利用中国“一带一路”资金来进行电力项目融资的十项须知(Tapping Chinese Belt and Road capital for power projects)

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中国对“一带一路”沿线国际的投资可能高达1.5万亿美元(约两万亿新元),这将让中国成为该区域中能源投资的最大金主。对于任何新兴电力市场的投资者而言,中国的资金不容忽视。在这个纲要里,我们探讨如何利用这些资金。

China’s Belt & Road Initiative (B&R) could see up to USD1.5 trillion invested in the 60 countries that comprise the B&R. This will make China the largest funder of power in the region.

一、您的目标国家是“一带一路”所涵盖的国家吗? Is your target country Belt & Road?

 

中国外交官们宣传了一个在定义上无所不包的“一带一路”,并指其延伸至澳大利亚、南美洲及英国。外交官们的版本避免了冒犯他人,但并没有准确描述中国资金正流向何处。中国资金实际上专注在个小范围内的亚洲、欧亚及非洲国家中。中国资本的理想投资目的地位于着“一带一路”核心地区,与中国保持良好关系,并且往往没有被商业银行所覆盖。在理想的情况下,该国对劳动力的管制宽松,允许中国派遣劳动力,而且是中国出口信用保险公司(Sinosure,简称中国信保)没有过度参与的地方。

Chinese diplomats have promoted an all-encompassing definition of B&R that extends to Australia, South America and the UK. The diplomat’s version avoids offence, but it does not accurately describe where Chinese capital is currently going. It is currently focused on a narrow band of Asian, Eurasian and African countries.

The ideal host country for Chinese capital is along the core B&R, one which maintains a good relationship with China and is typically not covered by commercial banks. The country would ideally have relaxed labour controls, allowing for the deployment of Chinese labour and is preferably one that Sinosure, China's export credit insurer is not over exposed to.

二、您的目标国家对中国资金开放吗? Is your target country open to Chinese investment?

 

一些国家持续对中国企业的投资、尤其是国企的投资敏感。您需要知道与一家中国企业合作,可能让外资审查部门对你的项目进行更多审查。尤其是,中国许多在“一带一路”沿线国家寻找合作伙伴的都是国企。

Some countries continue to be sensitive to investment by Chinese companies, particularly state owned enterprises. You need to understand the additional scrutiny from foreign investment approval authorities that partnering with a Chinese company may bring - particularly as any B&R partner will generally be state-owned.

三、有没有紧迫的投标时限? Is there a tight bid timeframe?

 

较国际化的中国企业与中国私人企业应对紧迫投标时间表的能力绰绰有余。但较少国际经验的中国地方国企,则会感到困难。此外,除了出境审批制度,中国的银行也是造成延误的原因之一。投资条款清单(term sheets)及承诺函(commitment letters) 可以很快凑齐,但信贷审批需要时间。

The more international Chinese companies and private Chinese companies can readily meet tight bid timelines. More locally owned Chinese state owned enterprises with less international experience find this more difficult. In addition to the outbound approvals regime, Chinese bank support can be a source of delays. The term sheets and commitment letters can be pulled together quickly but credit approval can take time.

四、您能接受只持少数股权吗? Can you accept a minority shareholding?

 

外国投资者能够利用中国“一带一路”资金的最常见的机会,是扮演工程主办人(sponsor)的角色。外国投资者不能扮演工程的设计采购施工总承包(EPC)、分包商或供应商的角色,因为这将无法满足中国参与度的规定。一般上,五大中国电力公司(国电集团、华电集团、华能集团、电力投资集团公司及大唐国际发电股份有限公司)需要成为大股东。不过,如果您的伙伴是中国的工程总承包(EPC)或是涡轮/面板供应商,您或能洽谈持多数股权。

The typical opportunity open to a foreign investor looking to tap Chinese B&R capital will be a sponsor role. A foreign investor will not be able to take key EPC, sub-contractor or supplier roles because the project would then fail to meet requirements for China content in the investment. Generally, the big five Chinese power companies will need to be the majority shareholder, but if your partner is a Chinese EPC contractor or turbine/panel supplier, you may be able to negotiate a majority shareholding.

五、辨识中国EPC是您通往中国的银行的主要管道 Identify your Chinese EPC Contractor - your key route to Chinese banks

 

中国的银行是以承包商为客户,而非借款人/主办人。这意味着您需要承包商以获得具有吸引力条件的融资,以及克服谈判上的阻碍。您应尽早确认中国的金融支持的实质内涵,因为承包商在争取EPC任务授权时,有时会在资金问题上做出鲁莽的承诺。对围绕优惠条款所作承诺,投资者应谨慎,您也应查清银行对于工程主办人的追索权,以及控制权变动的立场。关键是,应一开始就进行协商,同时在理想情况下,将一份金融投资条款清单装订到与承包商的协议中。

The contractor, not the borrower/sponsor, is the Chinese bank’s customer. That means you need the contractor to secure finance on attractive terms and to overcome negotiation obstacles. You should establish early on the substance to Chinese finance support, as contractors can make rash promises around finance when securing an EPC mandate. Investors should be cautious around promises of concessionary terms and you should check the bank’s position on recourse to sponsors and change of control. Key points should be negotiated up front and ideally, a finance term sheet stapled to agreements with the contractor.

