FPSO at Sea

WFW advises KfW IPEX-Bank, ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and the Export Credit Agencies of Poland, Germany and Holland on the US$290 million financing for the construction of an offshore pipe-laying vessel and a separate pipe laying system for the Ceona group

11 March 2014

Watson, Farley & Williams (“WFW”), a leading international law firm, is pleased to announce that it has advised the two commercial lenders, KfW IPEX-Bank, and ABN AMRO Bank N.V. together with the Export Credit Agencies of Germany, Poland and Holland, on the ECA-backed multi-currency term loans and performance bond facilities for the construction of an offshore pipe laying vessel and a pipe laying installation for the Ceona group.

WFW advised on the term loans and the performance bond facilities for the construction of Ceona’s flagship vessel, the 200-metre Ceona Amazon, and its own vertical pipe-laying system, which are under construction in Poland, Germany and Holland.

WFW also advised on the term loans and the performance bond facilities for the construction of the vertical pipe-laying system in the Netherlands for the 130-metres long and 25-metres wide ‘Polar Onyx’ vessel. New subsea player Ceona, owned by Goldman Sachs, has chartered ‘Polar Onyx’ for a fixed period of five years, with options for up to five more years. Expected to enter operations this summer, its first assignment will be to work for deepwater projects serving as pipelay support vessel for Petrobras offshore Brazil. Ceona was advised by Clifford Chance.

The facilities are backed by the Export Credit Agencies KUKE (Poland), Euler Hermes Kreditversicherungs AG (Germany) and Atradius Dutch State Business N.V. (The Netherlands) and benefit from the Federal Republic of Germany’s Commercial Interest Reference Rate programme.

WFW London partner Chris Lowe led the team and was supported by partner Patrick Kirkby, senior associate Gary Walsh, associates Emeline Yew, Kulraj Badhesha, Rob Firth and Emi Dagogo (all WFW London). London partners Charles Buss and Richard Stephens advised on litigation and tax aspects while partner Mark Lawson and senior associate John Man advised ABN AMRO Bank N.V. on the security package for the commercial interest reference rate refinancing. WFW London was also supported by WFW Hamburg where partner Maren Brandes, senior associates Christian Finnern and Frederik Lorenzen, and associate Gladys Sexl all advised.

Chris Lowe said: “This was a complex multijurisdictional multicurrency transaction combining project and asset financing techniques with backing from three export credit agencies and the Federal Republic of Germany’s CIRR programme. It demonstrates the continued importance of ECAs in asset finance and our multi-jurisdictional expertise.”