ACWA Power bids for MENA renewable energy projects

Solar PanelsACWA Power is bidding for a 100MW solar power project in Saudi Arabia, going up against a consortium led by Electricite de France. (Image source: Wikimedia commons) ACWA Power is bidding for renewable energy projects worth US$3bn in the Middle East and North Africa region, that includes a 100 MW solar power plant in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

According to a Reuters news report, ACWA Power chief executive officer Paddy Padmanathan revealed that the company was going up against a consortium led by Electricite de France for the project. This is Saudi Arabia’s first utility-scale solar power plant.

A power purchase agreement for the 1,800 MW Rabigh 2 power plant commissioned by Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), is expected to be signed by the end of October 2013, the executive added.

Padmanathan also announced that the company planned to sell an US$800mn Islamic bond or sukuk this year as it ramps up production capacity. The company will list on the Saudi Arabian stock exchange end of 2014, Reuters reported.

ACWA Power is negotiating a five per cent capital increase with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a unit of the World Bank, to aid with its expansion plans. In January 2013, two Saudi government-owned funds bought a 19.4 per cent stake in ACWA Power.

ACWA Power has aimed to have a gross production capacity of 38,000 MW of power by 2017, up from its current 15,850 MW capacity. It had previously said that securing a credit rating would be a step on the road to launching an Islamic bond, or sukuk. But now the company is expected to debut in the market without a credit rating.

Padmanathan said, "That was one of the things that kept us back for a while, and there was a decision (internally) around 'do we need to be rated' as ratings are a one-way street - once you rate, you are stuck with the story forever."

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