Clifford Chance and Linklaters have acted for the lenders on the structuring and financing of a large West African biomass power plant.
Biovéa Project, which is a 46-Megawatt project located in Aboisso, a town in Côte d’Ivoire, will be the biggest agricultural waste-powered plant in West Africa, generating renewable energy for 1.7 million people every year.
Proparco and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) are the lenders to Biovéa Energie on the project, providing debt financing of EUR 165 million as well as EUR 13 million in grants. This means the two lenders are taking on 77% of the total cost of the project, which has an estimated value of EUR 232 million.
Biovéa Energie, an Ivory Coast company sponsored by French energy company EDF, Meridiam and Biokala, is responsible for the project’s design, development, operation and the transfer of the power plant over a 25-year period. Biokala is the product of a joint venture between Meridiam and African agribusiness SIFCA.
EAIF, which is managed by London and Cape Town-based asset management company Ninety-One, also contributed approximately EUR 30 million in debt financing. EAIF is a company of the private infrastructure development group (PIDG), an organisation which promotes private sector investment in developing countries.
PIDG’s technical assistance team, which deals with grant funding for PIDG companies, contributed a EUR 8 million grant to the project.
Approximately 450,000 tonnes of palm tree waste will be supplied to the power plant, provided by SIFCA’s subsidiary, PalmCi, which is based in the Ivory Coast.
The power plant is expected to contribute to the formation of 500 local employment opportunities while under construction, and over 1,000 jobs when the project is in operation.
Some local farmers, 12,000 of which are currently in PalmCi’s supply chain, will obtain an income increase of 20% via their provision of biomass to the power plant.
Once operational, it is anticipated that the Biovéa Project will prevent emissions equating to approximately 340,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.
The Linklaters team advising the lenders was led by partner Bertrand Andriani and counsel Justin Faye, with partner Pierre Guillot, managing associate Nathanaël Caillard and junior associate Youssef Berrada.
Clifford Chance’s team, advising Biovéa Energie, EDF and Meridiam, included partner Delphine Siino Courtin, who was assisted by senior associate Hugues Martin-Sisteron and counsel Corinne Duvnjak.
The renewables sector in Africa has attracted investment totalling USD 34.7 billion in the last 10 years, with South Africa, Morocco and Egypt leading the way, according to a Linklaters report in May.
GE Renewable Energy announced plans to build two new energy distribution systems in Benin and upgrade three substations in Ivory Coast as a commitment to energy access in West Africa, in 2019.
This article was originally published by International Comparative Legal Guides