Five minutes with: Paddy Padmanathan, ACWA

CW talks to Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power to know more about them winning Dewa's clean coal power project

Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power.
Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power.

Give us an overview about the financing part of the Hayssan coal plant project?

The total cost of phase one of the project is $1.8bn, which comprises finances from 78% debt and 22% equity. The equity part, includes 51% from Dewa (amounts to AED200m) and the balance 49% from the developers’ consortium of ACWA power and Harbin Electric International (HEI).

The 78% debt will come from a consortium of regional and international banks, and export credit agencies.

Given the fact that we have Chinese participation in the project, we will be working with Chinese banks like Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Bank of China with whom we have got very good relationship. We are working with several regional banks as well like Standard Chartered and First Gulf Bank (FGB).

When do you plan to begin construction for the coal project?

Right now we have just been appointed as a preferred bidder for the coal project. Now we need to complete a power purchase agreement (PPA). Our expectation is to achieve financial close for the project by February 2016.

As soon as we close, we will issue an NTP (notification to proceed) and the same day, construction will begin. We would like to get it done as quickly as possible.

It is a clean coal power plant, ultra-super critical. It is absolutely on the top-end of the efficiency curve, which is important. It is one of the first plants here that takes ultra-super critical and combines it with the best technology in terms of emission clean-ups.

What are the projects in the pipeline that the company has bid for?

We are developing a coal power plant of 1200 MW in Vietnam. The project would go into financing due in the course of next year.

In Oman, we have already submitted bids for Sohar and Ibri projects. In Kuwait, we are in pre-qualification the Al Khiran project. We are waiting for tender documents to come out.

We are working on projects in Morocco. The next project that we expect to be working in Morocco will be a coal plant at the Port of Nador. In Mozambique we have 300MW coal fired power plant that is due to go into construction.

Could you give some updates about the company’s IPO that was announced last month?

We are committed to broadening the shareholder base. We need to comply with the regulatory requirements in the market. We should be in a position in 2016 to be able to file for an IPO, as per regulatory approvals.

Our capital base needs to be stable for one financial year before we can think of IPO.

Our expectation is also to subsequently do a second listing. Because we are a growing company, so it is very important that we open up our ownership to the public at large.

Which countries do you have your footprints currently?

We are currently operating in 13 countries, the 13th country being Egypt. We will be stepping in Indonesia in 2016.

How has been the performance of ACWA this year? How much growth have you seen this year?

We are growing 15% year-on-year, the growth is a combination of megawatt produced and investment.

Excluding the Hassyan project, our company currently has 17500MW of contractual capacity. All of it we are already producing.

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