Linklaters advises China Development Bank on $629m financing of the Lekki Port project in Nigeria

  • Nigeria’s first deep sea port
  • Upon completion, Lekki deep sea port will become one of the deepest draught ports in Africa
  • Successful closing of financing to enable, previously delayed, construction and operation

Linklaters has advised China Development Bank as arranger and lender on the $629m financing of the Lekki Port project in Nigeria. The project is sponsored by China Harbour Engineering Limited (CHEC) and Tolaram Port Investment Inc. under a concession originally granted by the Nigerian Port Authority in April 2011.

The financing is for the development and operation of the first phase of the concession, consisting of a container terminal with two berths located in the Lagos Free Trade Zone in Lagos State, Nigeria.

The operation of the project will be managed under a sub-concession arrangement with CMA Terminals Nigeria, a joint venture company owned by French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM and CHEC.

The successful closing of this financing will, after many years of delay, now enable the construction and operation of Nigeria’s first deep sea port. Upon completion, Lekki deep sea port will become one of Africa’s deepest draught ports. This will help accommodate larger vessels and establish Nigeria as the primary trans-shipment hub in the region.

The Linklaters team was led by Stephen Le Vesconte (Partner, Paris) and Xiaohui Ji (Partner, Beijing). The members of the core team included James McLaren (Partner, Hong Kong) Jianbin Wang (Managing Associate, Beijing), Gilly Hutchinson (Managing Associate, Hong Kong), Daisy Liu (Associate, Beijing), Patrick Chen (Associate, Beijing) and Alex Bluett (Managing Associate, Paris).

The project is part of Linklaters’ extensive portfolio of work in Africa spanning 40 years of experience in the continent. Recently, Linklaters advised GSEZ Ports on the refinancing of the New Owendo International Port project by the EAIF and the AfDB. Other prominent deals include 

  • Linklaters advised the lenders on the Nacala Corridor project, a US$4bn rail and port project in Malawi and Mozambique, the largest infrastructure project financing in Africa (Winner: Africa Transport Deal of the Year: Nacala Logistics Corridor, IJ Global Awards 2018; Winner: Africa Logistics Deal of the Year: Nacala Corridor Rail and Port project, Project Finance International Awards 2017) 
  • Linklaters advised the sponsors (Eni, CNPC, ENH, GALP and KOGAS) and their affiliate borrowers on the US$5bn project financing of the Coral South FLNG project financing. This financing is Africa’s largest ever project financing and is also the first ever project financing of a floating LNG project anywhere in the world (Winner: Africa Midstream Oil & Gas Deal of the Year: Coral South FLNG, IJ Global Awards 2018; Winner Africa Oil and Gas Deal of the Year: Coral South, Project Finance International Awards 2017) 
  • Linklaters advised Albatros Energy Mali S.A. on the structuring and financing of the first IPP project in Mali