PF Archive

Ras Laffan: all the way to the bank

01 12 2001

The successful financial closure on November 20 of Qatar's Ras Laffan independent water and power project (IWPP) demonstrates, among other things, that Gulf power deals still pack sufficient appeal for the international lending community, despite the anticipated rumblings in a purportedly hypersensitive post-September 11 market. But such success comes at a price ? higher, and harder to find, insurance premiums, for one. Indeed, this fact, given the dearth of insurers willing to extend specialized cover, had cast a spectre of doubt over the Gulf power market. Partly because of this, Ras Laffan's closure is being touted by financiers as the most encouraging sign yet of business-as-usual in this shaken but still dynamic market. The $700 million transaction incorporates a $572.25 million term debt package, joint lead arranged by ANZ Investment Bank, Arab Banking Corporation, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, Gulf International Bank, HSBC Bank Middle East, Qatar National Bank, Societe Generale, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and Industrial Bank of Japan (IBJ). IBJ acted as financial advisers to AES from the initial bid onward. The balance is being paid down through sponsor equity, with a 75:25 debt/equity split. The club deal approach is an integral...