Bluefield £217 million refinancing deal an ‘important milestone’

Norfolk Solar Farm (pictured) is one of a large number of operational assets within BSIF's UK portfolio. Image: BSIF.

Bluefield Solar Income Fund has secured a £217 million refinancing deal which its chairman John Rennocks labelled an “important milestone” for the company.

The refinancing has been struck with both Aviva Investors and RBS and comprises £187 million of long-term financing and the creation of a new £30 million revolving credit facility.

It will see Bluefield fully refinance its existing short-term £200 million amended and restated facility agreement with both RBS and Investec, which closed in January this year.

The long-term facility, to be provided by Aviva Investors, has been arranged in two tranches. £125 million will be supplied under a fixed rate, while the remaining £62 million has been index-linked.

Both tranches are fully amortising over 18 years, and the LTF is to be held by Bluefield’s subsidiary, Bluefield SIF Investments, in a move which the company said “maximises transparency, offers improved portfolio management flexibility and reduces costs compared to using project-level debt”.

The RCF has been supplied by RBS for a period of three years, and the entire refinancing has been secured against a selection of Bluefield’s asset portfolio.

Commenting on the refinancing, Rennocks said the “favourable” timing of the agreement had enabled Bluefield to strike a “highly attractive” fixed rate (of 287.5bps) and index rate (70bps).

“Over the past three years the company has patiently built its portfolio with a focus on being able to introduce the right type of financing at the right time. Moreover, in Aviva Investors, we have found a financing partner who has worked with the company’s investment adviser to design a facility that supports, as opposed to restricts, the company’s investment strategy and aspirations,” he added.

Both RBS and Investec acted as financing advisers for the arrangement. Burges Salmon LLP acted as Bluefield’s investment advisers, while Aviva was advised by Ashurst LLP.