Banks prepare for Kahrama award

11 October 2002

Eight banks are expected to have submitted proposals by 11 October for the role of global co-ordinator on the international debt package for the country's first independent water and power project (IWPP). The owner and developer of the Arzew-based project is Kahrama, an 80:20 venture between the US' Black & Veatch (B&V)and Algerian Energy Company (AEC), an investment company which is itself a joint venture between state energy and power companies Sonatrachand Sonelgaz.

Kahrama plans to select by the end of October one of the bidders - from ABN AMRO, ANZ Investment Bank, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, HSBCInvestment Bank, Hypovereinsbank, Societe Generale and WestLB - to co-ordinate the debt tranche being covered by French export credit agency Coface. From these bidders, Kahrama will also appoint lead arrangers for the deal, which is also expected to secure financing from the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) and Washington-based Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

Total project costs for the 314-MW, 88,000-cubic-metre-a-day plant are $400 million, of which some $280 million will be debt financing. Mizuho Financial Groupis advising the developer on the financing, which is scheduled to close by the end of the year (MEED 16:8:02).

Sonatrach and Sonelgaz, each of which have a 10 per cent equity stake in the venture, will be the offtakers for the plant. The operation and management will be carried out by Sogex Oman, which is negotiating the technical annexes of its contract with Kahrama. Once it is signed into the deal, Sogex will also take a 10 per cent equity stake, reducing B&V's holding to 70 per cent.

A Japanese consortium of Itochu Corporationand Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industrieswas awarded the $260 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the IWPP at the start of the year. GE Power Systemsof the US will provide the turbines (MEED 1:2:02).

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