Semiconductor materials manufacturer Soitec announced on Tuesday that it had concluded a R1-billion bond issuance and that the proceeds would be used to help finance the construction of a 44 MW concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar plant in Touwsrivier, South Africa.
The transaction was a first for South Africa and was also described as the first publically listed project bond ever issued for a CPV facility.
The bonds were placed with South African institutional investors, pension funds and asset managers and Soitec was advised by a consortium comprising of Deloitte & Touche, Standard Bank, Trident Capital and Webber Wentzel Attorneys.
Standard Bank also acted as lead manager, book runner and debt sponsor for the offering.
Soitec solar division executive VP Gaëtan Borgers said the Touwsrivier facility would be the largest CPV plant in the Western world and was scheduled for completion by June 2014
He added that Group Five had already started construction and that the first of more than 1 500 CPV systems would be erected soon.
Department of Energy deputy director-general Ompi Aphane said the transaction had created a new pool of financial resources that could support the South African government’s ambitious plans for renewable energy.
The Touwsrivier project was one of 28 solar and wind projects, collectively involving 1 415 MW of capacity, that reached financial closure following South Africa’s first bid window under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
The financial-close deadline for the 19 second-bid-window REIPPPP projects, which collectively represent 1 043.9 MW of capacity and an investment value of around R28-billion, has been set for early May and a request for proposals for the third bid window is expected to be released in the coming months.
Credit rating agency Moody’s assigned an investment grade rating of Baa2.za to the Touwsrivier project.