Foresight Solar Fund has secured two major refinancing deals with a total value of £200 million and announced that it has agreed to enter five-year power purchase agreements for all but one of its operational portfolio.
The asset management vehicle had long been pursuing a long-term solution to settle the £150 million short-term acquisition facility it has been using to fuel its UK market shopping spree over the course of 2015.
Foresight has quickly acquired a portfolio of assets with a generation capacity of 338MW spread over 16 separate solar farms, and last month revealed it was close to securing a refinancing package which would help it close its short-term facility.
Last Friday the company confirmed that this was now in place, revealing that it had clinched a £160 million long-term debt facility through both Macquarie Infrastructure Debt Investment Solutions and Santander-owned Abbey National Treasury Services.
The financing comprises a £63 million fixed-rate loan with an 18-year tenor, a £63 million inflation-linked loan again with an 18-year tenor, and a shorter 8-year, £34 million term loan. The expected average interest cost of debt is 2.59%.
Foresight also moved to secure a £40 million short-term revolving acquisition facility from Santander. The three-year facility has been agreed at an interest rate of LIBOR plus 205 basis points and has been earmarked by the company to be used to “take advantage of future pipeline opportunities”.
The company revealed during its financial results last month that it has identified an asset pipeline totalling around 150MW which it intends to pursue over the coming months.
“Given the current favourable market conditions, we believe the facility has been secured at an attractive rate, optimising the capital structure of the Fund and further underpinning returns to investors,” Alex Ohlsson, chairman at Foresight Solar Fund, said.
There was also significant news from Foresight over its current assets after the company disclosed that it had finalised an agreement with a single provider to enter into five-year power purchase agreements for all but one of its existing assets.
The deal has been clinched following a tender process and comes amidst a tumble in UK wholesale electricity prices, which has significantly affected the company’s net asset value. Foresight revealed last month that the trend had wiped around £25 million from its NAV over the course of 2015, with further slides in power prices also forecast by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Earlier this year rival investment firm Bluefield Solar lauded its strategy of securing PPAs for some of its sites after it helped offset the impact of lower wholesale electricity prices on its interim results.