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Champagne-Biomass

CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats and Linklaters, legal advisors on two energy transition projects

As part of financing a pellets production unit and a biomass-combined heat and power (CHP) plant in the town of Pomacle in the Champagne-Ardenne, CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats advised the Meridiam investment fund, the Caisse des dépôts et consignation and Européenne de Biomasse whereas Linklaters advised CIC/La Banque Postale AM (LBPAM).

The Meridiam investment fund (a leader in the long-term investment and management of infrastructure projects), the Caisse des dépôts et consignations and Européenne de Biomasse (a French company specialised in the biomass and pellets sectors, a substitute for coal) have completed the financing of a 12 megawatt biomass-CHP plant for the production of heat and electricity and a production unit for white and black pellets with an annual capacity of 120,000 tonnes of pellets.

Biomass is made up of wood, wood waste, agricultural residues and agri-food industry residues. It is a renewable, local and storable energy that is not intermittent. It is a climate-friendly alternative, and a solution for the development of new growth and energy independence.

This project, the first of its type in France, introduces a particular circuit design as both plants will supply external operators with pellets, electricity and steam and be interdependent: the by-products of the pellets will indeed be used as fuel for the production of heat by the biomass plant, this being used in the pellet production process.

These two plants will be financed through two project companies and a holding company, more than 80% of which is owned by Meridiam, alongside the Caisse des dépôts et consignations and Européenne de Biomasse.

Only the biomass-CHP plant has been financed through external private financing, arranged by CIC and Banque Postale AM.

Meridiam, the Caisse des dépôts et consignations and Européenne de Biomasse were advised by CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats. The team comprised:

  • François Tenailleau, partner, Sophie Weill and Inès Tantardini, associates, for infrastructure and project matters;
  • Arnaud Hugot, partner, Benoît Gomel and Noëlle Boualem, associates, for corporate matters;  
  • Anne-Laure Villedieu, partner, Jean-Baptiste Thiénot, legal counsel and Clotilde Patte, associate, for commercial contracts, intellectual and industrial property matters;
  • Geoffrey Levesque, legal counsel, and Sadri Desenne-Djoudi, associate, for project finance matters;
  • Céline Cloché-Dubois, legal counsel, for urban planning/environment matters;
  • Philippe Donneaud and Henri Bitar, partners, for tax matters;
  • Claire Vannini, partner, and Lola Nihotte, associate, for competition and state aid matters;

The Caisse des dépôts et consignations was also advised by UGGC with Yves Mondellini, partner, for corporate matters.

CIC and Banque Postale AM were advised by Linklaters LLP with Bertrand Andriani, partner, assisted by Darko Adamovic, legal counsel, Alex Bluett, Nathanaël Caillard and Binta Barry, associates, for financing and project matters and by Paul Lignières, partner, assisted by Clémence Graffan, associate, for public law, regulatory and authorisation matters.

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