Emera completes $1.3B project financing

Emera Incorporated, through its subsidiary NSP Maritime Link Incorporated, completed a $1.3 billion bond financing in support of the $1.56 billion Maritime Link Project.

The Maritime Link Project involves the development, construction and commissioning of both, a new 500MW HVdc transmission line, as well as a 230kV HVac line and associated infrastructure, between the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Province of Nova Scotia.

The Project includes two 170-kilometre subsea cables across the Cabot Strait, close to 50 km of overland transmission in Nova Scotia as well as nearly 300 km of overland transmission on the island of Newfoundland.

The Maritime Link and Phase I of the Lower Churchill Project together create a transformative regional system that provides for clean, affordable energy.

For Nova Scotia, the Maritime Link will serve to accomplish the following: firstly, it will enable a more diversified portfolio of energy options, secondly, it will reduce dependency on existing commercial-scale, carbon-based generation facilities, and, thirdly, it will help meet new government regulations that require 40 per cent renewable energy by the year 2020.

First power is planned for delivery in 2017.

The bonds, issued by a special purpose financing vehicle, benefit from a direct, absolute, unconditional and irrevocable guarantee of the Federal government, and as such carry the full faith and credit of Canada.

As a result of this guarantee, the bonds were assigned a rating of “AAA” by each of S&P and DBRS. These ratings have, in turn, resulted in a lower cost of financing for the Maritime Link as well as resulting in significant savings to Nova Scotia ratepayers over the life of the Project.

The offering was led by Scotiabank as sole underwriter and bookrunner.

Emera Incorporated was represented in the bond financing and the negotiation of the Federal guarantee by an in-house team including Lewis Smith and John MacLean. Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP provided lead external support to Emera with a team led by John Macfarlane (securities); Rocco Sebastiano  (project finance) and Laurie Barrett  (banking); and that included Adrian Hartog (real estate); Monica Biringer  (tax); Danna Donald and Elliot Smith (project finance); Greg Walters and Ben Leith (banking) and Jay Greenspoon (securities).

Cox & Palmer  was Atlantic Canada counsel to Emera with a team led by Alexander MacDonald and including Douglas Wright (project finance) and William Ca-hill (real estate); Patrick Fitzgerald and Jane Anderson (project finance); and Anthony Chapman and John Stewart (real estate).

The Government of Canada was represented by Anne Boudreau and Rhonda Lazarus of Department of Justice Canada. Cassels, Brock & Blackwell LLP provided external support to the Government of Canada. The Cassels Brock team was led by Alison Manzer and included Charles Newman, Peter Sullivan, Jennifer Wasylyk, Suhuyini Abudulai, Jose Calderon and Sarah McKinnon (financial services); and Jonathan Freeman (real estate) and Brian Dominique  (regulatory).

McCarthy Tétrault LLP represented Scotiabank with a team that included Linda Brown and Matthew Appleby.