Gowling WLG advises on first Greenfield project financing and development in Armenia

05 March 2019

International law firm Gowling WLG has advised on the first Greenfield project financing and development in Armenia.

The firm's Energy Team advised sponsors Renco SpA and Siemens Project Ventures on US$260 million, 240MW Combined Cycle Gas Fire power station.

In addition to the construction, operation and maintenance of the plant, located in Yerevan, the team advised on all project financing aspects of senior debt being provided by the International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, DEG, KFW and OFID.

Gowling WLG was also required to develop a framework agreement as part of the project, which is now being used by the Armenian government to structure the country's renewable energy programme. The project has completed amid a time of political change in Armenia.

Helping to steer the project in the wake of the change in government, the firm ensured the continued success of the project keeping the financing and development on track and to schedule, to help bring cheaper electricity and 230 new jobs to the region.

Partner and Head of International Projects Jonathan Brufal, and Energy Partner Andrew Newbery led on the deal, supported on the project financing by a cross-border team of Dubai-based Principal Associate Roopal Jobanputra, Associate Rhodri Williams, and Associate Billy Fraser. Principal Associate James Bruce and Senior Associate Robert Currall supported on the project development aspects. Head of International Arbitration, Gordon Bell, provided specialist arbitration structuring support. The team worked closely with the sponsors' local counsel, Harutiunian & Partners, led by Vahan Harutiunian and Haik Harutiunian. Hogan Lovells (Washington D.C. and London) advised the banks.

Jonathan Brufal said: "The closure of the first project financing in Armenia marks a significant step in the Armenian energy programme and will provide a benchmark for future energy projects in the sector. We are proud to have supported Renco and Siemens in bringing the project to a successful close amid a changing political backdrop."

Andrew Newbery commented: "This further evidences the work Jonathan and I have been doing for the last 20 years structuring IPPs in new markets from the earliest projects in Abu Dhabi through to more recent work in South Africa, Egypt, Dubai and Oman."

Brufal further commented: "The Gowling strategy is to focus on advising governments or developers on the implementation of projects in challenging new jurisdictions using new contractual models. We can add this great Armenia project to other recent work in Africa and the Middle East."

Proven on all stages of a project, Gowling WLG's global Energy practice offer an international perspective and a specialised full-service platform, providing industry-leading legal support and sector expertise to achieve local, national and international business intentions while managing legal risk whatever the requirement.

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