Adani rethinks Abbot Point options after debt refinancing stalls

reuters.com Company,  International 2018-03-09 15:08:00

India's Adani Enterprises Ltd is looking at new options to refinance debt for its coal terminal in Australia after struggling to attract lenders wary of its controversial Carmichael mine project, Thomson Reuters Loan Pricing Corp reported on March 8.


Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty Ltd (AAPT) launched a loan of up to A$500 million ($391 million) last August to partially refinance A$580 million due in October, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.


After seven months, IDFC Singapore, the arranger for the loan, has yet to receive any firm commitments, despite offering a generous 200 basis point margin over the bank bill swap rate and the option to commit in U.S. dollars or yen, two people familiar with the situation said.


"The Abbot Point terminal is a good asset and has raised debt previously. But the noise around the Carmichael mine was too much for lenders." one of the people said.


Adani is looking at alternate sources of funding from markets such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where coal from the port goes, according to a person familiar with the matter, and it is now seeking a smaller A$300 million loan.


The sources declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the situation.


"We have successfully refinanced A$660 million of the A$976 million Abbot Point Coal Terminal (debt). We are confident of refinancing the balance." said a spokeswoman for Adani Australia.


Adani succeeded in raising $500 million through a five-year bond last December, which some believe should alleviate the refinancing pressure it faces in the coming months.


AAPT had A$976 million in bonds and loans due by November, according to rating agencies. The A$580 million being refinanced is part of a A$790 million loan signed in 2013.


Adani's proposed Carmichael coal mine has been the target of a campaign by environmental and indigenous groups concerned about climate change and damage to land and water.


Banks have also shied away in a global pullback from financing fossil fuels. As a result, Adani has yet to line up funding for the A$4 billion first stage of the Carmichael mine.


AAPT's loan was not linked to the mine, but the surrounding controversy has taken its toll even though some lenders showed interest in the refinancing.


Unlike the mine, AAPT is a performing asset. It has long-term "take-or-pay" contracts with coal exporters such as Glencore Plc and Japan's Mitsubishi Corp and Sumitomo Corp, among others, which serve as security on AAPT's refinancing.


(Writing by Becky Du  Editing by Tammy Yang)
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