MILBANK ADVISES ON FIRST DIRECT POINT-TO-POINT SUBSEA FIBER OPTIC CABLE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND BRAZIL

US$500 million financing for Seabras-1 has been completed; Seabras-1 will use next generation coherent technology to deliver high capacity telecommunications for one of the fastest growing transoceanic routes in the world

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is advising Seaborn Networks on building the first direct point-to-point submarine cable connection between New York and São Paulo. The $500 million financing for the cable project, known as Seabras-1, has been completed for the new transoceanic subsea fiber optic cable system connecting points of presence (POPs) between the US and Brazil, as detailed in the press release issued by Seaborn. All conditions to this project financing have been fully satisfied; debt and equity funds have been drawn.

Milbank corporate partner John Franchini led the team representing Massachusetts based Seaborn together with project finance senior associate Oliver Irwin and corporate senior associate Dean Sattler. Advice also was provided by tax partner Russell Kestenbaum, executive compensation partner Mike Shah, antitrust partner Fiona Schaeffer, corporate associates Kevin Begley and Joanne Luckey, project finance associates Benjamin Pridgeon and Vicky Cox and tax associate Nicholas DeLuca.

Full project equity capital was provided by Partners Group and development capital was provided by Seaborn. The project funding also includes a total project debt commitment of up to US$267 million provided by Natixis, Banco Santander, Commerzbank and Intesa SanPaulo, which is backed by COFACE, the French Export Credit Agency.

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Seabras-1, owned jointly by Seaborn and global private markets investment manager Partners Group, uses next generation coherent technology to deliver high-capacity and low latency telecommunications for one of the fastest growing transoceanic routes in the world. This six-fiber pair system with initial maximum design capacity of 72Tbps is the first system to provide a direct route between the commercial and financial centers of the United States and Brazil. Seabras-1 also includes branching units installed on certain of its fiber pairs that point towards Halifax (Canada), Ashburn (US), Miami (US), St. Croix (US), Fortaleza (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Las Toninas (Argentina).

Milbank’s Mr. Franchini said, “We’re delighted to work with a leading subsea cable developer and operator, and a world class investment firm, in bringing together the necessary debt and equity financing to advance this historic transaction, a major step in enhancing telecommunications infrastructure between Brazil and the rest of the world. We are seeing more and more interest in subsea telecom systems like Seabras-1 and expect that interest to continue.”

“We’re thrilled to have helped Seabras-1 secure the first ever export agency-backed project financing of a subsea cable system,” added Milbank’s Oliver Irwin.

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