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Coal|Projects|Environmental
Coal|Projects|Environmental
coal|projects|environmental

Private credit dominates Whitehaven Coal's $1.1bn loan

The loan seeks to refinance a bridge loan to back the acquisition of the Daunia and Blackwater (pictured) coal mines in Queensland from BHP.

The loan seeks to refinance a bridge loan to back the acquisition of the Daunia and Blackwater (pictured) coal mines in Queensland from BHP.

26th February 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Australian coal firm Whitehaven Coal drew 17 private credit providers and one bank for a $1.1-billion loan to buy two mines, the latest example of direct lenders benefiting from banks’ tighter scrutiny of environmentally less friendly projects.

Hong Kong-based hedge fund Asia Research & Capital Management leads the syndicated deal with $185-million, followed by private lender Farallon Capital Management's $150-million and alternative asset management firm Sona Asset Management’s $125-million, according to a person familiar with the matter who requested anonymity discussing private matters.

Other direct lenders include Alpha Wave Global, Washington H. Soul Pattinson & Co., Davidson Kempner Capital Management , Marathon Asset Management, Challenger Investment Management, King Street Capital Management, Ares Management, Canyon Partners Real Estate, and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. Bank of America is the only participating bank.

The five-year loan seeks to refinance a $900-million bridge loan announced in October to back Whitehaven’s acquisition of the Daunia and Blackwater coal mines in Queensland from BHP Group. Funding is expected in March, said the person.

The overwhelming dominance of direct lenders in Whitehaven’s loan is a fresh reminder of banks’ reluctance since the 2015 Paris climate pact to shun projects that may trigger environmental, social and governance concerns. Filling the void left by them are private credit providers that have seen phenomenal growth in recent years via bets on riskier projects and better returns.

Whitehaven, ARCM, Sona Asset, GIC, Ares, Davidson Kempner, Canyon Partners, King Street, Bank of America declined to comment. Farallon, Alpha Wave, Washington H. Soul Pattinson, and Marathon were not immediately available for comment.

Private credit loans typically come with floating rates of interest that are higher than bank debt. The market had ballooned to $1.7-trillion as of June, from around $500-billion at the end of 2015, according to investment data firm Preqin Ltd.

Edited by Bloomberg

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