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Ropes & Gray Advises on Pioneering pro bono ‘debt for nature’ Swap

Practices: Finance

Ropes & Gray has advised - on a pro bono basis - the Nature Conservancy (TNC) on a pioneering ‘debt-for-nature’ swap with the Republic of Seychelles, which will create a marine protection zone larger than Germany in the Indian Ocean.  

The deal enables the Seychelles to get some of its national debt paid off in return for agreeing to protect approximately 400,000 sq km of ocean. It was structured through a repurchasing of bilateral loans by the Seychelles from the Paris Club of sovereign creditors at a pre-agreed discount funded by a mixture of grants and new ‘impact’ capital arranged by TNC.

The new financing will promote implementation of a Marine Spatial Plan for the entire Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone, a territory approximately 3,000 times the size of their land mass. The deal will also ensure approximately 400,000 sq km / 98.9 million acres will be managed for conservation as marine protected areas (MPAs) within five years.

The Ropes & Gray team included London-based lawyers Jack Bodkin and Amrita Khemka (finance) and Eloise Morse (corporate).

Ropes & Gray’s London office, which has particularly strong capabilities in the areas of private equity, finance, restructuring, special situations and fund formation, deployed a multi-disciplinary team to help TNC make this innovative structure a reality.

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