The benefits of project bonds



FW moderates a discussion examining the benefits of project bonds between Bert Schoen, a Managing Director at RBS, Manuel Dusina, an associate director at Standard & Poor’s, and Mark Castillo-Bernaus, a partner at White & Case.

FW: Could you provide a brief overview of the current state of the debt financing market? What has been the impact of Basel III and other regulation on banks and financial services in this respect?

Schoen: Although the loan markets have surged back to life since the financial crisis, regulators’ capital requirements are forcing European lenders to focus on shorter tenors. Under upcoming Basel III rules, banks will need to meet stricter requirements for equity, capital buffers, leverage and liquidity ratios. Although the regulation has yet to be implemented, many banks have started carrying out the necessary changes to their capital models to account for the steeper requirements, particularly around long-term funding. European lenders – previously dominant in project and infrastructure finance – are expected to remain constrained by the new regulation, and are unlikely to return to their pre-crisis levels of long-term lending. The gap that leaves in the project finance market has been partly filled by Japanese banks and, in some markets, by local banks. For example, in the Middle East and in Turkey, the local banks are well capitalised and are seeking to put available liquidity to work to achieve attractive returns. However, sponsors do not want to rely solely on local liquidity and are looking to diversify their funding sources. To illustrate the above, EMEA loan markets saw a significant fall in volumes since 2008 when, in response to the financial crisis, European banks focussed on shrinking their balance sheets. From 2007 to 2012 they had removed about $5 trillion of their assets. The loan markets for investment grade borrowers have since recovered and volumes have returned to pre-crisis levels. The EMEA investment grade loan market surpassed lending volumes of $1 trillion in 2011 and 2010 compared to $1.2 trillion and $1 trillion in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Notwithstanding the re-bound in lending volumes, there has been a noticeable shift in the outstanding tenors. In 2007, 20 per cent of all EMEA loan volumes were for tenors longer than five years, and about 14 per cent for those longer than nine years. In 2012, the share of loan volumes for tenors greater than five years was down to 14 per cent and down to 10 per cent for tenors greater than nine years. 

Dusina: The landscape for infrastructure financing is changing. Traditional bank lending – although still comprising two-thirds of global project finance lending of US$200bn in 2012 – has come under pressure to comply with Basel III and infrastructure projects are increasingly turning to alternative sources of financing. It is clear from the data for projects that closed in 2012 and early 2013 that these alternative investors, such as infrastructure funds, pension funds and insurance companies, have either entered the marketplace or publicised their intention to do so, starting to play a bigger role in the market. At the same time, capital adequacy regulations such as Basel III and Solvency II, are encouraging the structuring of projects towards obtaining single A ratings. This is because institutional investors, particularly insurance companies and pension funds – if they are covered by Solvency II – are being economically incentivised to invest in higher rated paper. A good example of this is the recently A- rated University of Hertfordshire student accommodation project in the UK – ULiving@Hertfordshire – in which £145m of long dated index linked bonds are being sold to one key UK institutional investor. 

Castillo-Bernaus: Traditionally the commercial bank market has been the main source of project debt finance. Sponsors have, prior to the recent credit crisis, been able to raise significant amounts of uncovered commercial bank debt both relatively quickly and on competitive terms. However, the impact of the current financial crisis has seen a number of banks withdraw from the project finance market as a consequence of a variety of factors including a lack of liquidity, changes in risk appetite or as a consequence of mergers. As a result of the constraints imposed by Basel III, the appetite of banks to participate in the longer-term tenors required by project financing has lessened. A continued lack of liquidity among eurozone banks and the absence of a substantial secondary market due, in part, to the long-term tenors and often shallow pricing of financing has meant that a number of banks have had to re-focus their activities away from project debt finance. Despite this, strong sponsors have continued to attract significant participations from commercial banks in ‘mega’ projects both on a covered and uncovered basis. This has led to a slow revival of project finance in strong markets as shown by recent financings in the Middle East – in particular, strong regional bank liquidity in countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia have to a large degree mitigated the impact of the eurozone crisis. The limited availability of long-term commercial funding for projects has slowed the momentum of the project finance sector in recent years. With a diminished group of banks willing to commit to the longer-term financings demanded by sponsors required by the economics of the project, appetite for tenors in excess of 15 years has been tepid since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008 and the introduction of more onerous Basel III requirements. Compliance with the recent regulatory framework means that the banks’ liquidity ratios and capital costs will be affected if they agree to longer tenors in a transaction. However, there have been recent developments designed to address the issues relating to Basel III compliance by the inclusion of structures accommodating shorter tenors, such as the mini-perm structure.

