A senior facilities arrangement for EUR 118 million between ENERCON and DNB Bank ASA ("DNB Bank"), acting as the only mandated lead arranger, has reached its financial closure. The bridge finance will be used to build the 134.4 MW total capacity Ersträsk North wind farm in the Markbygden region. The project was sold to Irish investor Greencoat Renewables PLC ("Greencoat") in a separate deal using a forward sale arrangement. Greencoat had also bought the nearby wind farm Ersträsk South in October 2021. In this transaction, Capcora, a consulting business located in Germany, served as ENERCON's only financial adviser with regard to the debt financing while DNB Markets counselled ENERCON on the selling procedure.
Project Ersträsk North is consisting of 32 turbines of the type E-138 EP3 E2 and has already commenced construction targeting commercial operation in Q4 2023. The project together with the operational 101 MW windfarm Ersträsk South forms part of a large emerging cluster of renewable generation in the Northern Sweden so called Markbygden area, which will create a complex with a capacity exceeding 3 GW.
Financing partner for the project is the Norwegian Bank DNB Bank, acting as Sole Mandated Lead Arranger in this deal, providing a term loan and VAT facility totalling EUR 118m based on a non-recourse structure both to be redeemed at COD.
The announcement follows the acquisition notice from Greencoat last Friday. DNB Markets assisted ENERCON in the structuring of the forward sale which was a key structural element for the bridge financing providing more certainty in terms of repayment and allowing for a higher gearing compared to a typical project financing. According to the buyer information the wind farm will initially operate as a merchant asset but has the flexibility in the future to contract the electricity produced via a corporate power purchase agreement. ENERCON will continue to provide long term operations and maintenance services.
"We are glad to have simultaneously achieved closing of the sales and bridge financing in two individually managed yet interconnected processes. Ersträsk North is our second wind farm in Sweden equipped with the EP 3 WEC Series and will add great value to our new stakeholders in the project.“, says Wolfgang Fettig, responsible for the M&A activities in Sweden at ENERCON.
“We are proudly announcing our partnership with ENERCON in this construction financing. As one of the most active Scandinavian banks in the renewable energy sector, we have been in a position to leverage off our strong expertise in the sector coming from a number of onshore wind deals in order to shape the financing structure in an efficient manner”, adds Christian Palm, Lead Coordinator at the Infrastructure Coverage team at DNB Bank.
“This financing format is fairly unique in the Swedish market and tailored to ENERCON’s needs. The bridge financing enables ENERCON to externally refinance a large part of the construction costs while maximizing the sales value. We will certainly see more of these transactions in the coming years”, explains Alexander Kuhn, Managing Partner at Capcora.
On the legal side ENERCON was advised by Cirio Advokatbyra AB, Stockholm (Swedish law) and CMS Hasche Sigle, Hamburg (German law), while DNB Bank was working with Bird&Bird, Hamburg and Stockholm, both on documentation and legal due diligence. DNV acted as lenders technical advisor, Capcora as sole financial advisor in relation to the debt financing. On the sales process ENERCON was supported by DNB Markets who acted as sole financial advisor.