ACEN secures AU$277-M loan for Australia projects

ACEN secures AU$277-M loan for Australia projects

Ayala-led ACEN Corporation has secured AU$277-million syndicated loan to continuously bankroll its utility-scale renewable energy (RE) projects in the Australian energy market.

The syndicated loan has been sourced from the Bank of China in Manila and Hongkong; CTBC Bank in Manila and Singapore; and Standard Chartered Bank in Australia.

Bank of China-Hongkong was tapped as green loan structuring bank for the facility, while the Commonwealth Bank of Australia acted as the agent for the syndicated loan. ACEN’s legal counsel for the transaction had been Herbert Smith Freehills; and lenders’ counsel had been King & Wood Mallesons.

“The loan will provide capital financing for ACEN’s renewable energy portfolio in Australia, which will be a significant contributor to the company’s strategic aspiration to grow its renewables capacity to 20 gigawatts by 2030,” the Ayala firm said.

The loan deal forms part of the AU$600 million multi-tiered debt financing that the company has been cornering for its targeted RE portfolio buildup in Australia, one of the offshore markets wherein ACEN has been aggressively expanding its investments in RE installations.

“The funds will be allocated to finance the development and construction of ACEN’s project pipeline in Australia encompassing solar, wind, battery storage, pumped hydro power and energy storage,” ACEN stated.

In particular, the Ayala-led firm’s 720-megawatt New England solar farm development is already set for commercial operations by the middle of this year.

According to Anton Rohner, chief executive officer of ACEN Australia, “this syndicated green term loan facility continues to build on the funding secured at the end of last year, and will be mobilized into our Australian portfolio.”

Following the targeted completion of the New England solar farm project, what came forth late last year on the company’s project construction line-up had been its 520MW (dc) Stubbo solar farm project.

Lu Ying, general manager of Global Corporate Banking Department at Bank of China-Hongkong, asserted that their bank is “committed to promoting sustainable and high quality development within the region,” adding that “the significance of this facility is further exemplified considering it is the first green syndicated loan for a Philippine corporate after the release of the joint statement between China and Philippines” – that is in reference to the state visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in China last week.

Additionally CTBC Senior Vice President Mike Albotra and CTBC Bank Singapore- Corporate Banking Head Benson Chua noted that “the transaction further reinforces both ACEN and the banks’ commitment to ESG (environmental, social and governance).”

Standard Chartered Bank Philippines CEO Lynette Ortiz, in parallel, stressed that “the transaction demonstrates how Standard Chartered is truly ‘here for good’ by supporting issuances that create positive outcomes for the environment and society,” while Standard Chartered Bank Australia CEO Mike Samson highlighted that “this partnership is in line with (the bank’s) global commitment to shape a more sustainable and inclusive global trade flow.”