FW: What are the drivers behind the EU-EIB Project Bond Initiative? What are its objectives, and how will they be achieved?

Dusina: The aim of the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative is to stimulate capital market financing of largeinfrastructure projects. Under this initiative, the EIB will provide subordinated debt instruments – either a loan or a letter of credit – to enhance the credit quality of senior debt issued by project finance issuers to make them more attractive to institutional investors. Project financings that meet certain eligibility criteria will be able to seek EIB support via these instruments, known as project bond credit enhancement (PBCE), to potentially facilitate capital markets funding. This initiative, if successful, could stimulate the European infrastructure project bond market by providing senior debt instruments at higher ratings than previously seen in the EU market. By providing the PBCE, the EIB will effectively be acting as a subordinated lender. In this context, it is important to understand whether the sub-debt provider has an incentive to stay within or support the project over the long term, aligning its interests with that of senior funders. 

Castillo-Bernaus: The main aim of the EU-EIB Project Bond Initiative is to re-introduce bonds to the European infrastructure market, where their presence has been missed since the financial crisis due to the lack of availability of covered bonds after the downgrading of some monoline insurers. The initiative aims to bring in institutional investors, primarily pension and insurance funds, back into the debt capital markets to fund large scale infrastructure projects. The EU-EIB Initiative contemplates the credit enhancement of senior secured project bonds, such that these debt obligations would achieve a robust level of credit quality attractive to institutional investors. Credit enhancement could take the form of either funded subordinated debt, or an unfunded partial guarantee of senior debt service payment obligations. The relevant support instruments would mitigate credit risk over the full term of the senior debt. 

SchoenHistorically, capital markets issuances have played a substantial role in infrastructure project financing within the EU. The vast majority of them were supported by debt service guarantees which were provided by monoline insurers. Following the financial crisis the monoline-wrapped infrastructure bond market has all but ceased to exist. This, along with most banks redefining their project finance activities has led to a considerable and ever-increasing funding gap within infrastructure project finance. While the concept of monoline-wrapped infrastructure bonds was well established in Europe before the financial crisis, there has never really been a deep market for unwrapped project bonds in Europe, like there is in the US. What has frequently been described as a “reopening” of the project bond market is actually developing an entirely new market. Given European investors’ historical reliance on monolines acting as controlling creditors, following the demise of monolines investors found themselves unable to deal with the analysis, monitoring and ongoing credit processes relating to typical project finance –particularly during the construction phase. The Project Bond Initiative aims to enhance the credit quality of certain European infrastructure projects. It was set up to boost the EU’s infrastructure bond markets, and help infrastructure projects attract long-term private sector investors such as pension funds, insurance companies and others with long term liabilities. Ultimately, the EIB and the European Commission will provide project bond credit enhancement (PBCE) in two ways. These involve the direct contribution of funded subordinated debt, or unfunded letter of credit support to cover construction costs, debt services and so on. There are a number of structural differences between the two proposed forms of PBCE and a traditional monoline-wrapped infrastructure bond. One of the most critical is that, while investors will ultimately benefit from the EIB expertise in due diligence, valuation and pricing methodologies, the EIB does not intend to act as guarantor of debt service or controlling creditor in the way monolines did. The Project Bond Initiative is currently in the early stages of its ‘pilot phase’ which will run until the end of 2013. The pilot was expected to cover between five and 10 projects, the first of which is yet to close. 

FW: How will EIB’s Project Bond Credit Enhancement (PBCE) work? What are the core requirements for an eligible project?

Castillo-Bernaus: The primary purpose of PBCE is to credit enhance senior bonds. The EU-EIB Project Bond Initiative aims to provide partial credit enhancement to projects in order to attract capital market investors. The mechanism of improving the credit standing of projects relies on the capacity to separate the debt of the project company into senior and subordinated tranches. The EIB will provide a subordinated tranche, or facility, to enhance the credit quality of the senior bonds, and therefore increase their credit rating. PBCE will provide this credit-enhancing subordinated tranche in one of two ways: either a loan given to the project company from the outset – a fundedPBCE; or by way of a contingent credit line which can be drawn if the cash flows generated by the project are not sufficient to ensure senior bond debt service or to cover construction costs overruns – and unfundedPBCE. The PBCE is designed for trans-European transport and energy network projects and will be available during the lifetime of the project, including the construction phase.

SchoenFollowing a consultation period on the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative which concluded in early 2011, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank have started a ‘pilot phase’ during which certain forms of PBCE will be used to support infrastructure project bonds. This enables them to test such forms of credit enhancement and allows investors to become familiar with these structures. As part of the pilot phase the EC will contribute €230m, with the EIB expected to leverage this up approximately three times through its own balance sheet. The total budget of €230m is expected to help with investments over €4bn. The enhanced credit quality of eligible EU infrastructure projects is expected to increase overall investor appetite and appeal to a broader range of long liability investors, such as pension funds and insurers, in two ways. First, by reducing overall senior leverage or providing enhanced liquidity, the ratings obtained for a potential bond may be better –initially the Project Bond Initiative will target ‘A’ ratings. Second, as the EIB will be the ultimate provider of either form of PBCE, investors with limited capabilities in assessing the risks involved can rely on the EIB’s due diligence and monitoring expertise. This should result in a substantially wider pool of investors, leading to enhanced demand in both the primary and secondary markets. 

Dusina: The PBCE is proposing to provide credit support to infrastructure projects at the subordinated level of the capital structure so as to enhance the credit quality of a project's senior debt in two different ways. Firstly, funded PBCE will provide credit enhancement through a subordinated loan from the EIB from inception of the project, representing a permanent layer of subordinated debt throughout the life of the project. Secondly, unfunded PBCE will provide a commitment in the form of an irrevocable and unconditional letter of credit with revolving features. This could be drawn in the event the project's cash flows were insufficient to meet capital expenditures; to ensure timely payment of senior debt service; or to partially prepay senior debt to maintain senior debt service coverage ratios (DSCRs) above a certain threshold. It is important to note that while the PBCE can provide credit-positive features in the form of either extra liquidity or reduced senior debt leverage, the PBCE in itself wouldn't be sufficient to enhance the overall credit quality of a project with weak fundamentals. 

FW: What are the advantages and disadvantages of project bonds compared to current financing models? 

Schoen: The bank market is unlikely to return to funding long-term project and infrastructure debt to the same degree as before. Project bonds allow borrowers to access a capital markets investor base, attract another pool of liquidity that could complement – and for some projects fully replace – bank funding and, for projects with a long economic life, obtain longer tenors than available in the bank market. In recent years, fixed income funds have seen robust inflows due to a shift from equity to fixed income. In 2012, fixed income funds around the world managed around $535bn, an increase of 12.7 percent from 2011. By way of comparison, equity funds recorded outflows of $125bn in 2012. Project finance and infrastructure assets, with their long-dated contractual framework and cash flows, lend themselves well to fixed income investors and in particular ‘real money’ investors, such as pension funds and insurances with long-term liabilities structure. Fixed income investors are keen to increase their allocations to long-dated assets as they search for decent returns in the current low interest rate environment. For borrowers, project bonds could help diversify away from a historical reliance on banks as the sole source of funding. The capital markets’ deep investor base and wide geographical spread mean there could be less reliance on investors from one single country. Whereas historically the USD 144A investor base was the only market for long dated bonds, Reg S European and Asian investors have become much more important in recent years and have shown an increased appetite for longer tenors. It remains to be seen whether capital markets will substantially replace bank funding in project and infrastructure financing in EMEA. But projects bonds are certain to play a fundamental role in bringing together capital intensive projects and cash-rich fixed income investors looking for long-dated assets. Capital markets can offer borrowers longer tenors than the banking market as well as flexibility of structures. While historically, banks were able to provide funding with tenors of up to 25 years, bank liquidity has become scarce for tenors beyond 15 years. Liquidity on the outer range of these tenors is only available to highly rated projects with strong sponsors that can capitalise on a group of relationship banks. For the majority of projects, bank liquidity is likely to be scarce beyond 10 year tenors. 

Dusina: The global financial crisis – and the highly leveraged structures which predated it – has had a lasting impact on infrastructure investing. But at the same time, the crisis has helped investors in the asset class understand that long-term institutional money is a good match for infrastructure assets. However, attracting capital into the sector is often less straightforward than it might seem, especially in terms of providing debt. There is a trade-off between not getting a deal done, doing it through the bank market at current market terms, or structuring it with credit features which capital market investors will find attractive. Such investors are typically looking for long-dated – often index-linked – stable revenues with little or no construction risk. Project bonds provide most of these features and increasingly, as in the case of ULiving@Hertfordshire, some exposure to construction risk. 

