Global law firm White & Case LLP advised the mandated lead arrangers on the US$612 million financing of the Shams 1 solar power project in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The financing for this project, which will be the first solar farm in the Middle East and the largest concentrated solar power plant in the world, was provided by a group of eight international and two local commercial banks: BNP Paribas, KfW-IPEX, Mizuho, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Natixis, Société Générale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Union National Bank and WestLB.
The project, which reached financial close on 3 March 2011, is being built on a 2.5 square kilometer site at Madinat Zayed, located 120km southwest of the city of Abu Dhabi. Implementing innovative parabolic trough technology on an unprecedented scale, the project has a planned net capacity of approximately 110MW.
The financing comprises a term loan facility of US$578 million, coupled with a standby facility of US$34 million. The project is owned by a consortium of Masdar (60%), Abengoa Solar (20%) and Total (20%). Abu Dhabi-based Masdar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mubadala, which promotes renewable energy in the Middle East.
"Shams 1 is a landmark – the first solar project to reach financial close in the Middle East. It also demonstrates that there is continuing confidence in the UAE market, particularly for flagship projects that are backed by the strong support of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and sector-leading local and international sponsors. Another factor in Shams 1's favour was a deal structure drawing on previous successful projects, such as the Paris-Sorbonne University and Zayed University PPPs, and the ADWEA IWPPs, on which White & Case has unparalleled experience," commented White & Case partner Doug Peel.
The White & Case team was led by partner Doug Peel, who was supported by partners Jason Kerr and Saul Daniel and assisted by associates Matthew Wood, Luke Robottom, Mary-Ellen Staley and Debbie Reid, as well as trainee solicitor Josephine Diez. Singapore-based partner David Barwise also provided advice on the hedging aspects of the financing.
The deal was also recently awarded "Middle East Renewables Deal of the Year 2010" by Project Finance Magazine.
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