Etrion Completes $76 Million Project Financing for Italy Plants

Etrion Corp. a Swiss renewable-energy developer, completed financing for a 57 million-euro ($76 million) loan to build four solar-power plants in Italy with a total capacity of 15 megawatts.

Natixis, WestLB AG and Mediocreval provided the non-recourse senior loan facility with an 18-year term, Geneva-based Etrion said today. The solar plants’ combined capital cost is 68.8 million euros, a company presentation showed.

Etrion seeks to finance its projects with about 85 percent debt, the presentation showed. The debt is offered at a cost of 250 to 300 basis points, according to the document on the company’s website.

“This financing is a good indicator of the general low risk of Italian solar projects and the project financing terms are very competitive with the market we see in general,” Garrett Soden, chief financial officer, said today by telephone.

The estimated project costs include a Brindisi facility at 24.5 million euros and another in Mesagne for 23.4 million euros. The Brindisi and Mesagne facilities in the southern Puglia region each have 5 megawatts and are being constructed by U.S. solar power module maker SunPower Corp. The plants are expected to start working by the third quarter of 2011.

Also included in the portfolio are the Borgo Piave and Rio Martino solar plants at 3.5 megawatts and 1.7 megawatts, respectively. These were built by Germany-based Phoenix Solar AG at sites in Lazio in west-central Italy. Etrion expects them to start producing power shortly, according to the statement.

Together they will generate about 24 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually and more than 8 million euros a year of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Etrion has a fully-funded portfolio of 40 megawatts in operation and 18 megawatts under construction, according to the statement.

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