Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co plays key role in establishing the first solar farm in Sierra Leone

19 May 2015

The cross-firm Energy team at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co has advised Africa Growth and Energy Services (AGES) on the drafting of a series of project documents to support a landmark renewable project in Sierra Leone. Part of the country's strategy to use renewables to aid its huge power shortage, it will see the creation of an up to 20MW solar farm to serve the cities of Bo and Kenema.

After a year of negotiating and drafting a series of project documents - including power purchase and implementation agreements - the Government of Sierra Leone formally approved and ratified the contracts last week. AGES will now go out to market to secure financing for the development of the project. Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co will continue to advise on the transaction as it moves towards financial close.

Partner Jonathan Brufal, said: "We are very pleased be working on this interesting and challenging transaction. To be part of a 'first of a kind' deal in a market which is new to IPP/PPP transactions shows our energy practice is quickly gaining a reputation for advising on frontier market energy deals. It adds to the team's extensive international experience, covering the UK, Europe and Middle East."

Jonathan Brufal led the project with support from senior associate Tom Gray. Fellow energy partner Gareth Baker advised on various corporate structuring issues for AGES in the UK. Over the course of the transaction Jonathan and Tom met and negotiated with Sierra Leone Government officials, including officials from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and Ministry of Energy. The team also liaised closely with local counsel in Sierra Leone.

Albert Smith, Director of International Business Development at AGES added: "We are very grateful to the team at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co for its support in moving this deal forward. AGES first spoke to Jonathan and Tom at the very outset of the project and they, along with other lawyers in the firm, have made an invaluable contribution towards getting the deal to where it is today. Hopefully we will work together in the future on similar projects."

Following this deal, Jonathan and Tom are assisting AGES on two transactions in Cameroon: a mini hydro plant in the South West Region; and the development of a concession agreement to solarise a number of telephone masts in rural areas. They highlight the Energy team's growing practice in East and West Africa, where it is also currently acting on instructions in Egypt, Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa.

Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co is an international law firm, delivering sector-focused, commercial advice to clients worldwide. Its 70-strong, cross-firm Energy team has an industry-leading reputation in the UK and international markets, and is known for delivering innovative solutions and outstanding client service. Its international client base includes governments and regulators, developers, financial institutions, generators, network operators and energy suppliers and traders.

Recent highlights include advising Grid Essence on the disposal and £40 million refinancing of its solar portfolio and acting for Primrose Solar on a 104 MW transaction with EDF Energy, one of the UK's largest energy companies.

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