GE Energy Financial Services, the energy investing unit of General Electric, supported the raise of ECA financing for Aluminium Bahrain B.S.C.’s (“Alba”) 1,792-megawatt combined-cycle power plant in Bahrain, which will power the world’s largest single-site smelter. The $310.4 million and €310.3 million loans (“the facility”) for goods and services provided to the project are being backed by Swiss export credit agency (“ECA”), SERV. Due to the project procurement strategy, reinsurance for the facility is being provided by Bpifrance and SACE, France and Italy’s ECAs respectively.
The facility will be funded by a club of international banks including Standard Chartered, Citi, Credit Agricole, Commerzbank and JP Morgan, with Commerzbank AG acting as the lead Facility Agent. It will be used to partially finance the delivery of power to Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project, and brings long-term, efficient capital to Alba’s project.
A GE Power and GAMA Power Systems consortium was awarded the contract for design, engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the power plant in 2016. Completion is expected in early 2019 and will enable Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project to begin aluminum production, boosting its per-annum metal production by 540,000 metric tonnes.
GE is providing three 9HA gas turbines, three steam turbines and three heat recovery steam generators for the project, marking the first use of the HA technology in aluminum smelters world-wide and the first order for HA-level technology in the Gulf region. Additionally, Alba and GE have a 16-year long-term service and maintenance agreement for the plant.
The ability of OEM’s and contractors to bring long-dated efficient sources of financing to the table is an increasingly vital part of sponsor evaluation criteria and is critical to getting projects in developing markets off the ground. Strategic ECA financing is a large part of the solution.
“SERV is delighted to be contributing to this project. As an enterprise operating at a global scale, GE is also a major Swiss exporter. It contributes to continuing Switzerland’s long-standing tradition in engineering and the worldwide delivery of top quality gas turbines.” explains Peter Gisler, CEO at SERV. “SERV’s support in the form of a buyer credit insurance has been conducive to maintaining GE’s competitiveness and business activities across Switzerland which is headquartered in Baden.”
“GE has the unique ability address customer needs by combining its comprehensive turnkey commercial and technical offers with efficient financial solutions,” said Bob Psaradellis, managing director, Global Capital Advisory, GE Energy Financial Services. “We are excited to collaborate with strong ECA partners, SERV, BPI and SACE, on this important transaction.”
GE Energy Financial Services’ Global Capital Advisory team sources financing from third parties including export credit agencies, development finance institutions and other investors to meet the capital needs of GE-powered infrastructure projects.
Alba is one of the largest industrial companies in the Middle East and one of the largest aluminum producers in the world. Its Line 6 Expansion Project will establish Alba as a leader in the Gulf region and the world to meet the growing international demand for aluminum.