Taqa plans more than $2bn-worth of capital expenditure in 2014

26 March 2014

But Taqa’s losses in 2013 result in no dividend payment

The Abu Dhabi-based energy and water company Taqa is planning capital expenditure of more than $2bn during 2014, as it pushes forward with its infrastructure projects both in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

Taqa’s CEO Carl Sheldon confirmed the spending plans in a conference call announcing the company’s annual results on 25 March, which also revealed a AED2.52bn ($687m) loss recorded in 2013 due to the restructuring of the company’s problematic North American assets. Due to this loss, Taqa has decided to not pay out a dividend for 2013.

Projects already due to come online this year include the second of two new units at the company’s Jorf Lasfar Energy Company power plant in Morocco, due for commissioning in the first half of 2014.

Taqa is also halfway through expanding its Takoradi 2 power plant in Ghana. In February, the government-backed firm signed a preliminary agreement with the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) to build a seawater desalination plant in the UAE emirate of Ajman. The development is expected to be project financed, with construction due to begin in early 2015.

Taqa’s projected spending is underpinned by strong levels of liquidity, with the company having AED3.9bn in cash and cash-equivalent, and undrawn facilities of AED11bn, said Stephen Kersley, chief financial officer (CFO) at Taqa, also speaking on the call.

The company’s strong levels of liquidity will help it meet its maturing debt deadlines due later this year, he added. 

“Our next significant maturity falls in the second half of 2014 and our available bank balance is sufficient to meet that need,” he said before adding that “favourable” market conditions will also allow the company the possibility of refinancing its 2014 debt obligations.

The loss recorded last year relates to a one-off non-cash impairment related to the company’s North American oil and gas assets. During the course of 2013, Taqa restructured its North American business, reducing staff costs, disposing of some assets and tightening up its capital spending plans.

Taqa’s underlying revenue reached AED21.15bn in 2013, an increase of 3 per cent on the previous year.

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