Saudi Electricity Company and ACWA Power announced that Rabigh 1 Independent Power Project (“Project”) has completed refinancing of its senior facilities. The Project is housed under the project company Rabigh Electricity Company (“RABEC”) owned by ACWA Power, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).
Originally, the Project achieved Financial Close in Sep 2009, which enabled it to successfully fund the construction and commissioning of the 1204 MW Fuel Oil fired power project at Rabigh, on the western coast of Kingdom of Saudi Area. The Project that was built with a total project cost of over US$ 2.5 Billion had many firsts to its credit. It was the first IPP project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be procured without a Sovereign Guarantee. The Project introduced for the first time a Chinese EPC Contracting Consortium and major power plant equipment of Chinese manufacture in the GCC region. It was incidentally the first major project finance transaction in the region in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008-09.
The project reached commercial operation date in April, 2013 and has been fulfilling the contract dispatch obligations since then.
Given that the construction risk and the early operation risk have been successfully eliminated, RABEC decided to refinance its long-term non-recourse facilities and mandated ACWA Power to implement the refinancing. The successful closing of the refinancing is an endorsement of the bank market on the IPP model in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and ACWA Power led consortium’s ability to deliver on world-class construction and operation of the project. SEC has also played a key role in the refinancing process and helped in securing maximum savings for the stakeholders.
The refinancing facilities of over US$1.825 billion equivalent in aggregate were provided on a combined conventional and Islamic basis. The two classes of financing parties will share the transaction security package.
The uncovered conventional debt consisting of the dollar-denominated international tranche of in excess of US$300 million was provided by a group of Korean Insurance Companies (including Samsung Life and Dongbu Insurance/ Hyundai Asset Management) and international commercial banks (Natixis, MUGF, CA-CIB and Standard Chartered Bank). The Korean Insurance Companies will participate through a long-term fixed-rate financing arrangement. This structure while widely implemented in the infrastructure space in the developed world, is first of its kind in the Middle-Eastern IPP project finance. The tranche was jointly arranged with Natixis. This pioneering financing arrangement represents a new pocket of liquidity for future financings in the region.
The Saudi riyal-denominated Wakal Ijara tranche of in excess of SAR3.2 billion was provided by Alinma Bank and Al Rajhi Bank.
The Saudi riyal-denominated Procurement tranche of in excess of SAR2.4 billion was provided by The National Commercial Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Arab National Bank, Samba Financial Group and The Saudi British Bank (SABB).
Commenting at the announcement, Thamer Al Sharhan, Chairman of RABEC, stated, “It is heartening to see the Rabigh 1 IPP project, which was the first IPP project in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the new framework, to go from original financial close, construction, three years of smooth operation and now successful refinancing. This demonstrates the success of the IPP model in the Kingdom and shows how proactive financial management can improve the economics for all parties concerned.”
Fahad Alsudairi, the CFO of Saudi Electricity Company said, “The refinancing of Rabigh 1 IPP has been achieved under difficult financing conditions and is structurally a win-win for all parties concerned. We commend the efforts of the shareholders in taking the transaction to a closure. It demonstrates value creation for shareholders as well as the offtaker. For Saudi Electricity Company the refinancing results in direct savings of around SAR 1 billion over the life of the Power Purchase Agreement till March, 2033.”
Rajit Nanda, Director of RABEC, and Chief Investment Officer of ACWA Power added, “The refinancing of Rabigh 1 IPP project is an important milestone for the Project and its shareholders. That this has been achieved not only in a challenging and dynamic market but also has introduced a significant new pool of liquidity to the infrastructure sector adds to the significance of the achievement. This re-leveraging of the existing financing demonstrates the success of ACWA Power’s business model of continuously creating value along the life cycle of its investments.”