DIF completes refinancing of French solar portfolio

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DIF completes refinancing of French solar portfolio

DIF and its co-shareholders Caisse des Dépôts and Solairedirect complete refinancing of a 34 MWp ground-mounted solar PV portfolio.

DIF, Caisse des Dépôts (CDC) and Solairedirect have completed the refinancing of a portfolio of 4 operational ground-mounted solar PV projects located in the south-east of France, taking advantage of their strong operational track record since inception as well as the prevailing competitive debt markets. The projects, originally developed by Solairedirect were later partly sold to CDC and DIF as part of a portfolio. The portfolio is 35.25% owned by the DIF Infrastructure III fund, with CDC owning 49.75% and Solairedirect the remaining 15%. All 4 projects have been operational for more than 5 years.

Auxifip (part of the Crédit Agricole group), The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation acting as co-MLAs, together with BPIFrance Financement as participant, provided approximately €45 million (US$48.4 million) of senior debt facilities to refinance the existing debt. The refinancing provides for an extraordinary distribution to the shareholders in the portfolio, while still allowing for a strong cash yield from the projects over their remaining life.

The sponsors were advised by Astris Finance (financial), Clifford Chance (legal - tax structure and financing) LPA-CGR (legal - corporate and project DD) and Noveo Finance (hedging).

The lenders were advised by Herbert Smith Freehills (legal), OST (technical), Deloitte (model audit) and MARSH (insurance).

For DIF in France, this follows the refinancing in 2016 of 2 portfolios of solar PV assets of 31.2 MWp and 20.1 MWp.

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