Castillo-Bernaus: There is a perception amongst some sponsors that issuing project bonds can be a labour and time intensive process and dealing with a large pool of bondholders during the life of a project – rather than a group of lenders accustomed to the demands of a project financing – can be problematic. Additionally, exposure to timing and pricing uncertainty on launch due to capital markets volatility, public disclosure requirements in the offer documents, cost-of-carry on bond proceeds and lack of flexibility and active participation of bondholders in decision making are some of the well-documented drawbacks with bond funding. However, the pricing and tenors available in the capital markets in recent years have meant that this is a financing option that cannot be ignored by sponsors seeking to optimise their financing plans. Project bonds have a deeper investor base which provides long maturity and fixed rate funding without the regulatory constraints imposed on banks. Bonds also offer a generally more flexible covenant package than traditional project finance resulting in less instructive oversight of project-level decision making. In light of the limited availability of commercial bank lending, the competitive debt costs and longer tenors available from the capital markets offer an attractive alternative to sponsors. 

FW: What risks do project bonds present to investors and how can these be mitigated? What factors do the credit agencies consider when they are trying to rate a bond?

Dusina: Investors, in particular, appear to be anxious that projects exposed to construction risk cannot achieve higher ratings. This is not true as there are single A rated projects that are currently in construction. This does not mean it is a simple assignment, and sometimes the sponsors may have to commit more equity or find alternative forms of risk capital such as credit support packages. Moreover, if a project has a weak business profile, is exposed to a weak irreplaceable counterparty, or has a transaction structure that doesn't sufficiently protect project creditors, then the presence of credit enhancement facilities (for example, PBCE), even if properly structured, would, at best, only delay the project's eventual demise rather than structurally enhance its long-term capacity to service senior debt fully and timely. Ultimately, projects need strong fundamental economics and strong contractual support packages during construction and the operation phases in order to achieve higher ratings. 

Castillo-Bernaus: The project finance market is dominated by greenfield schemes, which presents a challenge for project issuers in debt capital markets. Greenfield projects present potential bondholders with a combination of funding and construction risk. Project construction risk is usually a risk that investors are unwilling to take and want to see covered in creditworthy completion guarantees. Potential bondholders perform the same qualitative risk based analysis as undertaken by banks in loan transactions. Key considerations, as with conventional lenders, will include whether the project benefits from an investment grade rating, robust completion guarantees, a turn-key fixed price engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with an investment grade rated contractor, robust liquidity reserves or delay in start-up insurance. Another significant risk of project bonds to investors is the lack of institutional knowledge of many potential investors to assess and monitor project finance risk. Some of this risk can be mitigated by employing objective rather than subjective covenants and ceding the role of monitoring the project to other creditors in a multi-source financing project or to other agents or technical experts. The credit agencies have their own published criteria for reviewing a project and aggressively disenfranchising bondholders can have an adverse impact on a rating. Conversely, rating agencies may ‘notch-up’ the credit rating of a bond depending on the robust nature of the contractual structure, the extent of sponsor support and the extent of governmental support. 

SchoenThere are typically no specific risks to bondholders involved in a project financing beyond those that would be faced by other lenders. The project bond terms largely mirror those for other lenders in the same financing. In some projects, the voting mechanics for bondholders may differ from those of the other lenders –reflecting the voting dynamics of capital markets investors. 

FW: Are there any regulatory or legislative concerns surrounding the use of project bonds? How can these be addressed?

Castillo-Bernaus: Generally, there are fewer direct regulatory or legislative concerns surrounding a project bond than traditional methods of financing projects. For example, project bonds are not subject to the Equator Principles for environmental issues. However, there are several indirect regulatory and legislative concerns surrounding the use of project bonds. For publicly bid projects, it is difficult in certain jurisdictions for a sponsor to include a project bond as part of its committed financing due to the difficulty in predicting the market forces that may impact the pricing of a project bond near financial close. Additionally, project bonds traditionally benefit from similar security packages as commercial loans and the laws of certain jurisdictions may severely limit the ability to grant security to bondholders. Further, a key objective when raising funds from the capital markets is often to secure a credit rating at, or above, investment grade from one of the internationally recognised agencies in order to secure funds at commercially competitive rates. This is especially true on greenfield projects as institutional investors will be more likely to invest if the project has been given an appropriate rating by one of the rating agencies. Finally, the level of disclosure to potential investors in a prospectus or offering memorandum is another important consideration for issuers. Depending on whether the issuer is raising capital from public markets or from the institutional or private market, the requirements of disclosure vary. Broadly speaking, raising capital from public markets is more heavily regulated than raising funds in the private or institutional markets where investors are viewed as more sophisticated.

