LONDON/CAPE TOWN: AUGUST 2021.
Globeleq, the leading independent power company in Africa, and Absa Bank, a leading financier in the renewable energy programme in South Africa, have completed the senior debt refinancing of three of Globeleq’s renewable power plants. The purpose of the refinancing is to enhance the projects’ capital structures, allowing for the release of value to shareholders and the reduction of the tariff to the national utility, and ultimately consumers in South Africa.
The tariff reductions will save the national utility more than ZAR 1 billion across the three assets over the remaining 12-year term of the power purchase agreements. Absa Bank acted as the mandated lead arranger and sole underwriter of the c. ZAR 5.2 billion debt financing package.
This transaction will be the second refinancing of renewable assets under the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE) Independent Power Producer Office (IPPO) Refinancing Protocol. Globeleq hopes to eventually refinance the entire portfolio of assets it owns in South Africa.
Globeleq proactively engaged in June 2020 after the IPPO requested owners of the South African renewable Round 1-3.5 projects to consider participating in a voluntary refinancing programme, and led the refinancing process on behalf of all its shareholders in the 138 MW Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, 50 MW De Aar Solar and 50 MW Droogfontein Solar plants.
Mike Scholey, Globeleq CEO said: “Globeleq sees this transaction as enabling future secondary market debt, which in turn will stimulate new opportunities, jobs and contribute to the economic development of South Africa. We hope that other IPPs will look to do the same and reduce the cost of their power to Eskom.”
Apart from reducing wholesale electricity prices, the refinancing will unlock funds for the shareholders which, in turn, will encourage re-investment in the sector as well as accelerate equity distributions to the three community trust shareholders, enabling spend on high impact sustainable ventures.
Absa’s Johan Koorts, Resource & Project Finance Principal said “Absa Bank has been a major supporter of the South African renewable energy programme since its inception and has to date arranged financing for c. 3 gigawatts of projects across various bid windows. This transaction strongly demonstrates Absa’s ongoing commitment to the financing of clean energy and the acceleration of investments that make a sustainable impact on the communities we serve.”
Bernard Magoro, Head of the IPP Office said: “We wish to thank all parties for the commitment shown and the constructive way in which they approached this refinancing and hope that the successful conclusion thereof will lead to more IPPs taking comfort from the process and coming to the fore to participate in this initiative. The IPPO is proud to be part of this achievement.”