Cate Street Capital's $275 Million Berlin Station Biomass Project Secures Investment Grade Financing in Challenging Market

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Cate Street Capital Inc. of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has been able to secure investment grade financing of a $275 Million Biomass Project in Berlin, NH, despite a challenging market.

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Without Prudential's unique and creative approach, and tremendous diligence, this project would not have received the 'BBB' investment that it did.

In today’s very challenging capital market, closing a complex financing package for $275 million to build a biomass power plant is a major achievement in and of itself. Securing an investment grade rating for the project seemed almost unthinkable to many. But that’s exactly what Cate Street Capital, Inc. (“Cate Street”) did, with a strong assist from Prudential Capital Group.

Cate Street, a private investment firm and national leader in developing green technology companies and renewable energy projects, said Prudential Capital Group, led by Managing Director Ric Abel, was instrumental in securing the investment grade rating.

Cate Street Capital President and CEO John Hallé said, “Without Prudential’s unique and creative approach, and tremendous diligence, this project would not have received the “BBB” investment grade that it did.”

Prudential Capital Group, a global provider of private capital, through its Electric Finance Group, was the lead lender providing senior secured debt to the project.

“Completing project finance, especially of this size, that incorporates New Markets Tax Credits (“NMTC”), Section 1603 Grant in Lieu of Investment Tax Credits, and Senior Debt is not an easy undertaking,” added Hallé, “and Prudential assisted and guided everyone involved in successfully navigating its complexity.”

NMTC is a US Treasury program aimed at encouraging investment in projects located in economically distressed areas of the country.

Berlin Station, a 75 MW facility, will sell energy, capacity and Class I Renewable Energy Credits to Public Service Company of New Hampshire under a twenty year power purchase agreement. The project has all required permits and approvals to begin construction and is expected to generate power by late 2013. It will create approximately four hundred construction jobs and forty permanent jobs in the economically depressed area, and once complete, is expected to be among the largest and most environmentally advanced biomass energy plants in the Northeast.

The biomass power plant will sit on the Androscoggin River in downtown Berlin on property that was formerly part of the Fraser Papers pulp mill that closed in 2006. The plant will burn approximately 750,000 tons of low-grade wood per year, supporting several hundred jobs for foresters, loggers and chippers. Berlin Station is estimated to inject approximately $25 million annually into New Hampshire’s North Country economy.

“We are very pleased with the financing package in place,” said Hallé, “and are looking forward to the start of construction, anticipated to begin next week, and the benefits this project will to bring to New Hampshire’s North Country for years to come.”


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Deb Daigle
Montagne Communications
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