Saudi Developer ACWA Signs $472m Bridge-To-Sukuk Financing

The loan will act as a bridge financing until the company launches a sukuk issue in 2014.

Saudi-based water and power project developer ACWA Power raised a SAR1.77 billion ($471.9 million) Islamic loan from four local banks to help finance investments including acquisitions and act as a bridge to a sukuk issue next year, it said on Monday.

Banque Saudi Fransi, National Commercial Bank, Saudi British Bank and Samba Financial Group funded the five-year sharia-compliant revolving credit facility, ACWA said in a statement.

No pricing was given for the facility but the statement noted it “compares favourably not just with our regional peers but with recent issuances by Saudi and regional government-related entities.”

The loan will act as a bridge financing until the company launches a sukuk issue in 2014, Rajit Nanda, chief investment officer of ACWA Power, was quoted as saying in the statement.

ACWA has long been linked with a debut capital markets transaction, with CEO Paddy Padmanathan telling reporters in October the company hoped to sell a $800 million Islamic bond by the end of 2013.

No details of planned acquisitions were given in the statement. Padmanathan told Reuters by phone the firm had nothing lined up currently but the facility gave it a significant amount of funding capacity for any future opportunities.

ACWA is expanding rapidly across the Middle East and Africa and hopes to hike its power generation capacity to 39 gigawatts (GWs) from 15.7 GWs and double its water production capabilities to five million cubic meters per day from 2.4 million cubic metres by 2018.

In November, a consortium led by ACWA entered into a power purchase agreement with Saudi Electricity Company to finance, build and operate the 2,060-megawatt Rabigh 2 power project in Saudi Arabia.