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TAQA closes financing for Morocco's Jorf Lasfar power plant expansion
2013-01-29 23:17:19
WAM ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA) has signed final agreements marking the close of the USD 1.4 billion equivalent project financing for the expansion of the Jorf Lasfar power plant in Morocco.

Jorf Lasfar is already the largest coal-fired power plant in the Middle East and North Africa and the first independent power producer (IPP) in Morocco, supplying 40 per cent of the Kingdom's electricity output. The expansion project will increase its capacity by 700 megawatts (MW) to 2,056 MW.

The protocol agreement for the expansion was signed in 2009 by TAQA and Office National de l'Electricite et de l'Eau Potable (ONEE) in the presence of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

Abdulla Saif Al-Nuaimi, Vice Chairman of TAQA, said: "This expansion project is a continuation of our commitment to Morocco, delivering critical national infrastructure and power to a growing economy. TAQA's commitment to meet Morocco's energy needs was not conditional on financing, as the project is already 80 per cent complete. But this financing shows that, for the right deal with the right structure, significant non-recourse funds can be attracted to the Middle East and North Africa at competitive rates." This is the largest international project financing in Morocco in over a decade and the first time Japanese and Korean export credit agencies have participated in Moroccan project finance.

Carl Sheldon, Chief Executive Officer of TAQA, said: "This is a landmark deal for Morocco and the region which has set a gold standard for financing large-scale infrastructure projects." Majid Iraqui, Managing Director for TAQA in North Africa, said: "The expansion of Jorf Lasfar will increase Moroccan power generation capacity by more than 10 per cent and is vital to enabling growth and creating jobs in the economy. Construction is well advanced thanks to the strong support of the Moroccan government and the ONEE." The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for units 5 and 6 was awarded to Mitsui '&' Co (Japan) and Daewoo Engineering '&' Construction (Korea) in 2010. Separate EPC contracts for two coal unloaders and upgrades to the coal conveyors at the port of Jorf Lasfar were awarded to Cargotec (Sweden) and China Harbour Engineering Company in 2011. Construction work began in September 2010, with TAQA providing interim funding. The expansion is now approximately 80 per cent complete and overall costs remain within the USD 1.6 billion budget. The two new units are scheduled to be commissioned in December 2013 and April 2014.

The lenders are providing financing for approximately 75% of the total project costs while TAQA is committing approximately USD 400 million of equity funding. The 16-year, multi-currency non-recourse debt, maturing in 2028, represents the equivalent of approximately USD 1.3 billion. Working capital and VAT facilities amount to the equivalent of approximately USD 100 million.

Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank are the mandated lead arrangers for the credit facilities. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) are providing direct loans and loan guarantees for more than 50% of the total project debt.

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