(MENAFN - Arab Times) National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) participates in a consortium of international banks to arrange a loan of 1.43 billion to finance the first phase of the Az-Zour North Power and Desalination Project in Kuwait, the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in Kuwait. NBK is the only Kuwaiti and the only Arab bank to take part in this consortium. It is also the largest contributor to the financing among the participating commercial banks. In addition to NBK, the consortium includes Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) - both are Japanese governmental agencies - Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank.
The shareholders of the special purpose Project Company, Shamal Az-Zour Al-Oula for the Building, Execution, Operation, Management and Maintenance of the First Phase of Az-Zour Power Plant K.S.C., are Azour North One KSCC (40%), Kuwaiti public institutions (10%), and the remaining 50% will be made available to the Kuwaiti citizens through an IPO following the commencement of operations. The Project Company will build a combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant with the capacity of approximately 1,500 MW and a seawater desalination plant with the capacity of approximately 105 million imperial gallons per day at Az-Zour North. It will sell the power and freshwater generated to the Ministry of Electricity and Water for 40 years on the BOOT basis.
Shaikha Al Bahar, NBK Kuwait Chief Executive Officer, said: "Being the only Kuwaiti and Arab bank in this consortium and having the largest contribution to the financing reflects NBK's strong reputation, professionalism and track-record in arranging and leading mega financing deals in Kuwait and the region."
"NBK has always been at the forefront in supporting Kuwait's power sector," Al Bahar added. "In addition to its importance to increase the power production in order to meet the growing demand, this project is the first in Kuwait under the PPP scheme. This is an indication of the improvement in the execution of Kuwait's Development Plan. We are positive on Kuwait's economic outlook as more projects are expected to be implemented in the future."
Founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region, NBK is the largest financial institution in Kuwait and has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating in the region from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. NBK was also named among the 50 safest banks in the world for the eight consecutive times. NBK continues to enjoy the widest banking presence with an international network reaching 170 branches worldwide. NBK's international presence spans many of the world's leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai). Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey.