Bond lures insurers to €780m GIP wind deal

German insurance companies led by Talanx are supporting the acquisition of 50% of the Gode Wind 1 project by Global Infrastructure Partners.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the US-based infrastructure fund manager, has agreed to acquire a 50 percent stake in the 330-megawatt (MW) Gode Wind 1 offshore wind construction project from Danish developer DONG Energy.

The transaction, which is valued at €780 million, includes the issuance of a rated project bond to a consortium of German insurance groups led by Talanx as cornerstone lender.

A statement from DONG Energy claimed this would be the first ever issuance of a non-recourse, investment grade, certified green bond dedicated to part-financing an offshore wind farm under construction.

The statement added that the development of a rated bond structure that would allow the provision of institutional debt for offshore wind construction was initiated and led by DONG Energy, with support from GIP and Talanx.

The structure also marks the first time that German insurance companies have provided debt at financial close for an offshore wind farm.

Dr Thomas Mann, chief investment officer for Talanx Asset Management, said the deal showed the firm’s “capability to structure, arrange and finance large scale transactions. For the first time a group of institutional investors has been lined up by an insurer to support the financing of a landmark offshore wind project.”

Earlier this week, Talanx agreed to buy three adjacent wind parks with a total capacity of 49.5MW in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in France from Vienna-based developer and investor RP Global. The Hannover-based group is the third-largest insurer in Germany.

DONG Energy began construction of Gode Wind 1 earlier this year. The wind farm will consist of 55 Siemens turbines which will supply CO2-free power equalling the annual power consumption of approximately 340,000 German households.

Along with the neighbouring Gode Wind 2 wind farm, it is expected to be fully commissioned in 2016.

Among its existing energy investments, GIP in 2009 acquired a 38.8 percent interest in Terra-Gen Power Holdings, a US renewable energy company focused on developing, owning and operating utility-scale wind, geothermal and solar generation.

GIP announced the final closing of its second fund, GIP II, on $8.25 billion in October 2012 and currently manages approximately $16.1 billion for its investors.