Natixis Investment Managers International has invested in the refinancing of a 317MW wind farm in South Australia on behalf of Asahi Life. The A$610m financing of the wind farm has been operational since 2017, carries an initial maturity of 22 years but amortizes over its life, resulting in a weighted-average life of 9.8 years. Over that time, Asahi will receive a coupon around 2% over the Australian short-term lending rate (BBSW) tat steps up over the life of the loan. The loan has no public rating, but is internally rated investment-grade by Natixis IM’s internal credit methodology.
Alistair Ho, Head of Private Debt, APAC, Natixis Investment Managers International, says: “This investment, made in January, was the first after we signed a [co-lending] mandate with Asahi Life in December 2020. The client has an increasing focus on ESG, has experience investing in wind and solar farms, and wanted to invest in brownfield site where risks are more visible. We found a great first asset in a great jurisdiction for them, which has a strong framework both legally and in terms of regulation. Australia also has a relatively long history of renewable energy infrastructure.”
Natixis Investment Managers began its real assets co-lending program in 2012 and focuses on private debt in infrastructure and aviation. The program is a partnership between Natixis Bank, who source the loans, provide servicing and economic alignment-of-interest, and Natixis IM who manage the underlying assets. This approach has been ideal for Natixis IM clients looking to deploy long-term capital into fixed income-like assets that provide a stable risk and liquidity adjusted income.
Additionally, “It suits clients who may have an understanding of real assets but don’t necessarily have the credit expertise to conduct the loan analysis,” says Ho. Some clients view this approach as an ideal way to learn more about the asset class and credit process with potential to do their own real asset direct lending the future.
Asahi Life, which has committed around Y10 billion to the Natixis Investment Managers co-lending program, was seeking the support of a large institution to allocate to real asset loans, Ho adds. “Natixis has a strong brand name and expertise in the field, which was highly attractive to Asahi,” he says. Natixis Bank provides further comfort to co-lenders by retaining part of each of the loans, ensuring alignment-of-interest.
The wind farm deal was the first transaction in Asia for Natixis IM’s Private Debt Real assets program. It fully met the investment criteria of Asahi Life, with the additional ancillary benefits in being ESG-focused, and in Australian dollar, which is typically a carry currency versus the Yen, the currency in which Asahi operates. For further reading:
Natixis Investment Managers International
French Public Limited liability company with board of Directors (Société Anonyme).
Share capital : €51 371 060,28. RCS Paris : 329 450 738.
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Natixis Investment Managers
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