PFR is pleased to announce the finalists for its 14th Annual Deal of the Year awards. Here is the short list for North America Conventional Power Project Finance Deal of the Year.

North American project finance was such a competitive category this year, we decided to subdivide it into renewables and conventional generation, with an additional category for LNG projects across the Americas. Gas-fired project financings were among the highlights of the year, as sponsors tapped new of pools of capital and marketed novel structures.

The finalists in this category are:

  • Invenergy's Lackawanna project
  • The refinancing of Ares-EIF's Newark project
  • Clean Energy Future's Lordstown project
  • NTE Energy's King's Mountain project

Invenergy’s Lackawanna project

The roughly $1 billion debt financing for the 1,485 MW gas-fired Lackawanna project in Pennsylvania involved five-year fixed and floating-rate commercial bank loans and an eight-year fixed-rate privately placed note and attracted the participation of investors including South Korean funds. The transaction achieved a dry close in December, which a deal watcher notes was a difficult period amid post-election uncertainty in the U.S. Read our coverage here.

BNP Paribas, GE Energy Financial Services and MUFG were the initial coordinating lead arrangers. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ING Capital and Hana Financial were coordinating lead arrangers. Prudential Capital Group was institutional placement advisor. Lazard advised Invenergy on the equity raise. First Reserve provided equity financing. Latham & Watkins advised the sponsor, Milbank Tweed advised the lenders and Chadbourne & Parke advised First Reserve.

Ares-EIF’s Newark project refinancing

The $725 million seven-year term loan refinancing of Ares-EIF’s 705 MW Newark project in New Jersey was one of the first of several gas-fired project financings last year to attract South Korean investors, and wrapped toward the end of a period when the capital markets were considered closed to such deals. Given the conditions, the arrangers opted for a “bespoke” transaction which one deal watcher described as “kind of a private execution in the institutional market”. Read our coverage here.

Citigroup and MUFG were the arrangers. Milbank Tweed advised Ares and Shearman & Sterling advised Citi.

Clean Energy Future’s Lordstown project

Clean Energy Future decided to downsize its debt financing for the 940 MW Lordstown gas-fired project in Ohio, leaving lenders wanting more of the oversubscribed deal. “Striking the correct balance of debt to equity is a management call for equity,” noted a deal watcher in April, shortly after the deal closed. Originally penciled in at $600 million, the deal closed as a $519 million package including a $445 million construction-plus-five-year term loan. Read our coverage here.

ICBC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Crédit Agricole and Investec were the lead arrangers. Whitehall & Co. advised Clean Energy Future on the financing. Barclays and Chadbourne & Parke advised Macquarie, one of the project's two equity investors. Siemens Financial Services is the second equity investor.

NTE Energy’s Kings Mountain project

The financing for NTE Energy’s 475 MW Kings Mountain gas-fired project in North Carolina was supported by nine long-term utility and municipal power purchase agreements, most of which had terms of 20 years. Among the offtakers was the City of Kings Mountain, which had been supplied for more than 100 years by incumbent utility Duke Energy, says a deal watcher. The sponsor and lenders educated lenders on the concept of full-requirements loan-serving PPA financing before sealing the $387 million construction-plus-five-year debt in March.

ING Capital and MUFG were coordinating lead arrangers. Capital Dynamics and Wattage finance-NC provided equity financing. Nixon Peabody and Portland, Maine-headquartered law firm Pierce Atwood advised NTE.

Click here to see the other categories or here to vote in the survey.

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