Bankers in the region are working on several project bonds that could be launched in 2010, following the success of issues by the UAE’s Dolphin Energy and Qatar’s Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (RasGas) earlier this year.
“At least three more projects in the region are preparing to go to the bond markets in 2010,” says Frank Beckers, managing director of project finance at Deutsche Bank, but declined to name the projects.
However, bankers working with bidders on the $2.7bn Abu Dhabi Mafraq-Ghweifat road project say a bond is part of their financing proposals. “Because the project is an expansion of an existing road there are current revenues, which can be used to finance the coupon payment on a bond,” says one Dubai-based banker close to the scheme.
Other bankers say they are looking at the potential for bond finance to help develop Saudi Arabia’s PP11 power project and that state energy company Saudi Aramco and France’s Total are also planning to tap the bond markets in 2010 to help finance the $10bn Jubail refinery project.
Project bonds are typically difficult to issue because projects do not have any income during the first few years of construction. The $2.3bn RasGas bond and $1.25bn Dolphin bond, both issued in July, benefited from being for projects with existing revenue streams.