Eversheds muscles in on SNR Sierra Leone power project

Eversheds and SNR Denton have scored top roles advising on Sierra Leone’s first independent power project.

Howard Barrie
Howard Barrie

Teams from both firms advised Addax & Oryx Group on the signing of e133m (£119.17m) of ­project finance loan ­facilities for the construction of an ethanol and renewable energy project near Makeni, Sierra Leone.

Recently hired Eversheds partner Howard Barrie brought in Addax & Oryx as a new client while working at his previous firm SNR Denton, taking the project financing aspects of the deal to his new firm.

The SNR Denton team, led by partner John Woolley, retained the corporate and tax elements of the transaction, as well as power purchase agreements and water supply negotiations with the Sierra Leone government.

Norton Rose, led by ­partner Madhavi Gosavi, advised the lenders, including the African Development Bank, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), German development finance institution DEG, the Industrial Development ­Corporation of South Africa, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries and the ­Cordiant-managed ICF Debt Pool.

The project involves the development of a greenfield sugarcane plantation, the construction of an ethanol refinery and a biomass-fuelled power plant, with an overall project value of e258m. It is the first ­sugarcane ethanol project of its kind in Africa.

The Swedish Development Fund, advised by Homburger, and the FMO (also advised by Homburger on the equity side) are joining Addax & Oryx as equity partners on the ­project.

Barrie said: “This ­financing agreement marks a ­further milestone for what is an important project for Sierra Leone. It places the country at the forefront of the development of biofuels projects on the continent.”