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Thu 28 Sep 2017 06:03 PM

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BNP to advise on $7bn Saudi power plant sale - sources

Privatisations could exceed $350 billion over the next five years

BNP to advise on $7bn Saudi power plant sale - sources
Saudi Arabia hired BNP Paribas to advise on the sale of a $7.2 billion power plant, according to people familiar with the matter. Photo: Matt CardyGetty Images

Saudi Arabia hired BNP Paribas to advise on the sale of a $7.2 billion power plant, according to people familiar with the matter.

Saline Water Conversion Co, or SWCC, is working with the French lender to find a buyer for the plant, the biggest of its kind when it was built in 2014, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The sale is part of a broader strategy to privatize SWCC by selling some of its existing assets and developing new plants with the private sector, they said.

Saudi Arabia is planning to sell hundreds of state assets, including Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco), stakes in the stock exchange, football clubs and flour mills as part of a reform programme spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Privatisations could exceed $350 billion over the next five years, according to Elyas Algaseer, co-head of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. in the Middle East and North Africa. SWCC has been working on its privatization since 2015.

The plant at Ras Al Khair on the kingdom’s east coast provides power for an industrial city that includes aluminum and bauxite facilities owned by Saudi Arabian Mining Co., and is being developed into a maritime industrial hub by Aramco.

The plant started operations in 2014 and produces 2,600 megawatts of power and 1,025 million cubic meter of desalinated water, making it the biggest desalination and power plant in the world, according to Aramco.

A spokesman for SWCC didn’t immediately respond to requests to comment, while a spokeswoman for BNP Paribas declined to comment.

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