六、保持竞争张力以管理执行风险 Maintain competitive tension to manage execution risk

 

当外国企业与中国企业合作时,项目的执行风险往往更高。谈判被拖延、协议被重启讨论、每遇新的障碍,而出境及信贷审批未能实现,向工程主办人追索的要求就会被提出。管理执行风险的关键,与另一名非中国承包商保持尽可能长时间的竞争张力。

Projection execution risk tends to be higher when foreign companies partner with Chinese companies. Negotiations drag on, agreed positions are re-opened, requirements for recourse to the sponsor are raised each time a new obstacle is encountered and outbound and credit approvals fail to materialise. A key to managing execution risk is to maintain competitive tension from a non-Chinese contractor for as long as possible.

七、了解中国出境审批 Understanding Chinese outbound approvals

 

中国出境审批与中国的银行信贷审批流程并没有被很好地理解。如果小心管理,这些审批所带来的风险是微不足道的。关键是要了解哪些监管机构需要批准该项交易,几时能获得审批,以及交易文件是否需先获出境批准。尽早察觉到问题是很重要的。

The Chinese outbound approvals and Chinese bank credit approval processes are not well understood. Carefully managed, the risks these approvals present are minimal. The key is to understand which regulators need to approve the transaction, when the approvals will be obtained and whether the transaction documents need to be conditional upon outbound approval. It is important to be aware of problems as early as possible.

八、让文件及结构保持简单 Keep documents and structures simple

 

让文件及架构保持简单,并遵循成功前例的重要性,这点绝不担心被过分强调。您的伙伴一般上会需要董事会、股东、信贷方及各项政府审批与注册,而以上各方都需了解交易的架构。需要特别指出,中国的银行信贷部门是世界上最忙碌的,一个按照先例的简单结构会比新架构的文件更快获得批准。

The importance of keeping documents and structures simple and following established precedents used by Chinese investors on similar projects cannot be over-emphasised. Your partner will generally need board, shareholder, credit and various governmental approvals or registrations all of them need to understand the structure of the transaction. The credit departments of the Chinese banks in particular are the busiest in the world. A simple structure that follows established precedents will be approved more quickly than a new one.

九、电力回购协议(PPA)方面是否有主权支持? Is there sovereign support for the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

 

中国的银行需要中国信保的保障才能资助项目。中国信保一般上倾向处在PPA承购义务的主权担保的后方。在困难的司法管辖区进行的中国电力项目,一般都曾为承购提供主权支持。近期在巴基斯坦及印度尼西亚的中国投标者正对这一要求进行测试,但在任何情况下,为承购提供强大的主权支持,意味着批准将会更容易。

Chinese banks require Sinosure cover in order to fund a project. Sinosure generally prefers to sit behind a sovereign guarantee of the PPA offtaker obligations. Chinese power projects in difficult jurisdictions have generally had sovereign support for the offtake.

Recent Chinese tenders in Pakistan and Indonesia are testing this requirement, but in any event, strong sovereign support for the offtake will mean easier approvals.

十、在发生纠纷时,您可执行中国的母公司担保 In the event of dispute, you can enforce a Chinese parent company guarantee

 

在与中国的EPC承包商交涉时,外国投资者往往过于强调执行风险。您的承包商的母公司担保将不可避免地会与中国国企有关,这些国企很可能是位于北京。这意味着在发生纠纷时,您在新加坡、伦敦或香港的仲裁裁决可能最终需要由北京的法院来执行。中国已推出措施,以确保这些仲裁裁决会在中国实施,在实践中也应该往往是这样。但在一些情况下,工程主办人也遇到从中国的银行调用银行担保问题。尽管少见,过去确实发生过几宗这样的案例——中国的法庭在中国法院的管辖权已被排除的情况下,要求行使司法管辖权约束对银行担保的调用。这种风险不应被夸大,但工程主办人应仍然考虑要求由非中国的银行来提供银行担保。

Foreign investors tend to over-emphasise enforcement risks when dealing with a Chinese EPC contractor. Your contractor’s parent company guarantee will invariably be with a mainland Chinese state owned enterprise, probably based in Beijing. That means in the event of a dispute, your Singapore, London or Hong Kong arbitration award may ultimately need to be enforced in courts in Beijing. China has introduced procedures to ensure that such awards are readily enforced in China, and in practice, this should usually be the case. However, occasionally sponsors have encountered issues calling bank guarantees from Chinese banks.  While rare, there have been cases of Chinese courts claiming jurisdiction to restrain a call on the bank guarantee, even where the jurisdiction of Chinese courts had been excluded.  This risk should not be overstated, but sponsors should still consider asking for bank guarantees issued by a non-Chinese bank.

 

 

英文原题:Tapping Chinese Belt and Road capital for power projects
版权所有:英国诺顿罗氏(Norton Rose Fulbright)律师事务所,2016年1月

 

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