Saudi developer picks Fransi as IPO advisor

Saudi water and power project developer ACWA Power has picked Banque Saudi Fransi to arrange its flotation on the kingdom's stock exchange, the company's managing director confirmed on Wednesday.

Reuters reported in March that the lender's investment banking arm, Saudi Fransi Capital, would arrange the offering, which was likely to take place before the end of the year or in the early part of 2015.

Confirming the mandate, Thamer Al-Sharhan said that the company was trying to get the initial public offering completed this year, although this timeframe wasn't certain.

"We are trying to do it as early as possible, we are trying to finish it this year," Sharhan told Reuters at an industry event in Dammam.

ACWA has developed a number of projects in Saudi Arabia and has also worked on schemes in Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Mozambique and Morocco.

The company had submitted the cheapest bid to build a solar power plant in Mecca with a capacity of 100 megawatts, Sharhan said, adding its bid came in at 12 cents per kilowatt hour.

"We are the lowest bidder," he said. "There's a big margin between us and the second (bidder) so we are waiting for the go ahead signal. We are ready."

Sharhan said ACWA was interested in bidding for the right to build a new independent power producer (IPP) scheme in which Saudi Aramco and Saudi Electricity Co will be the main shareholders. He did not elaborate.

A separate source said the new Fadhili IPP project will have a power capacity of 1,500 MW.

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