Victoria desalination plant refinances AUD 350m debt

20 January 2020 - 12:00 am UTC

Aquasure has completed a AUD 350m (USD 240m) bank debt refinancing for the Wonthaggi desalination plant, according to two sources familiar with the matter. 

The 10-year amortising term loan will mature in January 2030, said the sources. Neither would reveal how the loan was priced. 

National Australia Bank acted as mandated lead arranger and provided AUD 87.5m of the loan. Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and Westpac were the other lenders. 

Ashurst was legal adviser to Aquasure, while King Wood Malleson was lenders’ counsel. 

Aquasure is a project company whose shareholders include TESS (33.5%), Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (14.96%) and AMP Capital (11.7%), according to Inframation Deals.

The company refinances the desalination plant’s debt annually to maximise returns to the Victorian government, according to its website. 

In 2018, the plant’s owners conducted a AUD 345m note issue, involving both Australian floating rate paper and a US Private Placement, according to Inframation deals. 

Wonthaggi is run on a 27-year concession with the Victorian state government that expires in 2039. The project was first announced in 2007 during the Millennium drought when dam levels around the Melbourne region were critically low.

The plant services the Melbourne region and has capacity to produce 50 billion litres of drinking water annually, according to the Melbourne Water website. 

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