A group of banks have restructured the financing for two concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in southern Spain.
Antin Infrastructure, Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management and Grupo Cobra, the owners of the Andasol 1 and 2, have agreed to optimise the debt and equity arrangements after Spain introduced regulatory changes in 2012 and 2014 that cut subsidies for operating renewable plants. The CSP projects, which are more expensive than photovoltaic projects but use thermal storage to produce more electricity, generate a combined 100MW in Granada.
An undisclosed European infrastructure fund has provided new financing, and the projects’ original 2006 financing of €500 million has been renewed, including a redesigned debt tranche.
The bank syndicate includes the European Investment Bank, the Spanish Export Credit Agency and local banks such as Banco Sadadell, Dexia Sabadell, Catalunya Banc and Unicaja. International banks are also part of the syndicate including Bayerische Landesbank, Landesbank Hessen Thüringen Girozentrale, BNP Paribas Fortis and Portigon AG o Dexia Crédit. BNP Paribas acted as financial advisor.
Last September, Christopher Bredholt, an analyst at ratings agency Moody’s, told sister publication Low Carbon Energy Investor that “European renewables projects that have achieved successive years of strong operating performance may be able to refinance on more favourable terms, which could lead to a reduction in credit risk”.
Moody’s said that a combination of factors were prompting a new wave of renewable project refinancings. Increased interest from infrastructure debt funds seeking alternatives to the highly competitive PPP market, the expiration of original construction bank loans, regulatory pressure for banks to sell existing loans and the stabilisation of regulatory frameworks were contributing to the trend, according to the agency.