This transaction, which is the first of its kind in Italy, comprises an innovative debt package which merges features of a banking facility with those of a bond issue.
The transaction was financed by international and domestic institutional investors (three investors within Aviva Group plus SCOR Global Investments) and by two banks. Notably, two of the Aviva Group investors are Italian institutions thus demonstrating strong local support for ASI. It is the first project bond in Italy and one of the first hybrid transactions in the European renewable sector. Natixis acted as arranger of the Bond tranche and provided the loan tranche together with UBI. The new arrangement also includes a liquidity facility and a VAT facility.
The refinancing incorporates seven ASI plants under one umbrella structure, whereas previously the plants were financed on an individual basis. It benefits from attractive terms and conditions and favourable pricing. In structuring the debt package, Antin IP leveraged new Italian regulation covering project bonds, which provide tax benefits and security advantages to investors.
Umberto Tamburrino, CEO of ASI, noted:
"We are delighted to announce this ground-breaking transaction which is one of the largest debt capital market transactions privately placed to institutional investors in Italy since the sovereign crisis. This transaction demonstrates the high quality of our portfolio and confirms our ability to deliver stable returns for all our stakeholders. We are pleased that ASI has opened access to the capital markets via this placing and are particularly proud to have a pool of first-class institutional investors as long-term financing partners."
Stéphane Ifker, the Antin IP Partner leading the project team, noted:
"This transaction exemplifies Antin IP's approach to adding value by leveraging our internal expertise. The Antin IP project team and the ASI management worked over a period of 15 months to execute the transaction at highly attractive terms."
ASI is an Italian solar PV investment platform owned by Antin Infrastructure Partners, a leading European private equity firm focused on infrastructure investments in the energy, transportation and telecom sectors.
Established in 2011, ASI has built-up a sizeable portfolio of large solar ground-mounted plants totalling c. 77MW, thus emerging as one of the most prominent players in the Italian PV market.
The portfolio consists of nine plants located in the Lazio, Apulia and Sicily regions of Italy, which are among the highest irradiation regions in Europe. All plants are fully constructed, connected to the grid and operating as planned since 2011.