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Keppel Infra Trust unit gets 1-year loan payment extension for Basslink undersea cable

KEPPEL Infrastructure Trust's (KIT) Australian unit, Basslink, has got a one-year extension on the maturity date of a loan for its undersea electricity cable, it said in a bourse filing on Wednesday.

Basslink, an undersea power cable company, said financiers of the cable, the Basslink Interconnector, have also extended the waiver of all breaches and events of default under the project by a year.

The interconnector links the electricity grids of Victoria and Tasmania in Australia.

The loan deadline extension comes after Australian state enterprise Hydro Tasmania had in October restricted Basslink from operating at full capacity except during critical periods.

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Under Hydro Tasmania's instructions, from Nov 1 to May 31, the last 33 megawatts (MW) of Basslink's 478 MW capacity can only be used when the wholesale electricity price reaches the market price cap.

Basslink is in dispute with both the state of Tasmania and Hydro Tasmania over a six-month outage of the cable in 2015. Tasmania last year claimed some A$100 million (S$92.6 million) over the cable failure.

Basslink had gone into technical default on its project financing, and had a loan of A$694.4 million that matures in November.

"Given that there is no contractual recourse to KIT under the project financing and KIT does not rely on Basslink’s cash flows for distributions, the above-mentioned update is not expected to have any material financial impact on the distribution per unit of KIT for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2019," said KIT.

KIT units closed up S$0.01 or 1.9 per cent to S$0.535 on Tuesday.