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16.12.2008

Bank Austria finances Bulgaria's largest wind farm

  • EUR 223 million from the EBRD, the IFC and UniCredit Group
  • National energy company signs power agreement

In collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank, Bank Austria has arranged to finance the largest wind farm in Bulgaria, located on the Black Sea coast near the city of Kavarna, with EUR 198 million. The AES Corporation wind farm will comprise a total of 52 wind turbines and will have a capacity of 156 megawatts. The loan will be handled under the financing umbrella of the EBRD and the IFC, with the EBRD providing a credit tranche of EUR 70 million and the IFC granting EUR 40 million. Bank Austria will act as the underwriter for the remaining EUR 88 million. An additional EUR 25 million will be provided by UniCredit Bulbank for short-term financing.

"Bulgaria is taking two steps in one with this project. On one hand, it is making an important contribution to modernising infrastructure and, on the other hand, to helping protect the environment," says Erich Hampel, the CEO of Bank Austria. "The AES wind farm near Kavarna also shows that, despite claims to the contrary, it is still possible to finance large, sound projects."

The planned wind farm near Kavarna will be the largest power plant of its type in Eastern Europe and will therefore significantly increase Bulgaria's energy capacities. Upon completion, the wind power plant will deliver more than 1 per cent of the power consumed in Bulgaria. The wind farm will be owned and operated by a project company founded especially for this purpose. The project is a majority-owned subsidiary of the listed AES Corporation, one of the largest independent power producers in the world. The Bulgarian national power company (NEK) has signed a 12-year power agreement with the project company. Project financing for the AES wind farm near Kavarna is part of the EBRD Sustainable Energy Initiative, which encourages investments in renewable, clean energy and energy efficiency.

Enquiries: Bank Austria Press Office Austria
Tiemon Kiesenhofer, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 52819
E-mail: Tiemon.Kiesenhofer@UniCreditGroup.at

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