Azito gas expansion

The World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced on 25 July that financing has been agreed for the €330m expansion of the Azito Energie gas power plant in Côte d’Ivoire. The project is known as Azito IV and will add 253MW to the plant, taking its total installed capacity to 710MW with an anticipated production of 2,170GWh/yr.

Financial close is expected in September and construction is scheduled to take around 18 months. The expansion will add a 181MW gas turbine and 72MW steam turbine to operate in combined cycle. Azito Energie is 77% owned by Globeleq Africa Holding Ltd and 23% by Industrial Promotion Service (West Africa).

IFC was the lead mandated arranger and global coordinator for the full €264m debt package. IFC provided €46m from its own account and other lenders include the African Development Bank, the West African Development Bank (Boad), the Opec Fund for International Development, France’s Proparco, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, Germany’s DEG, the Netherlands’ FMO, and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group. The West African Development Bank is also providing debt but denominated in West African CFA. The other lenders will provide funding in Euros.

EAIF came in to fill a funding gap with a €28m loan, its second to the project after a €30m was provided for the construction of the original plant in 2012. According to the fund, Azito will provide the cheapest power in the country other than hydropower. Its current package has a 15.5 year tenor and was signed on 19 July.

EAIF executive director Emilio Cattaneo said, “Azito Energie is a proven business with a management team that has operated a successful plant for a number of years. Expanding Côte d’Ivoire baseload electricity capacity will improve the resilience of the economy, which is of fundamental importance in fragile states. It will help stimulate business activity and improve domestic life. Public services such as health and education will also benefit from the greater availability of power at affordable prices.”

 

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