Kuwait’s Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) is due to complete the funding for its $1.1bn United Steel Company (Sulb) project in Bahrain before the end of January.

The financing is significantly behind schedule after plans to fund the project with about $750m of debt in late 2009 were dropped. GIC, along with Japanese steel company Yamato Kogyo, have now changed the financing structure and are raising only about $380m of debt. The rest of the funding will come from equity provided by the sponsors,

Most of this debt will be raised in an export credit agency (ECA) backed facility. A small commercial bank facility may still be arranged.

The Sulb plant is already under construction and is ahead of schedule, according to sources close to the scheme. The project consists of a 1.2 million tonne-a-year (t/y) meltshop, a 1 million t/y rolling mill and a 1.8 million t/y direct reduced iron plant, all due to be completed in September 2012.

Sulb is a joint venture of Yamato Kogyo and Gulf United Steel Holding Company (Foulath), which is 50 per cent owned by GIC.