SchoenThere is a concern amongst European institutions and the private sector that Solvency II may disadvantage such long dated asset classes as project and infrastructure bonds. Capital charges under those regulations are primarily based on credit quality and duration without accounting for recoveries and security packages. This penalises long term maturities, especially those with low investment grade ratings. There have therefore been discussions to treat infrastructure assets as a separate category and to consider the risk profiles of project bonds when setting capital charges. Supporters of this argue that project finance and infrastructure assets typically experience low default and high recovery. According to Moody’s study of 3533 projects worldwide, lenders to these deals had a low probability of default – max 1.9 percent – in any given year and ultimate recovery rates were in the region 80 percent. Project and infrastructure bonds, particularly amortising structures, tend to be less liquid than corporate issuances. The ‘real money’ investors need long-dated assets to match their liabilities. They are therefore more likely to hold assets longer, impacting liquidity of the bonds. 

Dusina: The project must be bankruptcy remote from its parent(s), meaning the only insolvency risk that project finance debt-holders bear is the failure of the project. The bankruptcy remote structure is interpreted in the context of the legal jurisdiction applicable under the project. In some legislation, the concept of ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ is not entirely recognised and duly segregated from its ownership structure. Hence, it will not offer sufficient protection in a distress scenario to investors at project level. A mitigant could be, for instance, the presence of additional parents that have the rights and abilities to block a filing and could address the credit risk pertaining to the bankruptcy risk of a single parent. 

FW: Project bonds are not a new phenomenon. To what extent have they been used to kick-start infrastructure development in other countries? Could you provide any recent examples?

SchoenIn the UK we saw a number of PFI and PPP bonds issued prior to 2008 that helped attract long term funding to such sectors as transport, healthcare and defence. The UK PFI scheme secured over 35 year financing solutions for healthcare projects by using project bonds in combination with monoline wraps. The availability of such long tenors has been an important factor in the scheme’s ability to effectively finance such projects. The UK infrastructure market has transformed significantly from being almost entirely bank funded in the early 2000s, to roughly 60 percent capital markets funded in 2012. Since 2004, UK infrastructure has seen over £70bn of capital markets issuance. 

Dusina: Examples of wide use of project bonds include Asia, prior to the 1997 crisis, where there was widespread issuance in the energy sector for IPPs in the Philippines, Indonesia and, in transportation, China. Since then, the most prominent use of project bonds outside the US and Canada has been in Latin America, for instance with toll roads in Chile, and Europe, for example with roads in Spain, France and Eastern Europe. Probably the best example of project bonds kick-starting infrastructure development has been the PFI where, with the use of monoline guarantees, over £20bn of project bond issuance took place during 1997-2006. Finally, in Italy last year, new legislation on project bonds was officially launched with the aim of reviving its infrastructure sector. 

Castillo-Bernaus: There has been an increased level of activity year on year in the GCC bonds and Sukuk markets, composed mainly of sovereign and corporate issuances denominated in local and foreign currencies and are issued for financing purposes. However, project bonds remain underused. Saudi Arabia’s Sadara Chemical Company – the $20bn petrochemical joint venture between Saudi Aramco and the Dow Chemical Company – issued its $2bn project Sukuk as part of its financing in April of this year. This has come after the successful project Sukuk in 2011 for Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Company (SATORP). Additionally, the region’s pipeline of project bonds is likely to grow in the next few years. What is becoming clear is that on many large scale project financings, sponsors are ensuring that the documentation can accommodate a project bond tranche, whether on a ‘day one’ basis or by way of future refinancings. This in itself poses challenges and requires considerable re-working of the intercreditor positions to ensure bondholder decision-making is limited where appropriate and works alongside other non-bond debt tranches. Despite the relative infancy of the market, potential project bond issuers have some foundations to build on. In addition to SATORP and Sadara, Dolphin Energy and RasGas III have used project bonds to finance their respective projects. At the same time, emerging markets like Egypt, Oman and Tunisia are eyeing their debuts in the Sukuk market.

