Uruguayan firm Guyer & Regules, Argentina’s M & M Bomchil Abogados and the New York office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP have helped Argentine airport investment group Corporación América obtain a US$180 million loan to finance two wind farms in Maldonado, Uruguay, in its first of several planned investments in the wind energy sector.
The lending banks were advised by Uruguay’s FERRERE and the São Paulo, Washington and Madrid offices of Clifford Chance LLP.
The project has an 85 to 15 debt-to-equity financing ratio. The lenders were drawn from several jurisdictions and organised into a two-tier system, with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the China Co-Financing Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean and Banco de la República Oriental del Uruguay (BROU) leading the facility as senior lenders and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), and Inter-American Corporation for Financing lnfrastructure (CIFI) acting as subordinated lender and participant respectively. “The deal shows that there is substantial financing available to the Latin American countries from the multilaterals and also private banks and that such countries that adopt a business approach and respect the property rights, as Uruguay, are taking significant advantage of this financing,” says Fermín Caride of M & M Bomchil.
According to FERRERE partner Gonzalo Secco the transaction had to accommodate the fact that the banks are simultaneously financing two wind farms, which are run by different project companies and which have separate power purchase agreements. Furthermore, an initial bridge financing that had been provided by CIFI had to be cancelled before the new credit agreement was implemented, and the participation of Uruguay’s government bank BROU created added legal work.