Northland Power Inc. ("Northland") (TSX: NPI) (TSX: NPI.PR.A) (TSX: NPI.PR.B) (TSX: NPI.PR.C) (TSX: NPI.DB.B) (TSX: NPI.DB.C) announced that the EUR1.3 billion Deutsche Bucht ("DeBu") project has reached financial close, with all of the equity contributed to the project and all debt required for the project now fully committed by the project lenders. Northland owns 100% of the 252 MW offshore wind farm which will be located in the German North Sea.
Approximately 75% of the project's required costs will be provided from a EUR988 million non-recourse construction and term loan and related loan facilities from ten international commercial lenders. Reflecting the strength of Deutsche Bucht, the financing was oversubscribed. The lending group comprises Banco Santander, CIBC, Commerzbank, Helaba, KfW IPEX-Bank, National Bank of Canada, Natixis, Rabobank, Société Générale, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. The total estimated project cost is approximately EUR1.3 billion (approximately CAD $1.9 billion).
"Today's announcement represents an important milestone for Northland's offshore wind strategy," noted John Brace, CEO of Northland. "In only a few years Northland has become a leader in European offshore wind, as demonstrated by our 100% ownership of this high-quality project. We would like to thank the project's financiers and advisors for their thoroughness and proficiency. This achievement is another example of Northland's commitment to delivering sustained growth and exceptional results."
DeBu is Northland's third offshore wind project. It is located 77 km from Northland's other German offshore wind project, Nordsee One. Once completed, DeBu is expected to generate enough sustainable energy to meet the needs of over 178,000 households. It will reduce C02 emissions by over 360,000 tonnes per year, supporting the German government's CO2 reduction targets.
DeBu is entitled to receive a fixed feed-in tariff subsidy for approximately 13 years under the German Renewable Energy Act ("EEG"), equating to approximately EUR184/MWh for 8 years and EUR149/MWh for the remainder. The majority of the project returns are expected to be earned during the 13 year feed-in-tariff period, with the remainder of the expected returns earned in the later years from the German wholesale electricity market.
The construction of DeBu is expected to begin shortly, with project completion expected by the end of 2019. Like Northland's 600 MW Gemini project, DeBu will use a two-contract construction strategy. MHI Vestas Offshore Wind ("MHI Vestas") will supply and install the project's 31 V164 8.0 MW wind turbines. Van Oord, a Dutch marine contractor and the balance of plant contractor for Gemini, has been awarded the balance of plant contract for the project. They will deploy their offshore installation vessel, Aeolus, for the installation of the wind turbine foundations and cable-laying vessel, Nexus, to install the electrical infrastructure. MHI Vestas will also maintain the wind turbines under a long-term service contract. DeBu will be connected to the 800 MW BorWin Beta offshore converter station which has already been constructed.
Advisors in connection with the project financing were Green Giraffe (financial), CMS Hasche Sigle (financing - legal), Hogan Lovells (sponsor - legal), JCRA (hedging). The banks were advised by Watson Farley Williams (legal), SgurrEnergy (technical), Benatar (insurance), Mazars (model audit) and EY (tax).
NORTHLAND POWER'S OFFSHORE WIND STRATEGY
Northland Power's objective in Europe is to build a leading offshore wind ownership and operations platform with a full range of operating, development and investment activities, supporting further growth on a continental basis. The acquisition of the DeBu project contributes to the further achievement of this objective.
Europe is a key focus for Northland, given its sizable share of the world economy and strong support for renewable energy policy.
DeBu will leverage Northland's Gemini and Nordsee One experience and will bring Northland's offshore net operating capacity to over 900 MW (net to Northland) over the next three years.
Northland is an independent power producer founded in 1987, and publicly traded since 1997. Northland develops, builds, owns and operates facilities that produce 'clean' (natural gas) and 'green' (wind, solar, and hydro) energy, providing sustainable long-term value to shareholders, stakeholders, and host communities.
The Company owns or has a net economic interest in 1,754 MW of operating generating capacity and 332 MW of generating capacity under construction -- the Nordsee One offshore project in the North Sea, of which the Company owns 85% -- in addition to its 100% equity stake in DeBu.
Northland's common shares, Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3 preferred shares and Series B and Series C convertible debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NPI, NPI.PR.A, NPI.PR.B, NPI.PR.C, NPI.DB.B, and NPI.DB.C, respectively.
This release contains certain forward-looking statements which are provided for the purpose of presenting information about management's current expectations and plans. Readers are cautioned that such statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. Forward-looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or include words such as "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "believes," "estimates," "intends," "targets," "projects," "forecasts" or negative versions thereof and other similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as "may," "will," "should," "would" and "could." These statements may include, without limitation, statements regarding future adjusted EBITDA, free cash flows, dividend payment and dividend payout ratios, the construction, completion, attainment of commercial operations, cost and output of development projects, litigation claims, plans for raising capital, and the operations, business, financial condition, priorities, ongoing objectives, strategies and outlook of Northland and its subsidiaries. These statements are based upon certain material factors or assumptions that were applied in developing the forward-looking statements, including the design specifications of development projects, the provisions of contracts to which Northland or a subsidiary is a party, management's current plans, its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that are believed to be appropriate in the circumstances. Although these forward-looking statements are based upon management's current reasonable expectations and assumptions, they are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties. Some of the factors that could cause results or events to differ from current expectations include, but are not limited to, construction risks, counterparty risks, operational risks, foreign exchange rates, regulatory risks, maritime risks for construction and operation, and the variability of revenues from generating facilities powered by intermittent renewable resources and the other factors described in the "Risks and Uncertainties" section of Northland's 2016 Annual Report and Annual Information Form, both of which can be found at www.sedar.com under Northland's profile and on Northland's website www.northlandpower.ca. Northland's actual results could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements and, accordingly, no assurances can be given that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur.
The forward-looking statements contained in this release are based on assumptions that were considered reasonable on date of release. Other than as specifically required by law, Northland undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after such date or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, whether as a result of new information, future events or results, or otherwise.
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