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Quercus, Swiss Life JV seals €131m solar refinancing

Azienda Solare Italiana, formerly owned by Antin, has issued new project bonds to refinance part of its 85MW solar portfolio in Italy.

Italian solar investment platform Azienda Solare Italiana has raised €131 million in project financing designed in part to refinance 26.7MW of existing projects in the country.

Some €125 million came through two bonds, the largest of which is a fixed-rate €100 million bond with a coupon of 3.05 per cent. An additional €5 million was issued with a floating rate, with both holding a 13.5-year maturity.

A further €6 million was provided via bank financing from Natixis which also acted as bookrunner and arranger on the deal.

The bond issuance was underwritten by a group of institutional investors and led to an oversubscription. The institutional investors included three entities belonging to the Aviva Group as well as SCOR Global Investments, all of which participated in the original deal in December 2014.

“We had a confirmation that our asset class represents a perfect fit for insurance companies and remain extremely confident they will represent important source of funding in the future to sustain the growth of our company,” said Umberto Tamburrino, chief executive of ASI.

The deal refinances ASI’s transaction from two years ago when it incorporated the seven solar plants involved in the deal under one structure, with the projects previously financed on an individual basis.

This agreement was sealed when ASI was owned by a subsidiary of Antin Infrastructure. The platform was sold to Quercus Assets Selection and Swiss Life Asset Managers last year for an undisclosed price.

ASI’s 84.5MW solar portfolio in Italy makes it the fifth-largest operator in terms of capacity in the country. The portfolio has increased by 7.1MW since Quercus and Swiss Life completed the takeover.