Sembcorp seeks to close $1bn Salalah financing in November

23 October 2009

Singapore-based developer is in talks with eight lenders over pricing of debt

Singapore-based developer Semb-corp plans to complete the financing for its $1bn power and water project at Salalah, Oman, in November, according to one Dubai-based banker close to the project.

The developer is in talks with eight potential lenders to raise money for the project, including Bank Muscat and Chinese export-credit agency Sinosure. Sinosure will insure about half of the $750m project debt, with Chinese banks lending the money.

The remaining $375m will come from Omani banks and Semb-corp’s financial adviser on the scheme, the UK’s Standard Chartered Bank.

Sembcorp and the banks are still discussing the level of pricing on the project debt. Sembcorp attempted to arrange financing
for the scheme in February, but banks declined to lend such large sums over the 17-year tenor the firm was seeking.

Oman Investment Corporation, a private equity firm backed by the Omani government and three of the country’s largest banks, wants to sell half of its 40 per cent stake in the project. The corporation, which counts Bank Muscat, Gulf Investment Corporation and the National Investment Fund Company among its shareholders, has already held talks with several potential buyers, including Bahrain’s Instrata Capital.

Sembcorp will continue to hold the remaining 60 per cent stake.

The Salalah project will provide 400MW of power and 15 million gallons a day of desalinated water. The project will meet growing demand for power in the south of Oman.

Meanwhile, state-owned utility Oman Power & Water Procurement Company has delayed the development of its planned Sohar and Barka independent power projects by up to a year as it seeks to simplify the bidding process. Bids on the two schemes are due in on 7 December (MEED 9:10:09)

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