Singapore, 9 April 2020 – Clifford Capital Pte. Ltd. (“Clifford Capital”), a specialist provider of debt financing solutions globally to companies and projects with a nexus to Singapore in the infrastructure and maritime sectors, today announces that the USD700m senior secured term loan financing for the Gimi Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (“FLNG”) project (“FLNG Gimi” or the “Project”), has been awarded the “Offshore Project Finance Deal of the Year” at the 2019 Marine Money “Deal of the Year” Awards.
This win closely follows Clifford Capital’s recent win at the 2019 Project Finance International (“PFI”) Awards, where the Project has been awarded the “African LNG Deal of the Year”.
Clifford Capital, as Lead Coordinator and one of four Bookrunning Mandated Lead Arrangers (“BMLAs”), arranged a USD700m senior secured term loan (the “Facility”) to Gimi MS Corporation (the “Borrower”). The Borrower is jointly owned by Golar LNG and Keppel Capital on a 70:30 basis and the Facility was established to finance the development, construction and operation of the FLNG Gimi.
The Project will see the conversion of a Moss LNG carrier at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore into a FLNG unit. When completed, the FLNG Gimi will be stationed at a nearshore hub located on the Mauritania and Senegal maritime border under a 20-year charter contract with BP in the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim field offshore West Africa.
The Facility, which features a tenor of 10 years covering the pre- and post-delivery phases on the back of a 12-year amortisation profile, is the first limited recourse project financing for a FLNG vessel in the international commercial bank market. Clifford Capital assembled the four-bank group which includes ABN Amro, ING and Natixis to jointly structure, arrange and provide the underwriting commitment, followed by a syndication effort to bring in additional commercial banks for the financing.
The BMLAs successfully syndicated the Facility to eight participating banks in September 2019, with the final bank group comprising 12 lenders, and achieved financial close in October 2019. Notably, the financing attracted strong interest from Asia-based banks, with a total of five Asian lenders, including three Singapore-based lenders, reflecting the robust demand for commercial financing of projects being developed by world-class yards and Sponsors with an established track record.
“The award is a testament to our growing capabilities as a specialist provider of financing solutions globally. We are honoured to have played a significant role in developing this novel limited recourse project financing solution and in elevating a groundbreaking FLNG concept amongst the international banking community. Leveraging on our ability to structure bespoke innovative solutions, we will continue to address the market gaps in cross-border project and structured financing and fulfill our mandate of supporting Singapore companies in their key exports and catalyzing their growth in overseas markets” said Clive Kerner, CEO of Clifford Capital.
The FLNG Gimi follows from the successful conversion of the world’s first FLNG conversion of Hilli Episeyo, which Keppel Shipyard delivered in record time and on budget to Golar LNG in 2017.
Mr Chris Ong, CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine said, “As a leading provider of solutions to the offshore, marine and energy industries, Keppel O&M welcomes the increased project financing support in Singapore, spearheaded by Clifford Capital. This encourages customers to take up innovative solutions like our FLNG franchise. Keppel O&M’s pioneering solutions, engineering know-how and execution track record, complemented by the syndication expertise of commercial lenders such as Clifford Capital, will keep us at the forefront of developing winning solutions for the market.”
Keppel’s participation as equity investor in addition to its role as EPC contractor is a strong reflection of its confidence in the prospects of the FLNG sector and its buy-in to the viability of the conversion concept. The long-term charter with BP provides further validation of this concept. The successful conclusion of this commercial project financing for the FLNG segment will pave the way for future financings of similar projects.
“We are pleased to partner with Clifford Capital on the development of an innovative and fit-for-purpose finance solution for the FLNG Gimi. Keppel’s investment in the FLNG Gimi harnesses the diverse capabilities of the Group. Currently undergoing conversion at Keppel Offshore & Marine, the FLNG Gimi is intended to be the first investment for the Keppel Asia Infrastructure Fund, which recently achieved its first closing,” said Ms Christina Tan, CEO of Keppel Capital.