Dubai raises initial US$1.1bn loan for metro expansion project

Dubai MetroThe metro expansion comes in line with Dubai’s large infrastructural projects linked to the site of Expo. (Image source: Stefan Wisselink/Flickr)Dubai has raised US$1.1bn loan for the expansion of the city's metro rail system, reaching the first step of an infrastructure financing programme which totals around US$2.8bn

The initial US$1.1bn loan is the commercial part of the complete funding for the project. The remaining is expected to be obtained via loans guaranteed by export credit agencies (ECAs), according to Reuters.

The loan has been provided by First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Santander and Standard Chartered with a 10-year tenor, said the sources.

In line with Dubai’s large infrastructural projects that are linked to development of the Expo's exhibition centre, the loan will be used in extending 15 km track of the Dubai metro towards the site of the World Expo, which the city will host in 2020.

The Dubai government has approached the banks for the expansion of metro loan in 2016, and has also asked for a commercial facility and ECA-backed financing.

The city is further expanding its Al Maktoum International Airport, for which it borrowed US$3bn in the beginning of 2017, with a total investment plan worth US$35bn.

Recently, Dubai Metro has broken the one billion rider barrier, as stated by Mattar Al Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA).

Launched in September 2009, the metro has lifted around 1.028bn passengers, with 689mn passengers using the Red Line and 339mn using the Green Line till August 2017, said the source.

“The positive indicators of the growing number of metro riders underscores the strategic dimension of the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, and the solid conviction of Shaikh Mohammad in the vital role of the metro system in addressing the needs of urbanisation growth seen by Dubai,” Al Tayer added.

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