Seaborn, Natixis partner on subsea cable project

Seaborn Networks has chosen Natixis as sole structuring bank, underwriter and lead arranger for the $290m Brazil-US subsea cable project.

US-based Seaborn Networks, a developer and operator of submarine fibre optic cable systems, has partnered with French bank Natixis on Seaborn’s Seabras-1, a submarine cable project that will connect the financial and commercial centres of Brazil and New York, according to a statement.

Natixis will act as sole structuring bank, underwriter and lead arranger for a fully-underwritten $290 million senior secured project financing debt for the development and installation of the 40 Terabits per second (Tbps), four-fibre pair system extending 10,400 kilometres between São Paulo and New York – the first direct route between the two cities.

The bank is also expected to serve as COFACE facility and security agent for the project debt. COFACE, or Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur, is a French export credit agency.

“Natixis has been a valued partner throughout the financing process and this further solidifies our strong relationship with a leading infrastructure finance bank,” said Seaborn chief executive Larry Schwartz.

Following the latest round of financing for Seabras-1, Seaborn announced in January that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, had become an investor in Seaborn Networks. It did not disclose the amount invested.

Seabras-1, which is expected to be completed by 2015, is being built for Seaborn by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks.

It will be the first export credit-agency backed project financing in the global submarine cable industry, according to Olivier Delay, managing director and head of aviation, export and infrastructure, Americas for Natixis Wholesale Banking.

Natixis is the corporate, investment and financial services arm of Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France.