Gide has advised NEoT Offgrid Africa on structuring and negotiation of a receivables securitisation program for financing the distribution by ZECI of solar home systems in Côte d'Ivoire. NEoT Offgrid Africa is an investment platform specialised in distributed renewable energy in Africa, majority-owned by Meridiam, and managed by NEoT Capital.
The purpose of this programme is to finance the sale by ZECI of solar home systems meeting international quality standards to approximately 100,000 households in rural and semi-urban areas in Côte d’Ivoire. This programme aims to allow large-scale access to clean and reliable energy in areas not connected to the grid. The solar home systems are sold on a rent-to-own basis under a three-year contract. Considering that customers are mostly un-banked, payments are made via mobile money and can vary depending on the customers’ available income.
This pilot financing programme relies on an innovative securitisation structure pursuant to which a special purpose vehicle (NEoT CI), owned by NEoT Offgrid Africa, purchases the solar kits and related receivables as and when the solar kits are distributed by ZECI.
The financing is funded by NEoT Offgrid Africa in equity as well as through a senior debt facility in local currency granted by Société Générale Côte d'Ivoire (SGCI) and co-arranged by SCGI and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (CACIB). The senior debt is guaranteed by CACIB and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Grameen Crédit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (Grameen) acts as social and environmental monitoring agent in relation to the project. The financing agreements were signed in December 2019 and financial close was reached in February 2020. With this transaction, NEoT Offgrid Africa aims to develop a portfolio worth 40 million euros.
The Gide team was led by partner Marie-Bouvet Guiramand, working with associates Perrine Delandre and Edouard Bourguet, all members of the Projects (Finance & Infrastructure) practice. Partner Julien David, working with associate Armelle Royer, both members of the Mergers & Acquisitions / Corporate practice, advised on corporate matters. Gide was assisted by Dogue Abbé Yao & Associés on Ivorian law aspects.
SGCI, CACIB, AfDB and Grameen were advised by Orrick Rambaud Martel, and on Ivorian law aspects by Asafo &Co RCI.
ZECI was advised by a second team from Orrick Rambaud Martel, and on Ivorian law aspects by SCPA Imboua, Kouao, Tella & Associés.