Ewec, Acwa Power reach financial close on $868m desalination plant

Expected to be complete in 2022, the Taweelah plant in Abu Dhabi will produce 909,200m3 of desalinated water per day

Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power will take 40% stake in the plant. [representational image]
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Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power will take 40% stake in the plant. [representational image]

Emirates Water and Electricity Company (Ewec), a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation (ADPower) and Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power which features the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) as s majority stakeholder — have reached financial close on $868.5m (AED3.2bn) reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plant, with funding worth $737.8m (AED2.7bn) being sourced as senior project finance loans.

A consortium of local and international banks including Emirates NBD, Mizuho Bank, Siemens Bank, Bank Boubyan, and The Norinchukin Bank have contributed to the loans in conventional and Islamic tranches, whilst Natixis acted as the agent bank.

Equity contributions from shareholders and operating cashflow from pre-operations also contributed as one of the sources of financing.

Set to be located at the Taweelah power and water desalination complex in Abu Dhabi, the utility project is expected to be complete in 2022.

According to the UAE’s state-held news agency, Wam, ADPower and Mubadala Investment Company — the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi — will take a 60% stake in the project, while the remaining 40% will be held by Acwa Power.

The Wam report cited both the companies, who said that the expected refinancing period for the project is three years, beginning from the commencement of commercial operations, with the loan structure being a "Soft Mini Perm".

Speaking about the project, chief executive officer of Ewec, Othman Al Ali, said: “This financial structure is testament to the world-class quality of the plant, which will pave the way for future developments that will contribute to a more efficient and sustainable water and energy sector in the country.

“This reverse osmosis desalination plant supports the UAE’s vision in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, while significantly reducing gas consumption by decoupling power and water production for the winter and summer seasons."

Meanwhile, chairman of Acwa Power, Mohammad Abunayyan, said: "We are truly delighted to play a role in the independent water producers program (IWP) launched by Ewec helping secure the water needs for its communities."

Upon being operational, the plant will supply 909,200m3 of desalinated water per day — enough to meet water demand of more than 350,000 homes.

The plant’s capacity is 44% larger than the world’s current largest RO plant which produces 624,000 m3 of desalinated water per day, Wam reported. 

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