March 25, 2014
Latham & Watkins' Project Finance and Development Practice Group advised on seven matters named “Deals of the Year” for 2013 by Project Finance magazine – including the top overall deal in North America. The financings took place across global markets for notable energy and infrastructure projects. The honored deals include:
- North American Project Bond and Overall North American Deal of the Year: Ohio River Bridges, East End Crossing – Representation of the underwriters in the project financing for the development of a cable-stayed bridge crossing the Ohio River and associated roadways, tunnels and facilities connecting Indiana and Kentucky. Project Finance noted the $1.17 billion project is Indiana’s first ever greenfield public-private partnership (PPP) and its financing included the largest-ever private activity bond for use in a US PPP.
- North American Solar Deal of the Year: Solar Star – Representation of Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., as initial purchaser, and Union Bank, N.A., as arranger, in a $1 billion bond offering and $320 million letter of credit facility in connection with the Solar Star project, a 309-MW alternating current solar photovoltaic electric generating facility in Kern and Los Angeles Counties and a 270-MW alternating current solar photovoltaic electric generating facility in Kern County. Project Finance termed the financing “the largest-ever renewables bond issue.”
- North American Downstream Oil & Gas Deal of the Year: Vantage Pipeline – Representation of sponsor Riverstone/Carlyle Global Energy and borrowers Vantage Pipeline Canada ULC and Vantage Pipeline US LP in a $240 million financing for the Vantage Pipeline, an approximately 430 mile-long ethane pipeline extending from North Dakota, US to Alberta, Canada. Project Finance cited the deal as “the first time the leveraged loan market has financed a greenfield pipeline project.”
- European Ports Deal of the Year: Mersin Representation of issuer Mersin International Port Inc. (a joint venture between Turkey’s Akfen Holding and Singapore’s PSA International) in connection with a $450 million bond issuance, Turkey’s first infrastructure bond. Project Finance said the $450 million bond refinancing of the Mersin container port “will probably serve as a local benchmark” for future infrastructure financing in Turkey.
- Middle Eastern PPP Deal of the Year: Az-Zour – Representation of the sponsors in an approximately $1.4 billion financing in z-Zour North 1 project in Kuwait, the first independent power and water project under Kuwait’s new public-private partnership (PPP) laws. The project includes a 1500-MW gas-fired power plant and a 107 million-gallons-a-day water desalination plant. Project Finance commended the financing effort “to assemble a long-dated debt package that featured local and international banks alongside Japanese export credit agencies (ECAs).”
- Middle Eastern Project Bond Deal of the Year: Shuweihat 2 – Representation of the joint lead managers, joint bookrunners and co-manager on Ruwais Power Company’s issuance of approximately $825 million senior secured bonds due 2036 for the Shuweihat 2 project, a 1,503-MW combined cycle power generation and water desalination plant in Abu Dhabi. Project Finance reported that the financing “attracted unprecedented levels of international investor interest.”
- Middle Eastern Telecoms Deal of the Year: Zain – Representation of Al-Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation, Arab National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi and Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank as mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners in a refinancing in connection with the network expansion for Al-Etisalat Al-Mutanakilah Al-Saudi Company (Zain KSA), a Saudi mobile network. Project Finance called the matter, which closed in July 2013, “the largest pure commercial bank deal that year in Saudi Arabia.”