Acwa Power plans $3bn in investments
Rabat, October 31, 2013
Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power is pressing ahead with plans for a stock market listing and expects to invest over $3 billion in solar plants over the next five years, its chief executive said.
Paddy Padmanathan told Reuters that Acwa, in which two Saudi government funds bought a 19.4 percent stake in January, could launch an initial public offering (IPO) in 2014, though no time had been set yet.
"We have completed studies for the IPO and we will start now to choose advisers, but I can't say when we would launch it," Padmanathan said in an interview on the margin of the fourth Desertec industrial initiative (Dii) conference in Rabat.
"Initially we would launch it in the Saudi market, but we could be listed in other countries," he added.
Chief Financial Officer Rajit Nanda told Reuters last year the company was eyeing an IPO on the Saudi exchange in 2014, which would see the firm list between 25 to 30 percent of its shares for a market capitalisation of between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion.
The company said it was already committed in $2 billion of equity investments around the world, which reach $22 billion adding partners' contribution.
"We are planning to invest over $3 billion more in the next five years in solar plants, and those projects would reach $35 billion if we add the contribution of our partners," Padmanathan said.
The company said it is focused on the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, as well as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa.
"There are many significant investment risks in some of those countries, so we want to grow in a controlled manner, not to explode," Padmanathan said.
Acwa Power has been pre-selected, among others, by the Moroccan solar energy Agency (Masen), to construct two solar plants totaling 300 megawatts (MW) near the southern city of Ouarzazate. Those contracts are estimated to be worth 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion).
Masen said consortia led by Spain's Abengoa, GDF's International Power and Acwa Power had been pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender.
The three groups have also pre-qualified for the 100 MW (Noor III) tender, along with another consortium led by France's EDF.
"We are preparing bids and we are confident about it. We will win those tenders," Padmanathan said.
The tenders will be launched over the coming weeks, according to Masen.
Acwa Power is already building the first 160 MW plant in the Ouarzazate area under a government initiative to produce 2 gigawatts of solar power by 2020, which is equivalent to about 38 percent of Morocco's current installed generation capacity. - Reuters