Each year, GTR’s editorial team selects the market’s Best Deals from the previous 12 months.
The winning deals are chosen from submissions sent to GTR, and feature a mix of trade, commodities, supply chain and export finance transactions.
Congratulations to those behind these 16 deals, which were chosen as the top transactions from 2022.
- Amunet wind farm
- Angola rural electrification project
- Carbonado Energy documentary credit facility
- Egypt Green Line electric railway
- End-to-end financing for Gap Inc supplier
- Golden Plains wind farm
- Import of agricultural machinery into Ukraine
- Kenoil Marine Services digital trade
- PVH Corp supply chain finance
- Renault-eGT supply chain finance
- SK On Hungary EV batteries
- Trafigura ECA-backed loan for gas in German
- Volaris aircraft trade finance
- Water for all
- Wheat inventory finance in Uzbekistan
- Wrightbus trade loan
Financing innovations underpin Egypt wind farm deal
- Deal name: Amunet wind farm
- Borrower: Amunet Wind Power Company SAE
- Amount: US$800mn
- Lenders: Commercial International Bank, Gulf International Bank, International Finance Corporation, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Standard Chartered, SMBC Nikko Capital Markets Limited, SMBC, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank
- ECA: Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (Nexi)
- Law firms: Al Tamimi & Company; Hadef & Partners; Helmy Hamza and Partners; Maples and Calder (Cayman); Milbank; Momo-o; Matsuo & Namba; Nishimura & Asahi; Shalakany Law Office; Walkers
- Tenor: 18.5 years
- Date signed: November 2022
Unlike other renewable energy projects, the participants in this deal to finance the construction of a wind farm in Egypt focus not so much on the obvious climate and energy security benefits, but more so on a unique financing structure and the precedent it establishes.
According to Milbank, the law firm that submitted the deal, the funding breaks new ground because it is the first co-financing between Japan’s export credit agencies and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the financing arm of the World Bank.
Because the IFC has preferred creditor status in World Bank member countries, it receives preferential access to foreign currency from the host government should a currency incontrovertibility event arise. Milbank says this has historically prevented some ECAs from co-financing projects with the IFC and other members of the World Bank.
“In order to address this issue, we were involved in intense negotiations to create bespoke and complex intercreditor and preferred creditor arrangements to reflect each agency lenders’ requirements,” says the submission. Indeed, the deal had input from a range of law firms in several jurisdictions, which attests to a sustained and international effort to get the deal across the line.
The arrangement is also innovative due to Nexi’s coverage of interest rate hedging provided by commercial banks. The submission says this was “critical for the financing” due to the lack of long-dated interest rate hedging from international and Egyptian lenders.
“Again, this represents a ground-breaking moment in the market since the product will become very useful in emerging markets where there is limited or no commercial bank appetite to cover interest rate hedges,” Milbank says.
Another benefit of the deal is the low cost of the electricity it will generate. According to the submission, power will be sold to the Egyptian grid at US$0.30 per kilowatt hour – the lowest rate in Africa and one of the lowest in the world.
Major renewable project powers Angola
- Deal name: Angola rural electrification project
- Borrower: Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Angola
- Amount: €1.2bn
- MLAs: AKA Ausfuhrkredit-Gesellschaft, Commerzbank, DZ Bank, ING Bank, Santander, Standard Chartered
- Lead arranger: Kommunalkredit Austria
- Agent: Commerzbank Finance
- & Covered Bond
- ECAs: Euler Hermes (fronting ECA); reinsurance from two other ECAs
- Law firms: Baker McKenzie; Norton Rose Fulbright
- Tenor: Up to 21 years
- Date signed: November 2022
One of the largest economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, Angola is still in need of widespread access to electricity.
This electrification project will see the construction of solar-powered electricity generation solutions across 60 sites in five provinces. Standard Chartered says the deal will provide electricity to 203,000 households across rural Angola.
The deal contributes to Angola’s long-term plans to provide access to electricity to the majority of its population by 2025 and will involve the implementation of hybrid photovoltaic generation systems and the expansion of the electrical grid with new distribution grids.
Standard Chartered was green loan co-ordinator, mandated lead arranger, bookrunner, structuring bank and original lender on the €1.2bn Euler Hermes-backed syndicated facility for Angola’s Ministry of Finance.
