Re-Financing, Increase & Extension of NatWest Loan
2 May 2023
Bluefield Solar Income Fund Limited
('Bluefield Solar' or the 'Company')
Re-financing, increase and extension of £110 million NatWest term loan to £130 million
Bluefield Solar (LON: BSIF), the UK income fund focused on acquiring and managing UK-based renewable energy and storage assets to provide growing dividends for its shareholders whilst furthering the decarbonisation of the energy system, is pleased to announce the successful re-financing of its £110 million three-year term loan with NatWest.
The original loan, 75% hedged with a swap at circa 0.35% over a notional 18-year period, had a maturity of September 2023 and has been increased to £130 million and extended in maturity to December 2039.
Hedging has been put in place for the tenor of the loan on £110 million, at an effective all-in cost of circa 2.7% (being margin and swap rate).
The financing is secured against the UK-based portfolio of 15 operational solar photovoltaic ('PV') plants with a total installed capacity of 64 megawatt peak ('MWp'), acquired in August 2020 using the original £110 million term loan, as well as 16 operational PV plants totalling 75 MWp acquired by the Company prior to 2020. The total portfolio of 139 MWp benefits from attractive subsidies; 29 of the projects are accredited under the Renewable Obligation Certificate ('ROC') regime with tariffs ranging from 1.2 - 2.0 ROCs, while 2 of the projects are accredited under the feed-in-tariff ('FiT') scheme.
The additional debt of £20 million is being used to provide financing for the construction of Yelvertoft, the Company's 48MWp CfD-backed solar PV project in Northamptonshire. Once construction is complete, expected Q4 2023, the Company will review whether to enter hedging arrangements on this tranche.
Following the transaction, the Company's total outstanding debt has increased to £585 million, including £153 million drawn under its Revolving Credit Facility.
Using the Company's 31 December 2022 unaudited net asset value ('NAV') of £870.7 million as a reference, the leverage level of the Company will rise from circa 38% to circa 41% of Gross Asset Value ('GAV').
An updated unaudited NAV, as of 31 March 2023, is expected to be published shortly.
John Scott, Chair of Bluefield Solar, said: "We are delighted to have completed the re-financing of this three-year term loan at an all-in cost materially below current debt rates. Furthermore, it is particularly pleasing that the £20 million increase in the facility is supporting the construction of the Company's first CfD-backed solar PV plant. This re-financing further underpins the Board's confidence in delivering our target FY 2022/23 dividend of not less than 8.40pps (FY 2021/22: 8.20pps)."
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For further information:
Bluefield Partners LLP (Company Investment Adviser)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7078 0020
Numis Securities Limited (Company Broker)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7260 1000
Tel: +44 (0) 1481 742 742
Notes to Editors
About Bluefield Solar
Bluefield Solar is a sterling income fund focused on acquiring and managing renewable energy and storage projects in the UK, to provide long term, growing dividends for its shareholders whilst furthering the decarbonisation of the energy system. Not less than 75% of the Company's gross assets will be invested into UK solar assets. The Company can also invest up to 25% of its gross assets into other technologies, such as wind and storage. The majority of the Company's revenue streams are regulated and non-correlated to short term UK energy market fluctuations. Bluefield Solar owns and operates one of the UK's largest, diversified portfolios of solar assets with a combined installed power capacity in excess of 812 MWp.
Bluefield Solar is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange and is a member of the FTSE 250, classified within the Closed End Investments subsector.
Further information can be viewed at www.bluefieldsif.com
About Bluefield Partners
Bluefield Partners LLP was established in 2009 and is an investment adviser to companies and funds investing in renewable energy infrastructure. It has a proven record in the selection, acquisition and supervision of large-scale energy assets in the UK and Europe. The team has been involved in over £4 billion renewable funds and/or transactions in both the UK and Europe, including over £1 billion in the UK since December 2011.
Bluefield Partners LLP has led the acquisitions of, and currently advises on, over 100 UK based solar PV assets that are agriculturally, commercially or industrially situated. Based in its London office, it is supported by a dedicated and experienced team of investment, legal and portfolio executives. Bluefield Partners LLP was appointed Investment Adviser to Bluefield Solar in June 2013.
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