Burges Salmon and Helius Energy share impressive award run

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21 February 2012

Banking, energy and infrastructure experts from Burges Salmon and longstanding client Helius Energy plc have scooped the European Biomass Project Finance Deal of the Year at the annual Project Finance Awards. The award – presented at a ceremony in London during February - recognises the collective team’s stand-out work on Helius CoRDe Limited’s Rothes power project, a pioneering biomass scheme that is the first of its kind to go into construction in the UK.

The scheme is based at Rothes, Morayshire and is a joint venture between Helius Energy, Rabo Project Equity B.V. and The Combination of Rothes Distillers Limited (CoRD).  In April 2011 the joint venture, with support from Burges Salmon banking partner Sandra Forbes and associate Emma Bishop, successfully completed debt funding from Lloyds TSB Bank plc and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc enabling the project to progress into construction, which is now well underway.  The plant will use whisky distillery by-products to fuel a 7.2 megawatt biomass combined heat and power plant capable of saving an estimated 46,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year once in operation (CO2 estimate compared to UK coal fired stations).

This Project Finance Deal Award follows prior success for both client and adviser at the recent Renewable Energy Infrastructure Awards 2011, sponsored by NCE and MRW. Helius Energy received the award for Renewable Energy Transaction of the Year for the Helius CoRDe project and Burges Salmon was named UK Adviser of the Year: Legal & Financial for the same deal.

Working together since the energy company’s formation, a trusted partnership has been created between Burges Salmon, whose extensive team is headed by partners Will Gard and Sandra Forbes, and Helius Energy. 

William Ingram Hill, Helius’ chief operating officer, said: “Burges Salmon made a very significant contribution to the delivery of the Helius CoRDe project, which was a complex, cross-jurisdictional deal.”

Burges Salmon's Sandra Forbes says: "We were very pleased to assist Helius Energy in securing a significant project finance investment in what were tough market conditions.  This financing clearly demonstrates that lenders and investors have confidence in Helius Energy’s ability to develop high quality projects and the work undertaken by Helius Energy, in collaboration with Burges Salmon, has resulted in the successful financial completion of such an important milestone biomass finance project.  Our continued collaboration with the Helius Energy team demonstrates Burges Salmon’s clear commitment to supporting the growth of renewable energy in the UK.”

More recently, Burges Salmon advised Helius Energy on its placing to raise approximately £6.55 million working capital for its on-going Avonmouth and Southampton biomass projects.

Adrian Bowles, Helius’ chief executive officer, adds:  “We believe that biomass energy is becoming an increasingly important part of the UK's energy mix.  It is a real pleasure to receive industry recognition of our commitment to this sector and the quality of our chosen advisers at both the REI Awards and the Project Finance Awards."

More information is available at www.heliusenergy.com

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