Euler Hermes is the fronting export credit agency (ECA), with reinsurance provided by two other ECAs. It is the largest Euler Hermes-supported sovereign financing in Sub-Saharan Africa to date.
The deal also qualifies as a green loan according to the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles, as well as complying with the Equator Principles and the International Finance Corporation’s environmental and social standards.
“We are thrilled to complete the financing of this important renewable project,” says Yoshi Ichikawa, head of structured export finance for Europe.
Standard Chartered says the deal features “out-of-box structuring” via the connection it makes between a Portuguese engineering, procurement and construction contractor and the German supply chain in the renewable sector.
The bank adds that the deal was carried out rapidly – 12 months from the mandate award – for a project of its size.
Fuelling energy procurement structures in South Africa
- Deal name: Carbonado Energy documentary credit facility
- Borrower: Carbonado Energy
- Amount: US$100mn revolving
- Lender: Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)
- Tenor: 12-month availability period
- Date of signing: March 2022
This documentary credit facility by Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) for South Africa’s Carbonado Energy enabled the independent fuel trader to enhance its trading ability and cash flow effectiveness in an innovative way, without any balance sheet impact or need for additional layers of security typically associated with letters of credit (LCs).
Carbonado Energy, which has been trading since 2011, purchases crude and petroleum products from a host of international suppliers, which it then imports into South Africa and sells to fuel majors.
This practice typically requires a bank-issued documentary LC, the issuance of which generally necessitates advanced security, frequently in the form of cash, which many traders do not have – and even when they do, they would prefer to use to further grow their business instead of ceding their working capital to a bank.
To ensure no negative balance sheet impact and fully contextualise RMB’s risk exposure, the bank formulated a US$100mn revolving solution that required a rigorous process of understanding every detail of the supply and procure procedures, all the parties involved, shipping schedules, price calculations, delivery times and necessary documentation. RMB crucially also secured payment undertakings from the offtakers to mitigate the bank’s exposure. With this information, RMB was able to transfer the credit risk away from the trader to the offtakers, and issue LCs to the international suppliers.
“This solution has allowed Carbonado Energy to grow in its ability to import larger cargoes while managing the volatile oil price spikes in recent times,” says Louis du Plessis, RMB’s head of trade finance. “Furthermore, the self-liquidating structure allows the company to pay global suppliers with the inward funds of the offtakers, thus creating the potential not only to scale the solution but also allowing offtakers to contribute to enterprise development.”
The bank says the facility will allow Carbonado to import approximately US$1bn-worth of product in a 12-month period.
Egypt on track for “landmark” high-speed rail line
- Deal name: Egypt Green Line electric railway
- Borrower: National Authority for Tunnels, Egypt
- Amount: €1.99bn
- Initial MLAs: Bayerische Landesbank, Crédit Agricole CIB, Deutsche Bank, Santander
- MLAs: Commerzbank, DZ Bank, Helaba, LBBW, HSBC Bank Middle East, Standard Chartered, UniCredit
- Lead arranger: KfW Ipex-Bank
- ECA: Euler Hermes
- Law firms: Ashurst; White & Case
- Tenor: 19 years
- Date signed: December 2022
This deal supports Egypt’s first high-speed, electrified main rail line, connecting the port cities of Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea to Marsa Matrouh and Alexandria on the Mediterranean to create a Suez Canal-style train link.
The €1.99bn Euler Hermes-covered facility is a “landmark” transaction in the export credit agency (ECA) space in Africa, Crédit Agricole CIB and Deutsche Bank both note. It also forms part of one of the single biggest orders ever for Siemens.
The deal backs 660km of a total 1,800km of track for the Green Line railway, which will transport people and goods, and is set to rank as the sixth-largest high-speed rail system in the world.
Siemens Mobility will provide high-speed and regional trains, locomotives, rail infrastructure and related services, under supervision of the National Authority for Tunnels. The transaction is guaranteed by the Egyptian Ministry of Transport.
More than 15,000 local jobs will be created, says Crédit Agricole, and the rail line will transport more than 30 million people per year. It will also cut carbon emissions by 70% compared to current car or bus transport.
A total of 12 funding banks are involved, with Bayerische Landesbank, Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and Santander acting as initial mandated lead arrangers (MLAs).
Commerzbank, DZ Bank, Helaba, LBBW, HSBC Bank Middle East, Standard Chartered and UniCredit were MLAs.
