|27 January, 2019

Bahrain utility group Al Dur closes $1.3bln refinancing deal

Al Dur accounts for one-third of the country's power and water production

Image used for illustrative purpose. Wooden dhows are docked at a port near a Bahrain Oil Refinery Company facility.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Wooden dhows are docked at a port near a Bahrain Oil Refinery Company facility.

REUTERS/Reuters Photographer
Al Dur Power & Water Company, the largest power generation and water desalination firm in Bahrain, has announced the successful closure of a $1.3 billion refinancing facility provided by a syndicate of 20  local, regional and international banks.

Banks participating in the transaction include: Ahli United Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Arab Bank, Bank ABC, ABC Islamic Bank, Arab National Bank, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp), Banque Saudi Fransi, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole CIB, Export Development Canada, Gulf International Bank, KFW IPEX-Bank, Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), Mashreqbank, MUFG, Riyad Bank, National Bank of Kuwait - Bahrain Branch, Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank and The Saudi National Commercial Bank.

The refinancing facilities extend up to 14 years and include $450 million of conventional facilities and $850 million of Islamic facilities, said a statement from the Bahraini company.

The new financing replaces the one originally provided in 2009, which amounted to $1.6 billion, it added.

The successfful financial closure was celebrated at a major ceremony which was attended by Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Minister of Oil, Cecile Longe, the French Ambassadress to Bahrain, representative from the German Ambassador to Bahrain and representatives from the company, shareholders, financing banks and other key stakeholders.

Al Dur accounts for one-third of the country's power and water production with a combined capacity of 1,234 MW of power and 48 MIGD of water.

The right to develop, finance and operate the project was awarded in 2008 by the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) of Bahrain to a consortium consisting of Engie and Gulf Investment Corporation.

Other shareholders including the Social Security Organisation, Bahrain Islamic Bank, Capital Management House, First Energy Bank, and Bunya Infrastructure Fund joined in 2009. The company benefits from a 25-year power and water purchase agreement entered into with EWA.

Commercial operations started in early 2012 and the plant was officially inaugurated in April by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the Prime Minister HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

The original financing won the “2009 Deal of the Year Award” from Project Finance magazine and praise from various sources for being the first project finance deal to close after the onslaught of the 2008 financial crisis.

Similarly, the new financing has also won an award as the “2018 Refinancing Deal of the Year”, said the statement from the Bahraini firm.

This is an award that Al Dur shares with its sister company Al Ezzel Power Company, which also undertook a successful refinancing in 2018 and is owned by Engie, Gulf Investment Corporation and the Social Insurance Organisation, it added.

“This is another landmark achievement for 2018 in Bahrain,” said Shafic Ali, Chairman of Al Dur.

“We have substantial participation from Bahrain-based banks and from banks in Saudi Arabia. We also have seven international banks from diverse geographies, ranging from Canada to Europe and Japan, and a total of 14 banks from our original lenders have participated in the current refinancing underscoring their continued confidence and commitment to Al Dur and the Kingdom,” he added.

“This was a challenging transaction implemented in a volatile market environment,” said Cedric Girod, the head of acquisitions, investments and financial advisory at Engie Middle East, South & Central Asia and Turkey.

“This success demonstrates the strong support of Bahrain, Saudi and regional and international banks for a  strategic asset of the Bahrain economy and for its lead sponsors Engie and Gulf Investment Corporation,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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