Bemco would take a stake of about 10 per cent in the fund and is talking to other potential investors about coming on board for similar-sized stakes. ‘The fund would see us become developers alongside EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contractors,’ said Sarkissian. The main focus would be on the power and water sector.

Discussions are also under way with banks on the proposed IPO, which could take place in conjunction with Bemco bringing new strategic investors into its shareholding structure.

The company conducts about 40 per cent of its business outside Saudi Arabia, but is looking to expand that proportion. ‘We want to increase our activities in the GCC and also in Africa – for example, in Algeria, Angola, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan,’

said Sarkissian. Bemco is already part of bid groups on the Fujairah and Mesaieed independent water and power projects (IWPPs) in the UAE and Qatar respectively.

On 4 May, Bemco signed a $643 million loan agreement with a club of five banks to fund its contract to expand the PP9 power station in Riyadh. The banks are: Banque Saudi Fransi, Gulf International Bank, National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group and Saudi Hollandi Bank. The tenor is two-and-a-half years. Bemco was awarded the contract to carry out the 1,200-MW PP9 expansion in March (MEED 24:3:06).