Awilco LNG Sale and Leaseback

Wikborg Rein acts for Awilco LNG on US$350m Sale and Leaseback transaction of two LNG Carriers

Wikborg Rein has advised Oslo-listed Awilco LNG on the refinancing for two 156,000 cbm LNG carriers (WilForce and WilPride) to the Chinese leasing house CCB Financial Leasing Co. Ltd (CCBFL), a subsidiary of China Construction Bank.

The firm acted across both facilities which involved the purchase of the vessels out of existing sale and leaseback arrangements (which each had separate back-to-back term financings in place with different lenders) into the new financing arrangements with CCBFL and the related registration requirements with the Norwegian International Ship Registry.

The sale-and-leaseback deals are expected to reduce Awilco’s finance costs by around $7m per year initially, compared to its previous financing arrangement.

The team was led by London based Wikborg Rein Partner Jonathan Goldfarb who commented: “We were delighted to assist the Awilco LNG team with this important financing, which saw our long-standing clients Awilco teaming up with CCBFL for the first time. Our role in this transaction highlights our expertise in the LNG sector".

Awilco LNG's CEO, Jon Skule Storheill, comments: "Wikborg Rein were of great help in bringing this exciting deal to a successful conclusion. Their deep understanding of the LNG sector, allied with their sale and leaseback expertise, enabled them to provide us with technically and commercially sound advice at every step.”

Jonathan was assisted in London by Senior Lawyer Lesley Tan, Senior Associate Sebastian Lea and Associate Alexandra Eriksen and in Norway by Partner Geir Ove Røberg and Associate Maren Sofie Samset.