Helping to meet long-term demand for electricity, five banks are providing $300 million in senior secured credit facilities for two operating power blocks at Entegra Power Group’s natural gas-fired Gila River Power Station in Arizona. WestLB AG’s New York branch, GE (NYSE: GE) and Union Bank acted as bookrunners, and together with BNP Paribas and CIT also served as joint lead arrangers.
The credit facilities -- a six-year term loan and six-year revolver to be used for working capital and letters of credit – are for merchant power block 3 and contracted power block 4 of the Gila River Power Station, located in Gila Bend, 70 miles southwest of Phoenix. Each of the 536-megawatt power blocks, operating since 2003, uses two GE 7FA combined-cycle gas and GE steam turbines. Gila River serves the Arizona, New Mexico, southern Nevada and southern California markets. The credit facilities support Gila River Power, LLC, wholly owned by Entegra. Entegra is using the credit facilities’ proceeds to repay debt and address general corporate purposes.
Mike Schuyler, Entegra’s president and chief executive officer, said: “This financing is an important component of Entegra’s value optimization program and demonstrates the market’s confidence in the company and its assets.”
Commented Martin Livingston, managing director in WestLB’s Global Energy group in New York: “In a market dominated by fully contracted new-build power plants, WestLB welcomed the chance to co-lead the Gila River financing with its significant merchant component. Not only are we willing to commit our own capital to such well-structured hybrid transactions, we continue to find that there is a strong core of lenders willing to provide liquidity to these transactions in broader syndications."
“Our ability to lead-arrange and lend significant sums for merchant power plants, like one of the power blocks at Gila River, reflects our confidence in recovering electricity markets and ability to assess the underlying value of assets,” said Matt O’Connor, a managing director and leader of the Financial Institutions Group at GE Energy Financial Services, whose affiliate GE Capital Markets, Inc., acted as joint lead arranger.
Union Bank, part of MUFG Power & Utilities, is serving as the administrative agent for the deal. Pascal Uttinger, a vice president in that group, said: “We are pleased to see this important transaction, which has both contracted and merchant revenue components, not only be well received but over-subscribed in the project finance bank market.”
Additional financial details of the transaction were not provided.
About Entegra Power Group
Entegra Power Group owns, operates and markets electric power from highly efficient natural gas-fueled power plants to wholesale customers in the southeastern and southwestern United States. The energy assets owned by Entegra are a 50 percent interest in the Gila River Power Station in Gila Bend, Arizona, the Union Power Station in El Dorado, Arkansas, and the Trans-Union Pipeline which flows gas from Louisiana to Arkansas. Entegra’s corporate headquarters is based in Tampa, Florida. The Tampa headquarters is also home to a full service energy marketing and trading organization, which manages all of the commercial energy activities associated with the Entegra energy assets.
About WestLB Structured Finance
WestLB develops sophisticated structured solutions through a team of highly experienced investment banking professionals. WestLB has a long-standing presence in the corporate, structured and project financing sectors supporting clients' needs with capital commitments, advisory services and innovative financing solutions. The bank’s global relationships, coupled with its unique understanding of local economies, industries and cultures, help WestLB bankers consistently deliver high quality advice and service.
WestLB AG (westlb.com) is one of Germany's leading financial services providers and offers the full range of products and services of a universal bank, focusing on lending, corporates and structured finance, capital market and private equity products and transaction services. WestLB has total assets of €191.5 billion, as of December 31, 2010.
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services’ experts invest globally with a long-term view, backed by the best of GE’s technical know-how, financial strength and rigorous risk management, across the capital spectrum, in one of the world’s most capital-intensive industries, energy.
GE Energy Financial Services (geenergyfinancialservices.com) helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships and optimization of its approximately $20 billion in assets. GE Energy Financial Services is based in Stamford, Connecticut.
GE (ge.com) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.
About Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) is one of the world’s largest and most diversified financial groups in the world. The group comprises five primary operating companies: The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS Co., Ltd., and Mitsubishi UFJ Lease and Financial Company Limited. MUFG’s services include commercial banking, trust banking securities, credit cards, consumer finance, asset management, leasing and many more fields of financial services. The group has the largest overseas network of any Japanese bank, comprising offices and subsidiaries in more than 40 countries, including San Francisco-based Union Bank, N.A. MUFG is one of the world’s largest lenders to the project finance industry and includes 30-plus years arranging both corporate and project finance transactions with expertise in construction, regulatory, and market issues.
BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking
BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking employs around 20,000 people in over 50 countries and services 14,000 corporate and institutional clients worldwide.
BNP Paribas CIB excels in:
Derivatives - where it is one of the leading global players in rates, credit, forex, commodity and equity derivatives
Capital markets - where it is one of the top European houses in both ECM and DCM (bond, securitization, convertibles and equity issuance)
Structured finance - where it is amongst the leaders in acquisition, export, project, energy and commodity finance globally cib.bnpparibas.com/.
About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas (bnpparibas.com) is one of the strongest banks in the world*. The Group has a presence in more than 80 countries and more than 200,000 employees, including more than 160,000 in Europe. It ranks highly in its three core activities: Retail Banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. In Europe, the Group has four domestic markets (Belgium, France, Italy and Luxembourg) and BNP Paribas Personal Finance is the leader in consumer lending. BNP Paribas is rolling out its integrated retail banking model across the Europe-Mediterranean zone and boasts a large network in the western part of the United States. In its Corporate & Investment Banking and Investment Solutions activities, BNP Paribas also enjoys top positions in Europe, a strong presence in the Americas and solid and fast-growing businesses in Asia.
*Rated AA by Standard & Poor's i.e. 3rd rating level on a scale of 22.
Founded in 1908, CIT (cit.com) is a bank holding company with more than $35 billion in finance and leasing assets. It provides financing and leasing capital to its more than one million small business and middle market clients and their customers across more than 30 industries. CIT maintains leadership positions in small business and middle market lending, factoring, retail finance, aerospace, equipment and rail leasing, and global vendor finance.