Banks line up for Saudi Polyolefins

09 November 2001

Local, regional and international banks have been invited to participate in the syndication of a $280 million project finance facility for the integrated polypropylene project of Saudi Polyolefins Company (SPC). The loan, which is scheduled to mature in mid-2011, has a margin of 130 basis points (bp) over Libor up to provisional acceptance of the plant, and 120 bp thereafter (MEED 12:10:01).

The facility is fully underwritten by the lead arranging banks. They are Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation(Apicorp), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Al-Bank al-Saudi al-Fransi and Riyad Bank. 'We are expecting a strong response from both Saudi and international banks,' says Michael Potter of SMBC.

SPC is a joint venture between the local National Petrochemical Industries Company (NPIC), which owns 75 per cent, and Europe's Basell, which owns the remaining 25 per cent. Basell has an obligation to buy and resell 350,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of the 450,000 t/y of polypropylene to be produced by the Jubail-based plant, which is due for completion in 2004. The main contractor is a team of US-based ABB Lummus Globaland South Korea's Samsung Engineering.

Total costs are estimated at $525.7 million. Equity will cover $160 million, and a further $106.7 million will come in the form of a loan from the Saudi Industrial Development Fund. It is planned that $259 million will be used from the commercial bank facility. Additional standby equity of $9 million and a standby bank facility of $21 million will provide funding in the event of cost overruns.

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