x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Taqa secures $1.4 billion for coal power plant expansion

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, also known as Taqa, has raised US$1.4 billion in funding to finance a huge coal power plant expansion in Morocco.

Jorf Lasfar Energy Company in Morocco
Courtesy TAQA
Jorf Lasfar Energy Company in Morocco Courtesy TAQA

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, also known as Taqa, has raised US$1.4 billion (Dh5.14bn) in funding to finance a huge coal power plant expansion in Morocco.

The company signed an agreement for a $1.4bn financing facility for an expansion of the Jorf Lasfar facility, the largest coal power plant in North Africa and the Middle East.

Jorf Lasfar, which is sited on Morocco's Atlantic coast, is the first private-sector power plant in the region. It plans to expand its capacity by 700 megawatts to 2,056MW.

Taqa's Abu Dhabi-listed shares jumped 3.2 per cent to Dh1.28 each after the announcement.

The increased investment in coal plants comes as prices of thermal coal, used in electricity generation, fall by more than a third.

Poor economic activity and falling prices of oil and gas have contributed to the drop but a rebound is believed unlikely as new sources of supply show little sign of dwindling, according to Capital Economics.

"There is no sign of an end to the supply boom," analysts said in a research note. "US miners look set to maintain their unusually high levels of exports, while there are still plenty of new projects coming on stream in Australia, Indonesia and Colombia."

ICE-traded coal futures have fallen 35.9 per cent since highs in May last year to $84.90 per tonne.

Taqa has mandated three European banks - BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Standard Chartered - to arrange international debt facilities. Morocco's Banque Centrale Populairewill raise about 40 per cent of the total debt.

Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance and Export-Import Bank of Korea will provide about half of the total financing through direct loans and guarantees - a coup for Asian lenders seeking to lift their market share at the expense of troubled European banks.

ghunter@thenational.ae

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