Saudi airports targeting financial close by end of the year

30 April 2017

Gulf International Bank advising regulator on latest airport PPPs

The team that won the contract to develop, design, build and operate passenger terminals at airports in Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu, Hail and Qassim regions is aiming to reach financial close by the third quarter of 2017.

According to sources familiar with the project, a combination of local and international banks could potentially supply financing for these schemes.

A consortium of Turkey’s TAV and local Al-Rajhi Group won three of the four airport public-private partnership (PPP) contracts recently tendered and awarded by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca). US/Indian Synergy Consulting is the financial advisor to the team.

The same team, in addition to local Saudi Oger, won the 25-year concession for the Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International airport scheme in 2011.

The $1.2bn Medina airport reached financial close in 2012. It was financed by Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank (NCB), Sabb and Arab National Bank under the supervision of the Washington-based International Finance Corporation (IFC).

“Obtaining financing for these projects could be slightly more challenging compared with the Medina airport project a few years ago,” a consultant tells MEED.

Unlike the Medina airport, which entered full operations in June 2015, the three airports cater mainly to domestic and regional flights.

According to data from Gaca, Hail airport processed 822,000 passengers in 2016, while the Prince Naif Airport in Al-Qassim processed 1.66 million passengers. Annual passenger growths at the airports are at 3 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.

Yanbu’s Prince Abdulmohsin airport handled 1.02 million passengers in 2016, some 7 per cent higher compared to the previous year’s figure.

Contract for the fourth airport scheme, at Taif International, has been awarded to a consortium of Lebanon’s Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Munich Airport, and the local Asyad Holding.

Bahrain’s Gulf International Bank is providing Gaca financial advisory on the four airport PPP projects. Clifford Chance and Hillbrook Partners, both UK-based, are providing legal and technical advisory.


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