Crédit Agricole was also joint co-ordinator, documentation bank and joint bookrunner. Bayerische Landesbank, Deutsche Bank and Santander were bookrunners, while Deutsche Bank was also joint co-ordinator and environmental and social co-ordinator.
A spokesperson for Crédit Agricole says the transaction shows the bank’s “market-leading position in ECA-supported financing in Egypt”.
The buyer credit facility is structured as two tranches, including a 19-year floating rate tranche and a 17-year fixed Africa commercial interest reference rate tranche provided by the German authorities, with refinancing structured through KfW.
An integrated purchase order and supply chain finance solution
- Deal name: End-to-end financing for Gap Inc supplier
- Borrower: Gap Inc
- Lenders: Citi, Stenn
- Tenor: 180 days
- Date signed: September 2022
After the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities deep in the supply chains of corporates worldwide, bolstering the financial resilience of suppliers has become a top priority – but getting funding to where it’s needed is a challenge.
In this winning deal, Citi partnered with Stenn, a fintech platform for small and medium enterprise funding, to create an innovative end-to-end structure that links together pre-shipment and supply chain finance for a US-based supplier to Gap Inc, thereby extending financing earlier and deeper into the apparel company’s supply chain.
This deal was a stand-out because it demonstrates Citi’s ability to support integrated financing across the entire supply chain lifecycle, from purchase order to approved invoices. It also marked the first Citi transaction to be executed via the Trade Information Network (TIN) – a multi-bank platform where corporate clients and their suppliers can submit and verify purchase orders and invoices to financiers of their choice.
Leveraging the funding and operational visibility provided by the TIN platform, Stenn provided the supplier with purchase order financing to fund the production of Gap Inc’s orders. As the order moved into the post-shipment phase, the supplier then received funding via Gap’s Citi-provided supply chain finance programme.
“Gap Inc was pleased to refrain from using its own balance sheet to pre-pay its supplier and was also able to extend payment terms while ensuring the supplier had access to competitive financing that met its working capital requirements,” says Citi.
Fully merchant financing for giant Golden Plains wind farm
- Deal name: Golden Plains wind farm
- Borrower: TagEnergy Australia
- Amount: A$725mn
- Lenders: Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Bank of China, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, EKF, KfW Ipex-Bank, Mizuho Bank
- Law firm: King & Wood Mallesons
- Tenor: 5 years (tranche A);
- 8 years (tranche B)
- Date signed: November 2022
For a country blessed with boundless renewable energy sources, Australia is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels for its electricity needs.
The Golden Plains wind farm – set to become the largest in the country when completed – seeks to change that by powering over 750,000 homes through the production of more than 4,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy annually, says KfW Ipex-Bank’s submission. The state of Victoria, where the project is situated, sources less than 10% of its energy from renewable sources, according to government figures.
KfW says the wind farm has planning approval for up to 228 turbines, with a current design comprising 215 turbines across 16,739 hectares and advances in turbine technology boosting generation without increasing the height of the wind turbines.
The financing has been signed on a fully merchant basis, meaning the lenders have agreed to come on board before offtake agreements have been signed, a first for an Australian wind farm. Once power purchase agreements have been struck, the facility allows the debt to be re-sized.
In addition to an international group of commercial lenders, the project also has direct lending support from Denmark’s export credit agency, EKF, and the Australian Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), a government-owned financier.
“We are particularly pleased to enable these commercial banks to reach financial close on their first fully merchant wind farm,” the CEFC’s head of wind investment Joe Harber said of the deal last year. “By filling this significant financing gap for developers, CEFC capital is supporting the accelerated development of critical clean energy projects essential to our decarbonisation.”
EKF’s chief commercial officer Peter Boesko adds: “It’s an ambitious project that we’re really happy to be involved in.”
War-torn Ukraine keeps vital agri commodities flowing
- Deal name: Import of agricultural machinery into Ukraine
- Borrower: Ukrgasbank
- Amount: US$4mn
- Lender: ING Bank
- Guarantee: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- Tenor: 11 months with option to extend
- Date signed: May 2022
This winning deal handed a lifeline to Ukraine’s vital agricultural sector just weeks after the onset of war. Agriculture accounts for around 11% of Ukraine’s GDP, as well as 20% of its labour force and nearly 40% of exports, and the invasion of Russia in February 2022 posed a potentially devastating threat to the country’s ability to harvest and export produce to trading partners around the world.
