AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS--(Marketwired - Jan. 29, 2014) - Project Gemini is pleased to announce that it has received commitments for EUR 1,094 million in senior secured construction and term debt from 10 international commercial banks and Export Development Canada (EDC).
Project Gemini is a 600 MW offshore wind farm in the Dutch North Sea, developed by Typhoon Offshore B.V., that, subject to the approval of each sponsor's board, will be owned by Northland Power Inc. (60%), Siemens Financial Services (SFS - 20%), Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors BV (10%), and N.V. HVC, a joint venture of 48 Dutch municipalities and six water regulatory authorities (10%). In association with a EUR 500 million facility expected to be provided by the European Investment Bank and export credit cover under negotiation and subject to credit approval with three European export credit agencies (Denmark's EKF, Germany's Euler Hermes and Belgium's Delcredere-Ducroire), the EUR 1,094 million of commercial bank risk commitments completes the up to EUR 2,226 million of senior debt required by Project Gemini.
Project Gemini has executed mandate letters appointing eight banks as Mandated Lead Arrangers. These are Dutch bank ABN AMRO Bank N.V., France's BNP Paribas and Natixis, Japan's The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Canada's Export Development Canada, CIBC World Markets plc and Bank of Montreal. Spain's Banco Santander SA and CaixaBank SA have been appointed as Mandated Arrangers. Of the mandated banks, the Gemini project team appointed SMBC as Facility Agent and ECA Agent and ABN AMRO as Account Bank and LC Issuing Bank. BNP Paribas will act as Documentation Bank, BTMU as Technical bank, Natixis as Market Due Diligence Bank and Santander as Insurance Bank.
Late last year, the Gemini project team announced that the Danish pension group PKA and Northland Power, the lead equity sponsor in Gemini, will fund the EUR 200 million subordinated loan layer. With the subordinated debt and senior debt now lined up, the Gemini project team is now negotiating the final details of the transaction.
The financing will be, by far, the largest ever to be closed in the wind sector and Project Gemini is very pleased to be supported by such a strong bank group. The substantial underwriting commitments obtained underline the willingness of the banking market to provide non-recourse construction finance to the offshore wind sector for well-structured projects, and signal a new era where underwritings can be available for the industry.
The wind farm is expected to reach commercial operations in the summer of 2017.
Project Gemini is advised by Green Giraffe Energy Bankers (financial advisor), Clifford Chance LLP, Amsterdam (legal advisor), AON Risk Solutions (risk management and insurance), Loyens & Loeff (tax) and Chatham Financial (hedging). The lenders are advised by Mott MacDonald (technical), Allen & Overy (legal), Pöyry Management Consulting (market), Benatar & Co Ltd (insurance), and Corality Financial Group (model audit). Additionally, the EIB is advised by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (legal), EKF and Delcredere-Ducroire are advised by Kromann Reumert (legal), and Euler Hermes supported by EY/AHB acting as independent Chartered Auditor for the Federal German Government).
Project Gemini is the 600 MW offshore wind farm to be located 55 kilometres north of the island of Schiermonnikoog in the Dutch North Sea. In 2009, the Dutch authorities ("Rijkswaterstaat") granted Wbr permits for the future offshore wind farms Buitengaats (300 MW) and ZeeEnergie (300 MW). Buitengaats and ZeeEnergie were each granted a subsidy (SDE) by the Dutch Government in May 2010 and are currently in the process of being brought to financial close. The total 600 MW of installed capacity will produce 2.6 TWh annually, enough electricity for over 785,000 households or 1,540,000 inhabitants per annum. This is almost equivalent to the number of people living in the 3 northern provinces of the Netherlands and is equivalent to a reduction in emissions of 1,250,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Northland intends to acquire 60% of the shares in Gemini, SFS intends to acquire 20%, Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors B.V. and N.V. HVC will each acquire 10%. The total sponsor equity capital required is close to EUR500 million of the total construction costs of EUR2.8 billion. The ultimate investment by the Sponsors is subject to approval by their respective Boards of Directors, and to reaching "financial close", i.e. completing the arrangements with the banks to finance the project.
HVC is a sustainable waste and energy company owned by and working for public authorities. HVC holds a 10% stake in Gemini. The energy produced benefits the shareholders, 48 municipalities and six regional water boards in 4 Dutch provinces; North Holland, South Holland, Flevoland and Friesland. HVC regards its investments in offshore wind farms as a logical public-interest investment in renewable energy. HVC's share in this operation is expected to generate sufficient energy to supply approximately 100,000 households with electricity and produce carbon dioxide savings of more than 125,000 tonnes a year.
About Northland Power
Northland is an independent power producer founded in 1987, and publicly traded since 1997. Northland develops, builds, owns and operates facilities producing 'clean' (natural gas) and 'green' (wind, solar, and hydro) energy, providing sustainable long-term value to shareholders, stakeholders, and host communities. The company owns or has a net economic interest in 1,329 MW of operating generating capacity, with an additional 90 MW (60 MW net to Northland) of generating capacity currently in construction, and another 190 MW (119 MW net to Northland) of wind, solar and run-of-river hydro projects with awarded power contracts. In addition, Northland has acquired the rights to a majority equity stake in Gemini. Northland's cash flows are diversified over five geographically separate regions and regulatory jurisdictions in Canada, Europe and the United States.
Northland's common shares, Series 1 and Series 3 preferred shares and convertible debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NPI, NPI.PR.A, NPI.PR.C and NPI.DB.A, respectively.
About Siemens Financial Services
The Financial Services unit of Siemens (SFS) is an international provider of business-to-business financial solutions. SFS helps facilitate investments, providing commercial finance, project and structured finance with specific asset expertise in the energy, healthcare, industry, and infrastructure & cities markets. Employing more than 3,000 employees worldwide, SFS supports Siemens as well as other companies with their capital needs and acts as an expert manager of financial risks within the Siemens company. By leveraging its financing expertise and industrial know-how SFS creates value for its customers and helps them strengthen their competitiveness. Beyond that, financing is key in creating trust for technological solutions - and acts as a key enabler when it comes to the market launch. As of September 30, 2013, the total assets amounted to EUR18.7 billion.
About Van Oord
Van Oord marine ingenuity is a leading international EPC contractor which specializes in dredging, marine engineering and offshore (oil, gas and wind) construction. Van Oord will make an important contribution to the development and construction of the offshore wind park Gemini in its role as EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractor. Van Oord has a successful track record in building offshore wind parks in north western Europe. With the construction of the Dutch Princess Amalia wind park, the Belwind Phase 1 offshore wind park in Belgium, and the Teesside Offshore wind park off the northeast coast of England, Van Oord has established a reputation as all round EPC contractor.
Van Oord invested in an innovative and advanced offshore wind farm installation vessel called Aeolus. The Aeolus is 139 m long, 38m wide and fitted with a crane capable of hoisting 900 tons at 30 meter radius. The vessel will be deployed at the Gemini project.