Banks reach closure on world’s largest wind financing to date

Dec. 1, 2000à‚–Italian Vento Power Corp. (IVPC) said in a news release Nov. 24 that financial institutions Mediocredito Centrale (MCC) and Fortis Bank Joint Bookrunners had successfully closed the syndication process for its IVPC4 731.5 billion Italian Lire (U.S. $325 million) wind farm project financing with a total of 23 participant banks.

The transaction is the largest wind farm financing in the world to date and was oversubscribed, IVPC said. The deal was fully underwritten by the three arrangers, MCC, Fortis Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland (GNW) and signed on March 3. MCC and Fortis Bank acted as Bookrunners while Royal Bank of Scotland is the facility Agent and Account Bank.

The IVPC4 16-year project finance facility, sponsored with a shared equity participation of 50-50 by Italy’s most active wind developer, IVPC, and Edison Mission Energy, will involve wind farms for a total capacity of 283 MW in southern Italy and on the island of Sardinia, IVPC said.

Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas will supply all of the turbines to be used on the project, V47 660-kW units with lattice towers, through IWT, a joint venture between Vestas and WEST of the Ansaldo-Finmeccanica Group.

The deal is based on a 90-10 debt/equity ratio, IVPC said, adding, “In order to provide lenders with additional protection, upon final completion updated wind energy production estimates will be produced, based also on additional wind data to be collected during the construction period. Specific reserves already escrowed into the project may be used to re-adjust the gearing down to 85-15 debt/equity ratio if required to maintain pre-established levels of debt service coverage ratios.”

Construction is expected to take place over the next year and a half, with the first phase already begun in March of this year.

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