In March last year, fears over food security prompted the UN to issue an urgent call to action to development banks, emphasising the importance of maintaining supply to countries dependent on Ukrainian wheat, corn, sunflower products and other agricultural commodities.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) responded to the crisis in April by expanding its trade facilitation programme for Ukraine to €316mn, an increase of 40%, before closing this transaction in May, rolling over a €4mn guarantee.
The facility allowed agricultural machinery distributor LLC Technotorg to import goods from Italy, with the EBRD taking on 100% of the political and commercial payment risk of Ukrgasbank, the issuing bank. The guarantee was issued in favour of ING Bank.
Concluded in the face of “significant political and economic trade barriers”, the EBRD says the deal helps Ukrainian farmers to continue growing, harvesting and ultimately exporting crops.
“The impact of the guarantee was far-reaching, including removing bottlenecks to allow Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe, to meet international demand from trade partners at a reasonable cost,” it says in its submission. “In particular, it facilitated the supply of vital commodities to economies such as Egypt where issues of food security persist.”
The deal also helped Ukraine continue generating capital inflows and maintain correspondent banking relationships.
Singapore bunkering market goes digital in double first
- Deal name: Kenoil Marine Services digital trade
- Borrower: Kenoil Marine Services
- Amount: US$9mn
- Lender: DBS
- Platform: Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex)
- Tenor: 90 days
- Date signed: April 2022
This transaction, facilitated by DBS for Singapore-based bunker supplier Kenoil Marine Services, is a double first. Not only is it the first time Kenoil has used an electronic version of a bunker delivery note, but it is also the first transaction to take place on the Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex) platform.
Launched in June 2022, SGTraDex is the result of a public-private partnership involving banks, traders and others. The platform improves transparency while lowering costs associated with trade transactions, using APIs to facilitate secure data sharing between participants.
In Kenoil’s case, the transaction follows DBS’ introduction of an electronic bunker delivery note (eBDN). Bunker fuel buyers can submit orders via SGTraDex, at which point Kenoil sends an eBDN and a financing request to the lender. The platform collects independently verified ticket data, and the transaction is processed much faster than if paper documents were being used.
“Access to secure, trusted and real-time data will support the long-term growth of trade and trade finance,” says Sriram Muthukrishnan, group head of product management of global transaction services at DBS. “With the digitalisation of the bunker delivery note, financing and payment for the underlying trade can be completed efficiently and on a near immediate basis.”
In future, DBS says working with a “trusted platform” such as SGTraDex means banks are likely to increase financing limits to Kenoil.
The transaction also reduces Kenoil’s exposure to potential fraud risks, DBS adds, noting that physical documents can be more easily manipulated to try and obtain financing illicitly – a common theme in the string of fraud scandals that hit Singapore’s commodity finance market in 2020.
Incentivising improvements in both environmental and social metrics
- Deal name: PVH Corp supply chain finance
- Borrower: PVH Corp
- Lender: HSBC
- Tenor: 12 months
- Date signed: June 2022
In recent years, sustainability-linked supply chain finance has grown in popularity as corporates seek to incentivise their suppliers to achieve shared ESG goals. This transaction, carried out by HSBC for apparel giant PVH Corp, stood out as particularly noteworthy due to the breadth and ambition of the objectives to which the financing is linked.
Under the programme, suppliers to the American clothing company, which owns brands including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, get access to early payments based on a set of science-based environmental targets as well as a series of social elements. These include a healthy and safe working environment, compensation and benefits, and employment issues, such as the eradication of forced labour, child labour, harassment and abuse. In its submission, HSBC says that this is the first programme of its kind with a human rights component.
The progress of PVH Corp’s suppliers, located in diverse markets such as China, Portugal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Vietnam, is measured against PVH’s own human rights and environmental supply chain standards.
Performance assessment standards are calculated using industry-aligned tools including the Social Labor Convergence Program, which tracks a facility’s performance against human rights and labour standards, and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Facility Environmental Module, which assesses environmental standards.
“The availability of accessible financing is pivotal to ensuring suppliers are empowered to invest back into their businesses and people, and contribute to the collective goal of creating an innovative and responsible global supply chain,” says HSBC.
