What is project finance?

  • Received December 24, 2016;
    Accepted February 15, 2017;
    Published May 8, 2017
  • Author(s)
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  • Article Info
    Volume 14 2017, Issue #1 (cont.), pp. 200-210
  • Cited by
    11 articles

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Project finance is the process of financing a specific economic unit that the sponsors create, in which creditors share much of the venture’s business risk and funding is obtained strictly for the project itself. Project finance creates value by reducing the costs of funding, maintaining the sponsors financial flexibility, increasing the leverage ratios, avoiding contamination risk, reducing corporate taxes, improving risk management, and reducing the costs associated with market imperfections. However, project finance transactions are complex undertakings, they have higher costs of borrowing when compared to conventional financing and the negotiation of the financing and operating agreements is time-consuming. In addition to describing the economic motivation for the use of project finance, this paper provides details on project finance characteristics and players, presents the recent trends of the project finance market and provides some statistics in relation to project finance lending activity between 2000 and 2014. Statistical analysis shows that project finance loans arranged for U.S. borrowers have higher credit spreads and upfront fees, and have higher loan size to deal size ratios when compared with loans arranged for borrowers located in W.E. On the contrary, loans closed in the U.S. have a much shorter average maturity and are much less likely to be subject to currency risk and to be closed as term loans.

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    • Fig. 1. Typical structure of a project finance deal
    • Table 1. Distribution of the sample of PF deals by year
    • Table 2. Industrial distribution of the sample of PF deals
    • Table 3. Geographic distribution of the sample of PF deals
    • Table 4. Contractual characteristics of the sample of PF loans