On December 5, Ascendant Resources Inc. (OTC:ASDRF) provided a follow-up to the announcement it made on October 18. The company announced that it had appointed Banco Santander as the sole-mandated lead manager (MLA) for the sum of up to $158 million in supported project financing for the Lagoa Salgada Project in Portugal.
The project financing had been supported by the Export Credit Agency (ECA). On September 5, Ascendant Resources, along with its advisors GKB Ventures Ltd. and SD Capital Advisory Ltd., kicked off the tender process to draw interest from project finance banks globally to be the MLA on its projects.
Yesterday, the company revealed that following the launch of the competitive process, Ascendant Resources received a number of bids, and all were evaluated in conjunction with the advisors. In the news release, the company noted that Banco Santander was a respected global financial institution with considerable experience in the ECA financing space.
Additionally, it also commanded a strong presence in Portugal and a good relationship with the ECA UKEF (the United Kingdom’s ECA). The financing backed by the UKEF was expected to total a maximum of $158 million for a tenure of 7 and a half years. The funding would help in the coverage of as much as 70% of the expected capital expenditure on the Lagoa Salgada Project.
It was also revealed that the MLA had been appointed on an exclusive basis. However, it ought to be noted that, as is customary with ECA-backed project financing, the UKEF would provide commercial and political guarantees to the project lenders. Such a dynamic helps reduce the risk for the lender and subsequently results in lower capital costs. That would enable us to cut down on the cost of the debt to Ascendant Resources and also extend tenors at the same time.