A first for cross-border Rmb green supply chain finance
- Deal name: Renault-eGT supply chain finance
- Obligor: Renault SAS
- Supplier: eGT New Energy Automotive
- Amount: Rmb1.60bn (approx. US$230mn)
- Sole lead arranger and programme administrator: Crédit Agricole CIB
- Law firm: Hankun Law Offices (for participation agreement)
- Tenor: 60 days
- Date signed: December 2022
The automotive sector has been particularly hard hit by the supply chain challenges induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the turmoil continuing amid lockdowns in key Chinese manufacturing and transportation hubs.
This comes as demand for electric vehicles is surging as a growing number of countries pledge to phase out internal combustion engines to cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
GTR has awarded this winning deal for its support for electric vehicle exports against this challenging backdrop.
The reverse forfaiting programme arranged by Crédit Agricole CIB supported an underlying export volume of 7,000 electric vehicles per month from Chinese manufacturer eGT to Renault in Europe for global sales and distribution, strengthening the China-Europe trade corridor and better positioning the carmaker to keep up with customer demand.
Another factor that makes this transaction a winner is its innovative approach to enabling the exporter to mitigate foreign exchange risks, with Renault paying eGT in cross-border renminbi (Rmb) – a solution that Crédit Agricole says is the “first of its kind ever seen in the market”.
Scalability is also one of this deal’s strengths. It was upsized from an original amount of Rmb1.1bn to Rmb1.6bn within six months after launch thanks to a strong market response. Two European banks and one Chinese bank are currently participating in the facility, and Crédit Agricole says it expects more banks to join in the near future.
“The facility was closed with innovation, scalability and ESG features in mind, enabling our clients to grow electric vehicle export volumes substantially under a very challenging operational environment during lockdown periods,” the bank says.
Hungary ramps up electric vehicle battery production with multi-ECA deal
- Deal name: SK On Hungary EV batteries
- Borrower: SK On Hungary
- Amount: US$2bn
- MLAs and initial lenders: ANZ, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole CIB, HSBC, MUFG, SMBC, Société Générale
- Facility agents: MUFG (Kexim and K-Sure), Crédit Agricole CIB (Euler Hermes)
- ECAs: Euler Hermes, Kexim, K-Sure
- Law firm: Milbank
- Tenor: 7 years
- Date signed: October 2022
This multi-ECA deal enables a major expansion of Europe’s capacity for producing electric vehicle batteries.
Bringing together seven international lenders and ECAs from Germany and South Korea, the US$2bn loan will enable SK On – an affiliate of Korean conglomerate SK Group – to construct a manufacturing facility in Ivansca, around 50km south of Hungarian capital Budapest.
The project aims to meet “soaring demand” for electric vehicle batteries as the energy transition accelerates, Crédit Agricole CIB says. An October 2022 report by McKinsey estimates such demand will rise by 30% by 2030, supported by a value chain generating more than US$400bn per year in revenue.
This facility – SK On’s second in Hungary and the country’s third – will have a capacity of 30GWh.
“This level of annual capacity is sufficient to power about 430,000 cars,” Crédit Agricole CIB says in its submission.
“It is expected to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and support global transition to a low-carbon economy.”
US$800mn of the deal is subject to 80% cover from Euler Hermes, while K-Sure is providing 95% cover for another US$700mn. US$300mn comes from a direct loan from Kexim, which also provides a 100% guarantee for a further US$200mn.
The deal has also been structured in line with the Loan Market Association’s Green Loan Principles, eligible as proceeds relate to low-carbon transportation.
Its green credentials are assessed through annual reporting of battery production volume, number of electric vehicles supported and the volume of carbon emissions avoided as a result.
Trafigura lands mega ECA-backed deal to supply US LNG to Germany
- Deal name: Trafigura ECA-backed loan for gas in Germany
- Borrower: Trafigura
- Amount: US$3bn
- Initial MLAs: Deutsche Bank, SMBC
- MLAs: Barclays, Commerzbank, DZ Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Lloyds Bank, Santander, UniCredit
- Lead arrangers: Crédit Agricole CIB, Helaba, ING Bank, KfW Ipex-Bank, Natixis, UBS Switzerland
- Arrangers: DBS Bank, IKB Deutsche Industriebank, LBBW, Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, Nord/LB, OCBC Bank, ODDO BHF, Rabobank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank
- ECA: Euler Hermes
- Law firm: Allen & Overy
- Tenor: Four years
- Date signed: October 2022 signing; December 2022 syndication completed
Towards the end of last year, global commodity trader Trafigura agreed a US$3bn four-year loan, partly guaranteed by Euler Hermes, the German export credit agency (ECA), to deliver “substantial volumes” of gas into the European gas grid.
