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Taqa seals $1.4b financing for expansion of Morocco plant.

Summary: ABU DHABI -- Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, or Taqa, has signed final agreements marking the close of the $1.4 billion project financing for the expansion of its Jorf Lasfar power plant in Morocco.

ABU DHABI -- Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, or Taqa, has signed final agreements marking the close of the $1.4 billion project financing for the expansion of its 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 in the North African nation, supplying 40 per cent of the Kingdom's electricity output. The expansion will increase its capacity by 700 megawatts to 2,056 MW.

The expansion is now approximately 80 per cent complete and overall costs remain within the $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 per cent of the total project costs while Taqa is committing approximately $400 million of equity funding.

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 General Shaikh Mohammed 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: "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," he said.

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." The engineering, procurement and construction contract for units 5 and 6 was awarded to Japan's Mitsui & Co and Daewoo Engineering & Construction of 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.

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 per cent of the total project debt.

-- haseeb@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:6MORO
Date:Jan 29, 2013
Words:462
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