer a working capital facility, according to Pieter Plantinga, vice president of Rabobank's renewable energy & infrastructure finance division.

As expected, Vestas confirmed it will supply, install and commission 72 V112-3.0 MW turbines, as well as provide a 15-year service and maintenance agreement. Completion is planned for the second quarter of 2014, according to Vestas.

Northwind will be built 37km off the Belgian port of Oostende, within a 14.5km² site and in water depths ranging 16-29m. The station is expected to generate 0.875TWh per year, representing 1% of Belgium's annual electricity consumption (based on 2011 levels). This is equivalent to 4,050 full load hours per year.

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