The syndicated deal, which was jointly arranged and underwritten by Deutsche Bank and SMBC, brought in 25 banks and was 1.6 times oversubscribed.
In its submission, Deutsche Bank says that “the deal teams secured the financing and funding for this strategic commercial contract in a very short time”.
The loan is secured in part by the German government’s untied loan guarantee programme, by which its ECA can provide cover for activities that increase the country’s supply security of raw materials.
Deutsche Bank and SMBC acted as initial mandated lead arrangers (MLAs), underwriters and bookrunners, while the MLAs were Barclays, Commerzbank, DZ Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Lloyds Bank, Santander and UniCredit.
The lead arrangers were Crédit Agricole CIB, Helaba, ING Bank, KfW Ipex-Bank, Natixis and UBS Switzerland.
Under the terms of the agreement, Trafigura will supply gas from its global portfolio and US LNG contracts to Securing Energy for Europe – the gas business formerly known as Gazprom Germania and now under the long-term administration of the German government.
The first gas delivery took place on November 1 and will be delivered over a period of four years.
“We are proud to be contributing to Europe’s energy security by supplying this significant volume of gas to Germany backed by our extensive portfolio and long-term US LNG contracts,” says Richard Holtum, head of gas and power trading for Trafigura.
A ground-breaking sustainability-linked pre-delivery aircraft financing
- Deal name: Volaris aircraft trade finance
- Borrower: Volaris
- Amount: US$175mn
- Lenders: Bancomext, Santander
- Tenor: 5 years
- Date signed: June 2022
Five years have passed since the last time an aircraft finance transaction was awarded a GTR Best Deal, reflecting the tough times the airline industry has gone through recently.
Normality has now resumed with this winning transaction, arranged by Banco Santander, that provided a tailor-made solution to finance the purchase of 13 new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft for Volaris, a low-cost carrier that has recently become Mexico’s largest airline by passenger figures.
The deal, which Santander says in its submission is the first aircraft pre-delivery payment (PDP) financing provided by a bank since the Covid-19 crisis, involved Santander acting as the sole structuring bank, lead arranger and syndication co-ordinator, with 50% of the transaction being distributed to Bancomext.
“The PDP structure was heavily tested during the Covid-19 crisis and has demonstrated its resilience amid the largest crisis in the airline sector in recent decades,” says Santander. “This transaction supports Volaris with a tested structure at a crucial moment for the airline sector.”
This deal also marks the first time that sustainability objectives have been linked to a PDP facility, setting a wider example for the aviation sector and demonstrating that sustainability-linked financing can play a role in supporting aircraft purchases while promoting environmental stewardship.
Under the terms of the transaction, financing is tied to Volaris’ greenhouse gas emissions KPIs and targets, which have been assessed by ESG ratings firm Sustainalytics.
Côte d’Ivoire to benefit from vast clean water project
- Deal name: Water for all
- Borrower: Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Economy and Finance
- Amount: €220mn
- MLA: KfW Ipex-Bank
- Lenders: KfW Ipex-Bank, SEK
- ECAs/insurers: EKN as front insurer; Atradius DSB as reinsurer
- Law firms: Bruski Smeets & Lange Rechtsanwälte; Chauveau & Associés; KSK Société Civile Professionnelle d’Avocats
- Financial advisor: Bluebird Finance & Projects
- Tenor: 16 years (ECA facility); 5 years (commercial facility)
- Date signed: August 2022
The magnitude of this export finance transaction makes it a worthy Best Deal winner. The €220mn loan, including a €190mn facility backed by Sweden’s EKN, will be used to install clean water systems across over 1,000 villages in Côte d’Ivoire.
Once complete, the network of pipes, boreholes and pumps, as well as solar panels in smaller villages, is due to bring drinking water to 3 million people – approximately a tenth of the population of the West African country.
Israel-based Bluebird, which has now closed financing deals worth US$1.7bn for African projects over the last seven years, acts as financial advisor. It says in its submission it spent nearly three years carrying out environmental and social due diligence, while ensuring the project would benefit from long-term maintenance.
