Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) is aiming to secure a $1bn export credit agency (ECA) backed finance deal in the first quarter of 2017, chairman Daij bin Salman Al-Khalifa told a board meeting.

This follows a $1.5bn commercial tranche which closed in October.

Both are part of a financing package for Alba’s sixth potline smelter expansion. Alba originally aimed to raise $2bn for the $3.5bn project. Costs were later cut to $3bn.

MEED reported in August that Alba was considering dropping a benchmark bond issuance it had planned as part of the financing package.

The financial advisers are the US’ JPMorgan and the local Gulf International Bank and National Bank of Bahrain.

The US dollar commercial bank finance has a seven-year term and an amortising structure. The senior unsecured conventional term-loan facility reached $882m and the senior shariah-compliant facility $618m, with 22 banks participating.

Alba awarded the main engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the potline smelter to the US’ Bechtel.

The contract for the 1,792MW fifth captive power plant was awarded to a consortium of the US’ GE and Turkey’s Gama Power Systems.

The project will make Alba the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelter, boosting the site’s production capacity by 540,000 tonnes a year (t/y) to 1.5 million t/y.

Al Khalifa predicted that Alba would have a strong financial finish to 2016, despite sales falling 16 per cent in the first nine months of 2016 to BD497m ($1.3bn).