At a signing ceremony, Minister of Water & Irrigation Hazem Nasser signed an agreement granting the 25-year concession to build and operate the plant to the Samra Wastewater Treatment Plant Company (SPC).SPC’sthree shareholders are Morganti , the US affiliate of Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), with 50 per cent, Paris-based Ondeo Degremont (30 per cent), the US affiliate of France’s Suez Environment, and Suez Environment (20 per cent).

Under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) contract, the consortium is responsible for the design, construction and operation of the plant and the upgrade of the neighbouring Ain Ghazal pre-treatment plant. The project is the first in Jordan to be carried out on a BOT basis and is seen as a model for future infrastructure schemes.

The project will increase the capacity of the Al-Samra plant from 68,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) to 268,000 cm/d, equivalent to 80 per cent of the country’s wastewater, and will serve the 2.5 million inhabitants of Amman and its surrounding area. Suez Environment says the plant will generate annual revenues of $15 million throughout the period of the concession.

SPC also signed a three-year engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with a 50:50 joint venture between Morganti and Ondeo Degremont. A 22-year operation and maintenance (O&M) contract was signed with a new operating company, the Samra Plant Operations & Management Company,in which Suez Environment holds a 51 per cent stake and CCC holds 49 per cent.

SPC also signed a 15-year commercial loan agreement with a syndicate of banks led by Arab Bank. The consortium is lending $60 million to SPC over 10 years, extendable for a further five years. A facility to borrow a further $8 million to cover government variations has also been agreed. Eight other banks and the Social Security Corporation are in the loan syndicate. They are: Housing Bank for Trade & Finance, Jordan Kuwait Bank, Arab Banking Corporation (Jordan), HSBC, Export & Finance Bank, Industrial Development Bank, Jordan Bank for Investment & Financeand the Arab Investment Bank. Ticket sizes range from $1 million-11 million.

Interest on the loan is fixed at 7.6 per cent during the construction phase. Once the project enters the operational phase the loan will switch to a variable rate based on six-month government treasury bills. The project is also being funded by a $78 million grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Further funds are coming from $17 million in equity from the SPC companies and $14 million from the government. HSBC is financial adviser to SPC.