“This landmark deal is the pure essence of our work: an export finance deal which will enable clean and accessible drinking water for 3 million people,” says Bluebird CEO Ram Shalita.
Frankfurt-headquartered KfW Ipex-Bank provides financing for 55% of the project and acts as mandated lead arranger and facility agent, while Swedish state-owned SEK provides the remaining 45%.
Per Edlundh, director for export and project finance at SEK, previously told GTR the transaction was the first time the bank had taken on risk in Côte d’Ivoire, but that a similar structure “may uccessfully be used in future deals in the region”.
Baran International, a subsidiary of Israel-based contractor Baran Group, is the main engineering and construction firm, as well as the exporter. The borrower is Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Finance, while the buyer is the country’s Ministry of Hydraulics.
ITFC aids state wheat purchases in Uzbekistan
- Deal name: Wheat inventory finance in Uzbekistan
- Borrower: Republic of Uzbekistan
- Amount: US$100mn
- Lenders: Islamic Development Bank, Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), Opec Fund for International Development
- Tenor: Up to 24 months
- Date signed: November 2022
This syndicated murabaha deal between the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the government of Uzbekistan will help the landlocked Central Asian nation secure a year-long supply of wheat and wheat products to the domestic market while allowing private market exports to continue.
Uzbekistan yields around 6 to 7 million metric tonnes (mmt) of wheat each year, accounting for 1.9% of its GDP, according to the ITFC’s submission. Almost 2mmt of that will be purchased by the Uzbek government through this deal.
“The rationale for the financing through the current deal is to help the government in purchasing the goods locally when they are in abundance during harvest season, store them appropriately in elevators and warehouses and release/sell them periodically and when required to the market to ensure the continuous and uninterrupted supply of wheat throughout the year,” the ITFC says. The agreement also means farmers get paid immediately upon purchase of the goods by the government.
The deal implicitly includes an international trade element because the security provided by the financing will allow private actors, once wheat is released, to sell it to neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan without compromising domestic supply or price stability, or prompting the reintroduction of export bans.
The arrangement helps maintain food security in Uzbekistan during a period of supply disruptions following the war in Ukraine and represents a re-entry of the ITFC – the trade finance arm of the Islamic Development Bank – to the Commonwealth of Independent States after a prolonged absence. It is also the lender’s first syndication in Uzbekistan.
- Deal name: Wrightbus trade loan
- Borrower: Bamford Bus Company trading as Wrightbus
- Amount: £18mn trade loan and £8mn performance bond
- Lender: Barclays
- ECA: UK Export Finance (UKEF)
- Tenor: 12 months with potential to expand to 3 years
- Date signed: May 2022
Wrightbus, a Northern Irish bus manufacturer, has pivoted from diesel to electric and hydrogen vehicles since British businessman Jo Bamford took over the company in 2019. Wrightbus introduced the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker bus in 2020, and also produces electric-powered single and double-decker buses.
In this historic deal from last year, it secured an order for 120 double-decker battery-electric buses from the Republic of Ireland’s National Transport Authority.
The 120 buses are part of a framework agreement which provides for the sale of up to 800 zero-emission buses over a period of five years. The first buses are expected to enter passenger service this year.
“These will be the first battery-electric double-deck buses to be added to the national bus fleet in Ireland and their addition will deliver a significant uplift in the proportion of low- or zero-emission buses within that fleet,” Wrightbus outlines in a release on its website.
To assist the company in fulfilling its purchase order, Barclays stepped in to provide an £18mn trade loan backed by an 80% guarantee under the UK Export Finance (UKEF) export working capital scheme, together with an £8mn performance bond, supported by an 80% guarantee under UKEF’s bond support scheme.
“The contract highlights the significance of the Republic of Ireland as an export market for GB and NI companies post-Brexit,” says the Barclays team in its deal submission. “This substantial order allowed the company to implement production efficiencies which will help the business as they continue with their ambitious growth plans in the UK and abroad.”
The bank adds that Wrightbus’ exports are anticipated to reach 40% of turnover within the next three years across a variety of geographies as the UK and the rest of the world pursues their essential low carbon public transport transition plans.
“The funding has also enabled recruitment to grow from 56 to 1,000 employees recently with another 400 jobs set to be created in 2023,” Barclays says.