Investec Leads Funding of S. African Gas-Power Plants

Investec Plc will lead the financing of two South African gas power plants developed by GDF Suez that will generate more than 1,000 megawatts as part of the country’s 9.7 billion rand ($933 million) independent producer program.

“We’re one of the coordinating lead arrangers,” Robert Gecelter, a member of Investec’s Project and Infrastructure Finance team, said by phone. “Investec is one of six lenders in the syndicate and we provide a little more than the average amount to the project.”

The 670-megawatt Avon gas plant in KwaZulu-Natal is due to start generating in 2016 and the 335-megawatt Dedisa plant in Eastern Cape a year earlier, Investec said in a statement after the banks closed the funding. GDF Suez is the main developer of the plants, to be operated under 15-year power purchase accords with state utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., Investec said.

The country is seeking to reduce its reliance on coal-fired power, with 80 percent of its current 41,900-megawatt capacity coming from the fossil fuel, according to Eskom. South Africa also plans to add 3,725 megawatts of generating capacity from renewable sources by 2016 through a program of five tenders.

Investec didn’t identify the other five lenders.

(Corrects quote to show bank is one of lead arrangers in second paragraph.)
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