BNP Paribas, Rabobank in $1 Billion Loan Pact for Belgian Wind

BNP Paribas Fortis and Rabobank International were part of an 850 million-euro ($1.06 billion) financing plan for a Belgian offshore wind farm owned by the retailer Colruyt SA and a unit of Aspiravi Holding NV.

The accord included 595 million euros from such lenders as ING Groep NV, ASN Bank NV and Belfius Bank SA for the Northwind project in waters 37 kilometers (23 miles) off Oostende, according to a statement today from Northwind NV, a joint venture comprising Colruyt and renewables developer Aspiravi.

The European Investment Bank, KfW Ipex Bank GmbH and PensionDanmark A/S also provided loans to the 216-megawatt project. Work will start in early 2013 using 72 turbines made by Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Northwind said.

The loans were guaranteed by the Danish export credit agency Eksport Kredit Fonden, its Norwegian counterpart Garanti-Instituttet For Eksportkreditt and the Brussels-based Office National du Ducroire, according to the statement. The EIB also acted as a debt guarantor.

Frank Coenen, chief executive officer of Northwind, said in a phone interview from Belgium that the mix of lenders was vital to ensure the transaction’s financial close in the current financial climate.

“You need to look for this kind of structure, otherwise they will not happen,” he said today.

The 17-year debt is non-recourse, where the lending bank can recoup repayments from project profits, not assets of the borrower. Equity and subordinated loans of 255 million euros will come from the shareholders, among others, according to the statement.

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