Lawyer Monthly - May 2022

Lawyer Monthly Transaction Reports - Funds & Investments 77 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM MAY 2022 ABOUT THE DEAL HVG Law LLP has advised North Sea Port on its €200 million hybrid financing. This transaction will enable North Sea Port to continue its ‘Connect 2025’ plan. The ‘Connect 2025’ plan is a strategy approved by North Sea Port’s shareholders in 2021 that will see the company play an important role in fields of employment and sustainability in its region. The plan includes specific ambitions to further develop the crossborder port area in the coming years. The plan also features a focus on economic development, employment, sustainability and the climate, and on ensuring a financially sound strategy. North Sea Port is heavily involved in European climate policy in the port area of Zeeland and Flanders. Its responsibilities include preparing the ports for hydrogen and the circular use of CO2, and offering shore power for inland shipping. Building sustainable infrastructure such as this requires significant investment. The HVG Law team included senior manager Dennis Winkel and partner Gijs van de Wouw. Lawyer Monthly had the pleasure to speak with Dennis Winkel, Senior Manager at HVG Law LLP to give us some further insight into this transaction: March 2022 North Sea Port’s €200 Million Hybrid Financing Acted as Legal Adviser to North Sea Port Can you please tell us more about the role your team played during this transaction? HVG Law acted as legal advisor to North Sea Port and assisted the company in the negotiations with the banks as well as with the (public) stakeholders that provided a guarantee for the financing. As the entire process involving a Dutch and a Belgian bank with the financing documented based on LMA standards was relatively new to North Sea Port, we had to go into great detail with the company to ensure that the financing would fully meet the company’s expectations and needs. It was great working together with North Sea Port. What specialised skills did you bring to the proceedings? Were you forced to overcome any significant challenges? Our firm is considered a leader in the market because of its entrepreneurial, innovative and solution-driven approach. We offer a multidisciplinary service. Our strategic alliance with EY Tax enables us to advise on projects in a comprehensive way, not just from a legal perspective, but also from a financial and tax perspective. In this case our legal expertise, sector focus and pragmatic approach – combined with EY’s expertise as the company’s financial advisor – positioned us perfectly to overcome the challenges in this transaction. These were mostly related to the financing’s hybrid character, i.e. a financing secured by a guarantee provided by its (public) stakeholders only during part of its term and the transition to other security. I am convinced that we achieved the best possible result for the company. What impact do you expect this transaction will have on North Sea Port and its role in enacting European climate policy? North Sea Port has a strong focus on sustainability and the reduction of any negative effects of its business on the climate to the maximum extent possible. With the financing the company has further strengthened its financial position which enables it to, among other things, make investments that will have a positive effect on climate change and contribute to European climate policy.

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