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Italian fund refinances solar bought from First Reserve

Tages Group has secured a €162m debt package from five French and Italian banks to refinance 55.4MW of installed solar plants in Italy.

Italian fund manager Tages Capital has sealed a €162 million refinancing deal for a group of solar farms it acquired last year from the US’ First Reserve.

The portfolio includes some 51 solar projects across Italy with a total capacity of 55.4MW. These have been operational since 2011 or 2012 after being developed during a wave of Italian solar build-up.

The Tages Helios Fund tied up the refinancing through credit lines with Banca IMI, BNP Paribas, Intesa Sanpaolo, Natixis and Unicredit. The five banks provided a term loan, two lines dedicated to VAT tax credits from the purchase and another relating to four special purpose vehicles owning some of the plants.

“This operation combines the portfolio’s financial needs with investors’ objectives,” said Umberto Quadrino, president of Tages Capital. “We expect to apply this structure to other financing of infrastructure funds involving real estate.”

Tages acquired the projects in August last year from First Reserve
via its Helios fund. Launched in December 2015, the vehicle represents its first foray into the solar market.

After a second closing on €155 million in March, Tages anticipates a third closing later this year, with commitments from pension funds and bank foundations expected to take the fund to €300 million after Italian insurers made up the initial pledges. The targeted IRR for the vehicle is eight per cent.

In a separate deal last August between Tages and First Reserve, the Italian firm also bought another 101MW from the Connecticut-based private equity firm, a deal which included Italy’s largest solar plant.