White & Case Advises Sweihan PV Power Company on Landmark Green Project Bond Refinancing of World's Largest Single-Site Solar Project
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Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the Abu Dhabi-based Sweihan PV Power Company PJSC (SPPC) on the issuance of its US$700.8 million 3.625% senior secured amortizing green project bonds due 2049.
"This is a first-of-its-kind green project bond and a complex refinancing," said White & Case partner Melissa Butler, who co-led the Firm's deal team. "Our role advising on it showcases the ability of White & Case to lead on large scale financings requiring versatile debt capital markets and US securities law capabilities with sector and project financing expertise in the MENA region."
The bonds are governed by New York law, have been admitted to trading on the Global Exchange Market of Euronext Dublin and included in the list of Euronext ESG Bonds. They are rated BBB+ and Baa1 from S&P and Moody's, respectively. The bonds were arranged and offered through a syndicate of joint lead managers and bookrunners comprising of Citigroup, HSBC, MUFG, BNP Paribas, First Abu Dhabi Bank and SMBC Nikko.
The issuance is the first green project bond in the MENA region. It is also the first green bond offering for a UAE renewables project to international investors and is a critical part of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's energy transition strategy. The UAE has a target to meet more than 50 percent of its power needs from renewables by 2050, which is part of the country's Energy Strategy 2050 to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent.
SPPC owns, operates, and maintains the fully operational Noor solar photovoltaic power generation plant, the largest single-site solar PV project at the time of completion in April 2019 and located near the town of Sweihan, in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It is indirectly 60 percent owned by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) and 20 percent owned by each of Marubeni and JinkoSolar.
White & Case partner Michael Watson, who co-led the Firm's deal team and leads the Firm's Energy Transition Focus Group, said: "We value our long standing relationship of over 25 years with Emirates Water and Electricity Company and continue to support the organisation on all major energy transition projects in Abu Dhabi. This transaction is further evidence that White & Case is at the forefront advising on energy transition matters and we expect this deal will set the benchmark in the Middle East region, with many similar energy transition projects coming to market given the significant appetite for green investments."
The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partners Michael Watson and Melissa Butler (both London) and included partners Alexander Malahias and Yasser Riad (both Abu Dhabi) and associates Khawla Alatiyat, Shamim Khan, Nisha Raman, Jennifer Riddle (all Abu Dhabi), Catherine Andrews, Hashim Eltumi, Claire Janvier (all London) and Eren Ayanlar (Dubai).
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