Its previous plan to raise long-term project finance has been abandoned because of the deteriorating market conditions.

French bank BNP Paribas, which is acting as financial adviser on the ADSSC project, is expected to seek a bridging loan of about $100m, with a tenor of about six months.

The plants in Al-Ain and Abu Dhabi will be developed under a 25-year build-own-operate concession, with a capacity of 130,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) and 300,000 cm/d respectively.

The plants are being developed by a joint venture of Belgium’s Besix and France’s Veolia, with the support of a banking group made up of Natixis and Calyon of France, Belgium’s KBC and Japan’s Mizuho Bank.

It is hoped that the bridge financing can be closed by the end of February. Sources close to the project say the four initial underwriters on the deal are still in discussions about whether they will finance the bridging loan, but more banks could join.

The decision to move ahead with the short-term facility follows the successful closing of a $900m bridging loan for the Shuweihat 2 independent water and power project planned by Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea) in December 2008.

That deal also relied on financial support from Calyon and Natixis.