Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), which operates desalination plants and power stations in the kingdom, has invited qualified firms to place their bids to acquire the majority stake in its Ras Al-Khair (RAK) facility.

The RAK power and desalination plant, which is home to one of the biggest water desalination facilities in the world, has been chosen as the first asset to be sold off to private investors as part of the wider privatisation of SWCC’s production assets.

“SWCC is pleased to announce the start of the request for proposals (RFP) phase as an important step for Ras Al Khair privatisation,” SWCC in a statement on Sunday.

“The winner bidder will own 60 percent of RAK project company and take over the management, operation and maintenance,” the firm said.

The SWCC also confirmed that at least seven companies and consortiums have already qualified to submit their bids.

These firms include JERA Co. Inc., International Company for Power and Water Projects (ACWA Power), Engie S.A. (Engie), Marubeni Corporation, China Power International Holding Limited (CPIHL)/ Ajlan & Bros Energy Company (Ajlan), NTPC Limited and China Huadian Hong Kong Co/ Beijing Enterprises Water Group consortium.

SWCC produces about 69 percent of the kingdom’s desalinated water.

Early last year, SWCC announced the signing of a financing agreement worth 1.6 billion riyals ($426 million) for the improvement of its desalination plants in Jubail 1 and Khobar 2.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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