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Infracapital-backed Biogenergy Infrastructure Group signs debt refi

Infracapital-backed Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG) has raised GBP 200m-GBP 300m to refinance its 100 MW portfolio of operational energy-from-waste (EfW) and biomass assets, less than its initial target, sources said.

The UK waste specialist has signed a debt package with less than a handful of banks, after going to market late last year to raise GBP 400m for its six operating projects, the sources added.

While the refinancing package is due to close any day, the borrower had originally planned to close the deal in November with around six or seven banks, sources said.

After BIG’s financial advisor Jefferies saw a lack of interest from banks, the overall package including its target raise and the number of lenders had to be “re-cut”, the sources said.

Santander is acting as a partial underwriter across the transaction, the sources said.

Infracapital and Santander declined to comment. BIG and Jefferies did not respond to a request for comment.

Reading-based BIG has brought into operation all six EfW and biomass projects since its launch by infrastructure investor Infracapital, alongside Aurium Capital, Foresight Group and Helios Energy Investments, in 2015.

The portfolio includes three EfW projects in Hull (24 MW), Lanark in Scotland (12 MW) and Hoddesdon (10 MW), as well as two biomass projects in Cheshire worth 44 MW combined, and a 16 MW project in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Late last year, Bioenergy Infrastructure Limited said in its accounts for 2021 that it was in talks to raise fresh funds from its shareholders for acquisitions.

At the same time, it reported a GBP 33.7m adjusted EBITDA loss, up from a GBP 20.4m loss the previous year, despite revenue rising to GBP 20.7m from GBP 12m. The increased EBITDA loss was largely due to higher staff costs, professional fees and projects.

It also reported a GBP 123.9m impairment charge for 2021 mainly owing to "continued capitalisation costs and interest costs at a plant undertaking commissioning".

In 2017, shortly after its launch, BIG bought 15 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, four biomass and EfW plants and a materials recovery facility from the Green Investment Bank for an undisclosed fee. The AD plants are currently not listed as part of the operating portfolio on BIG's website.

Foresight sold out of BIG as part of a capital raise in 2018, which involved the remaining three shareholders investing another GBP 150m into the company.

Besides owning one of the UK’s largest portfolios of EfW and waste wood facilities, BIG is also active in the country’s expanding carbon capture space.

Last July, BIG announced that its Ince Bio Power facility, in the Net Zero North West industrial cluster had been selected by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for funding.

The project is set to become the first biomass waste gasification facility to adopt carbon capture technology in the UK.