Hidd financing takes shape

23 November 2001

Groups of regional and international banks are in the process of tabling bids for the $300.4 million financing package for Bahrain's Hidd power complex expansion.

A group made up of BNP Paribas, HSBC Investment Bankingand Bank of Bahrain & Kuwaitsubmitted its proposal by the 18 November deadline. It is understood to have offered a fully underwritten, commercial-debt-only solution and a combined export credit commercial debt plan. It has also submitted a proposal that includes the part-use of Islamic finance.

The Finance Ministry is understood to have originally asked banks to make proposals along these lines with the mixed package having tenor of 15 years, and the fully commercial package tenor of 12-15 years. Bankers say bids are likely to gravitate towards the 12-year tenor for the commercial debt proposal.

A second bank group was in the process of preparing a purely commercial bid in the middle of November, and was hoping to submit by the end of the month. The group is made up of Arab Banking Corporation, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Gulf Investment Corporation, Mizuho Financial Group and National Bank of Bahrain. Its proposal, expected to include an Islamically structured tranche, was supported by a number of Islamic financial institutions in Kuwait and Bahrain.

It is possible that a third group, formed around Citibankand Gulf International Bank (GIB), might also be interested in the transaction.

In September, GIB arranged a $100 million bridge loan for the project (MEED 5:10:01). The six-month facility is thought to be priced at 12.5 basis points over Libor. It has been used to cover down-payments made to France's Alstom, which on 10 September signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the scheme (MEED 21:9:01).

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