WFW Helps Investors Close Walney Extension Deal
International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised institutional investors on GBP 1.3 billion investment-grade bond acquisition of a 50% stake in Ørsted's 659MW Walney Extension offshore wind farm.
Danish pension funds PKA and PFA have each acquired a 25 percent ownership interest in the deal valued at GBP 2 billion, of which GBP 1.3 billion is being funded through the issuance of an investment-grade bond.
WFW advised in relation to financing, construction, operations and maintenance (O&M) and power purchase arrangements. The law firm also acted for RBS and MUFG among others as lenders in relation to OFTO facilities and as interest rate hedge providers, for EKF as credit support provider in respect of a tranche of the senior facilities, and for Goldman Sachs international and Citibank as CPI revenue hedge providers.
The anchor institutional investors subscribing to the financing, advised by WFW, included Aviva Investors, Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets and Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions (MIDIS).
“I’m delighted to have advised the bond investors on this ground-breaking and complex transaction. This was the first non-recourse, investment-grade bond to be used on a construction-stage offshore wind farm in the UK. That WFW was chosen to advise on this UK industry first is further testament that we are the ‘go-to’ law firm for innovative financing solutions for energy and infrastructure projects," Evan Stergoulis, WFW's Partner and Global Energy & Infrastructure Group Head, said.
The investment represents PKA's sixth acquisition in the offshore wind sector since 2011, three of which were disposals by Ørsted, including the disposal of a 50 percent stake in the Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm on which WFW advised Ørsted.
The Walney Extension offshore wind farm will comprise a total of 87 wind turbines, 40 MHI Vestas V164-8.0MW turbines and 47 Siemens Gamesa SWT-7.0 MW-154 turbines.
The wind farm, located some 19km from the Walney Island coast in Cumbria, UK, is currently under construction and will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when commissioned in the second half of 2018.