Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Total on the acquisition from SSE Renewables of a majority stake in the Seagreen 1 offshore wind farm project, which has simultaneously reached financial close on its project finance. The project represents a global investment of around £3 billion. Seagreen will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm at 1,140 MW.
Norton Rose Fulbright advised Total on all aspects of the acquisition, including the joint venture arrangements with SSE for the operation of the project, due diligence, tax, regulatory matters and merger control.
Located 27 kilometres from the coastline in Scottish waters of UK North Sea, Seagreen 1 has secured all necessary major permits and onshore construction began in Q1 2020. Designed to cover the energy needs of approximately one UK million homes, the project will start producing renewable electricity from the end of 2022.
Alexis Tatard, Legal Counsel at Total, commented:
“Closing a transaction as complex as this in the current challenging circumstances was the result of great efforts by the Total and Norton Rose Fulbright transaction teams. NRF was highly responsive, and able to mobilise the right experts for answering our various requests in a very timely manner.”
Stephen Rigby, the London-based corporate partner who led on the deal, commented:
“This transaction was a complex one given that the equity transaction tied into a larger financing transaction, with the two occurring in parallel. As its first large investment in the offshore wind sector, this is a major change of scale for Total’s offshore wind activity. We were delighted to be part of the team - we have a strong track record in M&A for offshore wind: over the last ten years we have advised clients on the acquisition and disposal of interests in Dudgeon, Westermost Rough, Gwynt Y Mor, Rhyl Flats and North Hoyle offshore wind farms. We were also delighted to advise Total earlier this year on its partnership with Simply Blue Energy to develop floating offshore wind projects in the UK. Total’s focus on renewable energy worldwide underlines the wider trend among energy majors to develop renewable energy businesses as part of the energy transition.”
The Norton Rose Fulbright team also included corporate senior associate Andrew Davies, counsel Sarah Tonks and associate Edward Coleman, and energy and projects partners Anne Lapierre, Chris Down, Andrew Hedges and Charles Whitney, counsel Veronique Bruel, senior associate Alexandra Jeffreys and associate Claire Tuch. Tax advice was provided by partner Matthew Hodkin and associate Sofia Casselbrant-Multala. Partner Ian Giles, senior associate Shaha El-Sheemy and associate Jack Jeffreys provided competition advice.
A separate Norton Rose Fulbright team led by London-based finance partner Rob Marsh advised the consortium of lenders, hedging banks and export credit agencies on the project financing of Seagreen which ran in parallel to the M&A process.