Saudi gov't funds buy 19% of ACWA Power

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Two Saudi government-owned funds have purchased a 19.4 percent stake in Saudi water and power project developer ACWA Power International, the company said on Saturday.

ACWA Power, formed in 2004 to bid for Saudi power projects, has contracted gross production capacity of 13,000 megawatts (MW) of power and 2.37m cubic metres a day of desalinated water, with an investment value in excess of US$17bn.

Sanabil, which is owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), bought 13.72 percent of the developer, while the Saudi Public Pension Agency (PPA) took a 5.71 percent stake, ACWA said in a statement, without disclosing how much the two funds paid for the 89.5m shares in the company.

ACWA, owned by private Saudi investors, is developing a massive power project in Al Qurayyah, south of the eastern city of Khobar, and expanding outside Saudi Arabia. It was part of a group that won a US$1bn contract to build a 160 MW concentrated solar power plant south of Morocco.

In July, the company said it acquired a 42 percent stake in a solar photovoltaic power plant in Bulgaria.

The company's Chief Financial Officer, Rajit Nanda, said last February it was eyeing an initial public offering (IPO) on the Saudi exchange in 2014, which will see the firm list between 25 to 30 percent of its shares for a market capitalisation of between US$2.5bn and US$3.5bn.

A company spokesman said on Saturday the sale of a stake to Saudi government-owned funds "will not affect ACWA Power's plans to go to IPO in the future."

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