Cape Wind project adds two financial backers

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Cape Wind and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. said they have added Natixis and Rabobank to serve as lead arrangers of the proposed wind farm off Massachusetts in Nantucket Sound.

They will work with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi to structure and arrange the syndication of the senior debt financing to additional lenders. Lead arrangers are responsible for organizing a group of commercial banks to provide debt financing for the project, according to a report in the Cape Cod Times.

The three banks also expect to provide more than $400 million in debt themselves, according to Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers.

The debt would add to $900 million in potential financing from other sources that the developer already has secured for the project, which is estimated to cost at least $2.6 billion.

"This is one of the key steps in completing the financing package for the construction of the Cape Wind project," Theodore Roosevelt IV, managing director at Barclays, Cape Wind's financial adviser, said in a statement.

There is considerable interest from other commercial banks and the package of commercial debt is expected to be complete in the near future, according to Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi project finance director Takaki Sakai.

Cape Wind still faces opposition, including a lawsuit challenging a contract between the company and NStar for the purchase of a portion of the project's power.

On March 14 a federal judge denied a list of assertions that were originally part of four lawsuits challenging the project's approval by the federal Department of the Interior. Opponents, however, declared victories on two matters that the judge sent back to federal agencies for further action.

"Cape Wind cannot move forward until those issues are resolved, if they can be resolved," Audra Parker, president of the lead Cape Wind opposition group, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, told the newspaper.

The group is considering whether to appeal the judge's other findings, Parker said.

"We're evaluating the appeal procedures," she said.

Cape Wind and its supporters say they expect the two decisions sent back for further action will be easily resolved.

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