White & Case Advises Creditor Syndicate on €1 Billion Refinancing of German Offshore Windpark via Green Bonds
Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised an international syndicate of noteholders, lenders and institutional investors on the structured refinancing of German offshore wind farm 'Meerwind', operated by WindMW and controlled by private equity investor Blackstone.
It is the first placement of senior secured green bonds for an operational German offshore wind farm and one of the largest issues of green bonds in recent years. Green bonds are subject to special voluntary guidelines concerning the use of the issue proceeds for environmental and resource protection projects and to special monitoring by external service providers.
The complex refinancing of approximately €1 billion consists of senior secured project bonds (Projektanleihen) in the form of listed and privately placed US notes (with US dollar and euro tranches) and privately placed German registered notes(Namensschuldverschreibungen), senior secured promissory note loans (Schuldscheindarlehen), working capital facilities, currency swaps (Währungsswaps) and Decommissioning LCs (Avalkredite).
Meerwind has a total capacity of 288 MW and is one of the largest wind farms in the German North Sea, with all 80 wind turbines in operation since the autumn of 2015. The placed bonds achieved an investment grade rating by all three major rating agencies; S&P (BBB-/), Moody’s (Baa3) and Fitch (BBB-). The creditor syndicate consists of noteholders, banks and institutional investors including insurance companies, investment and pension funds based in locations that include the US, Germany, France, Netherlands and Asia.
The White & Case team which advised on the refinancing was led by New York-based partner Elena Maria Millerman and Hamburg-based partner Florian Degenhardt. The team in Germany included partners Bodo Bender and Karsten Wöckener (both Frankfurt), counsels Alexander Born (Frankfurt), Bernd Schneider and Beate Treibmann (both Hamburg), local partners Matthias Grigoleit (Hamburg), Guido Hermeier (Dusseldorf) and Veit Sahlfeld (Hamburg), and associates Alexander Nefzger and Karl-Alexander Neumann (both Hamburg). The US team included partners Sean Johnson, Richard Burke (both Washington) and Ray Simon (New York), and associates Cristian Blumm, Mårten Olsson, Fernando Noriega, Jason Pham, Misha Ross, Shea Thompson and Yan Ng (all New York).
Concurrently, a White & Case team led by partner Dennis Heuer and local partner Michael Rützel (both Frankfurt) advised Deutsche Bank in its function as Intercreditor Agent and Principal Paying Agent and Registrar, Deutsche Bank Luxembourg as Schuldschein Agent, and Deutsche Trustee Company Limited as Security Agent, with assistance being provided by counsel Claudio Medeossi and associate Greg Pospodinis (both Dubai) as advisers to Deutsche Trustee Company Limited as Indenture Trustee, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as US Paying Agent and Registrar. The same team also advised One Square Trustee in its capacity as German Bond Trustee and Security Agent under certain letters of credit.
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