26 May – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – International law firm Clifford Chance advised on the landmark US$1.25 billion financing of the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in the Lao PDR, the largest Lao hydro project ever financed. The project is a major boost to the Lao economy and is supported by the World Bank, the major project banks, export credit agencies and other political and commercial risk insurers.
The financing was signed on 3rd May 2005 and commercial operations are scheduled for November 2009. The project entails the development of a 1,070MW hydroelectric power plant and its related infrastructure under a 25-year build, operate, own and transfer (BOOT) concession with the Government of the Lao PDR for the export sale of a major portion of the electricity produced by the project to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) with the balance being sold locally to Electricité du Laos (EDL).
Clifford Chance acted through its Singapore office as international counsel for the foreign sponsor consortium and the project company, Nam Theun 2 Power Company, on all of the commercial and financing aspects of the project, including the equity arrangements, the concession with the Lao Government, the power purchase agreements with EGAT and EDL and the turnkey construction arrangements, assisted by the firm’s Bangkok office on the Thai law aspects, the firm’s London office on aspects of the construction arrangements and PricewaterhouseCoopers (Laos) Ltd on all Lao law aspects. Clifford Chance has been advising on the project since April 1995.
Sam Bonifant, projects partner at Clifford Chance comments, “The negotiation and completion of the commercial and financing arrangements for Nam Theun 2 was an exacting and time consuming task in order to accommodate the many complex issues inherent in an environmentally sensitive cross border project of this nature, and to ensure its bankability. We are delighted after all the effort put in by all those involved to have seen such a significant project for the Lao PDR achieve its financing and to have played a part in that process”.
The Clifford Chance team was led by partners Sam Bonifant advising on the commercial aspects and Russell Wells advising on the financing aspects, both from the Singapore office. They were assisted by Nambi Viswalingam, of counsel, and associates Andrew Brereton, Tan Kee Hwee, Andrew Reid, Duncan Black and Louise Groom from Singapore, partner Ting Ting Tan from the Shanghai office on the EGAT aspects, with additional construction assistance from partner Tim Steadman from the London office and Thai law assistance from partner Tim Jeffares. Paul Fulton and Rod Cameron also assisted from Vientiane (where they are on secondment to the project company)