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WFW advises on the refinancing of “Meerwind” offshore wind farm by project bond

21 December 2015

EN | DE

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised the lenders to the “Meerwind” offshore wind farm in the German North Sea in connection with its refinancing by way of a project bond.

WFW had advised the original bank consortium in the complex project financing for the €1.2bn project “Meerwind”. The consortium consisted of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Commerzbank, Dexia, KfW IPEX, Santander, Siemens Bank and Lloyds, as well as the Danish export credit agency EKF and the German promotional bank KfW. The highly acclaimed financing was one of the first German offshore wind farms to be financed during the construction phase, being awarded Project Finance magazine’s European Offshore Wind Deal of the Year 2011.

Following closing, WFW advised on the construction of the offshore wind farm as counsel to the agent, KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH. The project recently reached commercial operation.

The refinancing was effected via a €978m project bond. The transaction was the first offshore wind project bond refinancing in Germany, meaning “Meerwind” has achieved another first, having been the first project to benefit from the KfW offshore wind programme, and the first German offshore wind farm fully financed by private investors.

“Meerwind” is one of Germany’s largest wind farms, comprised of 80 Siemens wind turbines with a total capacity of 288 MW, generating enough renewable energy to power 400,000 households.

The WFW team was led by partners Dr. Stefan Kilgus (Project Finance, Hamburg) and Dr. Malte Jordan (Corporate/Energy, Hamburg) supported by partner Sebastian Wulff (Debt Capital Markets, Frankfurt), and senior associate Alexander Wojtek (Project Finance, Hamburg). The team was assisted on foreign law aspects by Daisy East (English Law, London), and law firms Loyens & Loeff (Belgium) and Chrysses Demetriades & Co. LLC (Cyprus).

WFW partner Dr. Stefan Kilgus comments: “This transaction adds to the firm’s strong track record. We are recognised in the market for our expertise regarding complex project finance transactions, and our industry experience on energy and infrastructure in general, particularly offshore wind. This transaction is another example of our presence at the forefront of new market developments, such as, in this case, project bond financings for operating offshore wind assets. It has also allowed us to demonstrate our debt capital markets experience in such an innovative field.”

WFW partner Dr. Malte Jordan comments: “We are delighted to have worked on this transaction. This project is a milestone achievement for the German offshore wind energy industry, as it demonstrates the capital markets’ appetite in offshore wind energy projects and represents the first offshore project bond refinancing in the German market.”