Slaughter and May advised Ørsted (formerly known as DONG Energy) on its disposal of a 50% interest in the 659MW Walney Extension offshore wind farm to a consortium consisting of PKA and PFA, two leading Danish pension funds. It also advised on the terms of certain related financing, construction management, operations and maintenance and power purchase arrangements.
The transaction is subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities and is currently expected to complete in Q4 2017. The total transaction proceeds, consisting of the acquisition of a 50% ownership share and commitment to fund 50% of the payments under a full scope EPC contract with Ørsted, amount to c.£2bn, which will be paid during 2017 and 2018.
As a part of the transaction, PKA and PFA is expected to issue rated project bonds to a consortium consisting of blue chip institutions, many of which manage UK pension and insurance fund capital, including Aviva Investors, BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Limited, Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets and Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions. This will be the first issuance of a non-recourse, investment grade, certified green bond for utilisation of financing an offshore wind farm asset under construction in the UK.
The Walney Extension offshore wind farm is located off the coast of Walney Island in Cumbria and is expected to be fully commissioned in the second half of 2018.