Seaborn Networks and Natixis announced on March 3, 2014 that Seaborn has mandated Natixis, a major French bank, to act as sole structuring bank, underwriter and lead arranger for a fully underwritten USD 290 million senior secured project financing debt for the development and installation of Seaborn’s new subsea fiber optic cable system between commercial and financial centers of Brazil and the United States, Seabras-1 submarine cable. Natixis is also expected to serve as COFACE Facility Agent and Security Agent for this project debt.
Seaborn’s new submarine cable project, known as Seabras-1, is a 40 Tbps, four fiber pair system extending 10,400 km between São Paulo, Brazil and New York, USA, with a branch landing in Fortaleza, Brazil. It will be the first direct route between São Paulo and the United States, with lower latency than any other competing system, and is also the world’s longest system to be fully deployed with 100 Gbps coherent technology.
The mandating of Natixis to arrange the credit facility follows the previously announced “Promise of Cover” provided by Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur (COFACE), the French export credit agency, for banks that participate in the facility. The mandating of Natixis in the role of Lead Arranger for this credit facility follows the recent announcement by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group that the IFC is now one of the owners of Seaborn.
“Natixis has been a valued partner throughout the financing process and this further solidifies our strong relationship with a leading infrastructure finance bank,” said Larry Schwartz, Seaborn’s CEO. “We are very appreciative of the bank’s support in helping us to achieve another key milestone in the development of this subsea cable project.”
“Natixis welcomes the opportunity to play a key role in the Seabras-1 project, which is expected to be the first export credit agency-backed project financing in the global submarine cable industry,” said Olivier Delay, Managing Director & Head of Aviation, Export and Infrastructure, Americas for Natixis Wholesale Banking.
Natixis has been advising Seaborn as the exclusive equity adviser and COFACE Agent, in addition to now being mandated as the sole structuring bank, underwriter, lead arranger and COFACE Facility Agent.
Seabras-1 is being built for Seaborn by Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN). Environmental and permitting work in Brazil has been provided by Ecology & Environment, Inc. and in the United States by Michael Baker, Jr., Inc.
Seaborn is advised by Portland Advisers (debt adviser), Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (project counsel), Wiltshire & Grannis LLP (US regulatory counsel), Choate Hall & Stewart LLP (US corporate and tax counsel), Barbosa Müssnich e Aragão Advogados (Brazil corporate, tax and regulatory counsel), Appleby (Bermuda) Limited (Bermuda counsel), The Weiner Company, Inc. (insurance adviser) and EY (international tax adviser).
Natixis is advised by Clifford Chance US LLP (project counsel), Sidley Austin LLP (US regulatory counsel), Veriano Advogados (Brazil counsel), Benatar & Co. Ltd. (insurance adviser), Analysys Mason (market & technical adviser), and Terabit Consulting(market adviser).
Source: Seaborn Networks