Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) has closed an ECA-backed financing package comprising two facilities, worth US$136mn and €90mn, to fund its landmark Line 6 expansion project.
The two facilities cover the final instalment of the second ECA-backed tranche to finance Line 6, which is said to be one of the biggest brownfield expansions in the Middle East region. Specifically, the financing will fund the provision of equipment.
The US$136mn facility, which is guaranteed by Export Development Canada (EDC), has a 10-year tenor and a principal repayment period of 10 years. The €90mn facility is supported by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (Nexi). It comprises two contract loans, the first of which has a tenor of 10 years and a principal repayment period of 9.5 years, with the second having a 6-year tenor with the principal amount to be repaid over a 5.5-year period.
The mandated lead arranger and facility agent for the EDC-covered facility was Citi, with BNP Paribas taking on the same role for the JBIC/Nexi-supported facility.
The announcement follows the closing of a number of other financing deals to support the Line 6 expansion project. In October 2016, Alba finalised a US$1.5bn syndicated term-loan facility with regional and international banks – the largest corporate loan in the history of Bahrain.
This was followed by the closing of a US$700mn facility in July 2017, the first tranche of the ECA-covered financing, backed by the Swiss Export Risk Insurance (Serv) and Euler Hermes.
The first part of the second tranche – a €204.5mn facility guaranteed by Bpifrance and Euler Hermes – was closed in April 2018.
“This is another concrete highlight for us and a step closer towards transforming our vision into reality with the safe start-up of Line 6,” says Alba’s chairman Shaikh Daij Bin Salman Bin Daij Al Khalifa, commenting on the latest facility.
The financing was closed in December and metal production from the new plant has now started. According to Alba, it will boost its annual output by 540,000 tonnes, bringing the total production capacity to 1,5 million tonnes per year, thus making it the world’s largest single-site aluminium smelter complex.