FW: What developments do you expect to see in the project bond space in the next 12-18 months? Do you expect to see project bonds become an integral facet of energy and infrastructure funding, globally?

Dusina: Traditional lenders are facing economic and regulatory pressure, at a time when demand for infrastructure investment globally is expanding exponentially. At the same time, investor portfolios are increasingly shifting toward alternative assets, such as energy and transportation, as they are more cash-generative. Consequently, there has been an increase in the capital market funding of infrastructure projects, and I believe it will continue throughout 2013 and 2014. As a result, new investors have entered the market, many of whom are making greater use of research from credit rating agencies or adding staff familiar with the risks inherent in the sector. We estimate that over the next year the amount of capital raised from alternative sources, including project bonds, could be as high as $50bn. We anticipate that an increasing number of bond structures will make use of credit enhancement products, such as the EIB’s PBCE, although we also expect a large number of bonds to be issued on an unenhanced basis. But, while alternative financiers could be beneficial to the infrastructure sector, providing a stable source of funding potentially helping to reduce borrowing cost for projects, the somewhat opaque nature of the shadow banking system is not without its challenges for the infrastructure sector. 

Castillo-Bernaus: As the commercial banks’ ability to provide long-term debt remains constrained and the pricing of bank debt remains relatively expensive in comparison to bond yields, the competitive edge previously enjoyed by the loan market is slowly shifting towards capital markets. Countries with ambitious infrastructure plans, especially in the GCC, are promoting the use of project bonds on certain projects. As institutional investors and rating agencies get accustomed to using project bonds in raising initial debt, the appetite for taking greenfield risk is likely to increase. Project bonds will no longer be seen as a method of refinancing, but also as a viable financing tool alongside the loan market, which is likely to recover in the coming period. 

SchoenA large number of projects need to be funded or refinanced in Europe in the coming years – the EU estimates €1.5 trillion investment requirement in transportation, energy and broadband by 2020. Meanwhile, long-dated bank liquidity remains constrained by high funding costs and continuing deleveraging. This all points towards the continuous efforts of European governments, pan-European institutions and the private sector to increase the use of capital markets for funding European infrastructure. These initiatives will continue to focus on structural credit enhancement, voting mechanics and capital treatment by insurance companies under the Solvency II rules – and similar regulations for other investor institutions. The pace of this change will depend on the success of the various pilot projects, such as PBCE, in addressing issues around construction risk, controlling creditor and capital treatment. Whereas we do not expect capital markets funding to fully replace bank financing, we believe that project bonds will become far more significant as an alternative funding source. We are likely to see more financings where project bonds are used alongside bank and ECA covered debt.


Bert Schoen is a managing director at the Royal Bank of Scotland, heading the CEEMEA structured Finance team.  He has a broad experience in the infrastructure sector having acted as adviser to private sector sponsors developing projects, adviser to governments in tendering projects, and structurer of bonds and loans for projects and corporates.  Prior to his current role, Mr Schoen led a team that focused on developing and acting as equity investor in PPP and PFI projects, and set up a fund to manage the equity. He can be contacted on +44 (0)20 7085 9799 or by email:

Manuel Dusina is an associate director in Standard & Poor’s Project Finance ratings group. He is currently primary analyst for a diversified portfolio of 12 credit ratings, including High Speed 1 which has recently issued project bonds on the UK capital market. Mr Dusina joined Standard & Poor's in 2011, having worked previously for the European Investment Bank within the project and structured finance division for five years. He holds a degree in Finance and Economics and a master degree in Finance both from University of Brescia, Italy. Mr Dusina can be contacted on +44 (0) 20 7176 5530 or by email:

Mark Castillo-Bernaus is a partner in White & Case’s Energy, Infrastructure, Project and Asset Finance Group in London. He has acted for lenders, sponsors and borrowers in numerous project finance transactions covering a wide range of sectors such as oil and gas, power, mining and metals, petrochemicals, telecoms, and infrastructure. He has particular experience in large complex multi-sourced project financings in Europe, the Middle East and Africa involving commercial banks, export credit agencies, development financial institutions and project bonds. Mr Castillo-Bernaus can be contacted on +44 20 7532 2319 or by email:

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Bert Schoen



Manuel Dusina

Standard & Poor’s


Mark Castillo-Bernaus

White & Case

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