National Commercial Bank joins funding group for power project

21 April 2010

Financial close for PP11 project planned for the end of May

Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB) is planning to join the funding group for the $2.3bn PP11 power project in Riyadh.

The bank’s involvement is a last minute addition to the financing for the scheme, which already had fully committed funding in place when a consortium of France’s GDF Suez and the local Al-Jomaih Group was named preferred bidder for PP11 in March.

The project will require about $1.8bn of debt, with NCB joining a group of three other Saudi banks, including Samba, Alinma and Banque Saudi Fransi, in providing a total of around $900m in riyal denominated funding.

NCB is also offering an equity bridge loan to the private sector consortium that will fund their 50 per cent holding in the project equity. State-owned project sponsor Saudi Electricity Company will hold the rest of the project equity. The equity bridge loan could total around $500m according to sources close to the project.

The rest of the project debt will come from a $400m loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Ex-Im), and a $400m tranche from international banks.

One banker working on the deal says pricing on the debt will be lower than the 300 basis points above the London interbank offered rate (Libor) pricing achieved by the developers of the last independent power project in the kingdom. This was the project awarded to the local Acwa Power to build the 1,200MW power scheme at Rabigh in 2009.

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