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Taqa Borrows $1.4 Billion for Morocco Coal Power Plant Expansion

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., the state-controlled power and oil producer known as Taqa, signed a multicurrency project finance loan of $1.4 billion-equivalent to expand its Jorf Lasfar thermal power plant in Morocco.

BNP Paribas SA, Standard Chartered Plc and Societe Generale SA are the mandated lead arrangers for the international debt facilities, which mature in 16 years, Taqa said in an e-mailed statement today. Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance and Export-Import Bank of Korea will provide direct loans and loan guarantees for more than 50 percent of the total project debt, it said.

Taqa, founded in 2005, owns stakes in businesses that generate power or produce oil and natural gas in the Middle East, North America, the North Sea and India. The Abu Dhabi-based company will spend $2.25 billion this year, Chief Executive Officer Carl Sheldon said in May. This deal is the first time JBIC, NEXI and Korea Eximbank have participated in a project finance transaction in Morocco, according to today’s statement.

JBIC contributed $216 million to be used for import of equipment from Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and IHI Corp., the Japanese lender said in a separate statement today. NEXI will offer 115.2 million euro ($146 million) in credit insurance, it said in a separate statement.

Jorf Lasfar Power Complex is the largest coal-fired power project in the region and is 100 percent-owned by Taqa, the company said. The construction contracts were awarded to Mitsui and Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co. in 2010, it said.

Taqa has the equivalent of $22.2 billion in outstanding bonds and loans, including $911 million of 5.62 percent notes which mature in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company’s debt is rated A3 by Moody’s Investors Service, its fourth-lowest investment grade.

Morocco’s Banque Centrale Populaire is the mandated lead arranger for the Moroccan dirham credit facilities, which represent about 40 percent of the total debt, Taqa said. The planned expansion will bring Jorf Lasfar’s gross capacity to 2,056 megawatts.

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