Commodity trader Glencore has refinanced and extended its revolving credit facilities (RCFs), despite the restrictions and lockdowns put in place by multiple governments as a result of Covid-19.

The first facility, a US$9.975bn 12-month RCF, was initially launched at US$8bn and closed substantially oversubscribed, raising US$10.75bn. Glencore scaled back subscription levels and ultimately increased the size of the facility, up from the US$9.775bn signed in 2019.

The other, a US$4.65bn five-year RCF, had its term extended to 2025, from 2024 previously.

Both deals have a 12-month extension option. The transactions involved 48 banks and 31 mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners, with HSBC leading as coordinating bank and active bookrunner, alongside Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank and UniCredit as active bookrunners and Barclays as agent of the finance parties.

As most if not all parties acting in the transaction have found themselves required to work from home during the current situation, this deal saw an innovative signing process organised by Clifford Chance, which enabled parties to sign various documents using a wide range of electronic signing methods, including electronic signing platforms and digital signatures, in order to comply with differing legal stances in various jurisdictions.

The law firm says that its team has demonstrated that “a complex transaction with parties from multiple jurisdictions can be successfully completed”, in spite of the restrictions on movement that are currently in force, adding: “This transaction signifies a welcome step towards a wider acceptance of electronic signatures in large-scale syndicated lending where financial institutions are spread across multiple jurisdictions and time zones.”

In these difficult times, the ‘forced digitisation’ of trade continues apace, with law firms increasingly receiving requests from clients about how to deal with the fact that people are working remotely. Speaking to GTR recently, Geoffrey Wynne, partner and head of the trade and export finance group at international law firm Sullivan, said: “We have needed to advise on how to keep transactions up and running, how to maintain them, and in some cases, what amendments needed to be made to reflect the fact that there is no physical contact. We also need to help clients sign and close transactions in the current climate.”