CFO at UDP Renewables Kiril Bondar on Solar Power Plant Development in Ukraine

CEELM: What were the most challenging aspects of this project to manage, and why?

K.B: The Renewables business was a new field for UDP Group. Since time is the most critical factor when developing renewable projects we need to build our pilot PV station fast, with no risks, and with our reputation kept high. The complexity of the project was the major challenge for us since it included deal structuring, tenders, tenders for equipment and EPC, a funding arrangement including bank loan and collaterals, import, construction, and finally putting the station into operation and obtaining a “green tariff.”

CEELM:  Did entering into the Renewables sector present any unexpected challenges?

K.B.: To be frank the most unexpected challenge was the fact that permission procedures and dealing with regulators took more time than project construction itself. We definitely see improvements in the energy sector in Ukraine but still it takes time and leads to losing several months of electricity generation. So proper planning, risk management, conservative financial models, and top class legal services are among most crucial elements of project management.

CEELM: Why did you decide to reach out to Everlegal for assistance on the project?

K.B: By assessing the firm’s previous expertise, its client-oriented approach, its flexibility and proactive approach in providing solutions, and its competitive pricing, we made our decision to engage with Everlegal on the project.

CEELM: Everlegal’s press release reported that Managing Partner Yevheniy Deyneko “provided specialist advice on certain project-related matters.” What matters were those? 

K.B: Yevheniy assisted the team led by Andriy Olenyuk by offering his insights and specialist knowledge on corporate, antitrust, and regulatory matters.

CEELM: If it’s not confidential, what was the nature of the fee arrangement you operated under, and how was it arranged? Looking back, was that model the right one to choose?

K.B: We cannot disclose all the details. Generally, the fee arrangement was flexible and combined several elements wrapped up in a package. Specifically, secondment of personnel for a fixed fee, retainer for a fixed budget, and blended hourly rate specifically designed for our project. Aside from the fee arrangement, the Everlegal team became our legal business partner and both sides benefitted a lot from knowledge sharing and commingling of the teams. This was our first project with Everlegal and since it was successful we are massively expanding and now developing a pipeline of about 100 MW of new projects where Everlegal is engaged in due-diligence and project structuring.