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Aluminium Bahrain secures US$700mn for new smelter

Mena / 19-04-17 / by
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Smelter metals aluminium

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has secured US$700mn-worth of financing backed by the German and Swiss export credit agencies (ECAs) to fund its new smelter, the so-called Line 6 expansion project.

The facilities comprise a dual-tranche loan of US$310mn and €315mn backed by Swiss Export Risk Insurance (Serv), and €50mn supported by Germany’s Euler Hermes, the Bahraini company says in a statement.

JP Morgan is acting as the ECA co-ordinator. Alba has not provided any details on the participating lenders, but a spokesperson tells GTR that the company expects to disclose the names, amounts as well as more details about the pricing and repayment schedule in a few weeks, upon closing KYC requirements.

The Serv-backed facility has a 15-year tenor and will be repaid over a period of 12 years. It will finance Alba’s power station 5, for which General Electric (GE) – the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor – will provide three 9HA gas turbines, three steam turbines and three heat recovery steam generators.

The Euler Hermes facility will go towards the project’s power distribution system. It will fund Siemens’ work to construct and commission a high voltage electrical network and provide a gas-insulated switchgear. The facility has a 14-year tenor and will be repaid over 12 years.

The announcement follows the news in October that Alba had closed a US$1.5bn syndicated term-loan facility with regional and international banks – the first tranche of the Line 6 funding plan and the largest corporate loan in the history of Bahrain. While Alba originally targeted US$500mn to US$750mn, the facility was heavily over-subscribed, which lead to the company upsizing the loan.

Metal production from the new plant is expected to start in early 2019. Alba says it will boost its annual output by 540,000 tonnes, bringing the total production capacity to 1,500,000 tonnes per year, thus making it the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelter complex.

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