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Sunday, 29 October 2017

IFC channels USD 653 mn loan to Benban solar complex

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will announce today a USD 653 mn debt package to finance the development of 13 solar power plants part of the feed-in tariff program in Benban, the IFC said in a statement this morning (pdf). The IFC is leading a consortium of nine international banks, which are backing Egypt’s renewable-energy sector for the first time, the IFC said, adding that “the project is the largest private sector financing package for a solar photovoltaic facility in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Consortium members: The African Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Arab Bank of Bahrain, CDC of the United Kingdom, Europe Arab Bank, Finance in Motion, FinnFund, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and OeEB of Austria. “Egypt’s reforms in its energy sector opened the door to private sector investments,” said IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou. “For the Benban Solar Park project, those reforms and our innovative financial tools have helped attract a number of investors and financiers into the country for the first time,” he added.

The IFC’s announcement is the latest of some USD 1.8 bn in financing for the Benban complex which largely came from the IFC and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The latter has been providing funding under a USD 500 mn renewable energy framework to the Benban complex, which is expected to be the world’s biggest grid-connected solar power park upon its completion and generating up to 1.8 GW of clean energy.

More energy investments to come? The ministers of investment and electricity will be signing a number of MoUs on energy cooperation today in Cairo with the IFC’s Vice President of New Business Dimitris Tsitsiragos, Youm7 notes.

The wave in renewable energy funding has helped a number of companies reach financial close on their projects. Elsewedy Electric expects reach financial close on the development of a USD 75 mn solar power plant in Benban in the next few days, company sources tell Al Borsa. The project, which the company is co-developing with EDF Energies Nouvelles, is being funded by both the EBRD and French development finance institution Proparco. Funding for the project was one of the 16 agreement signed during President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s state visit to France last Wednesday. Shahid Law Firm acted as local legal advisor on the transaction. Shahid also advised on financial close of Voltalia’s two solar power plants — another of the 16 agreements signed in France — and Scatec Solar‘s 400 MW plant. As of last Thursday, some 20 solar power companies have submitted their preliminary documents for financial close on their projects in Benban.

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