Financing for the Eu1.15 billion Maritza East 1 power plant project (ME1) was signed on 7 December. The deal is Bulgaria's largest single foreign direct investment to date and also signals that AES, the project sponsor, has put behind it the troubles of the global power recession.
The 600MW plant is one of three greenfield power projects near the town of Galabovo, 250km south-east of Sofia, around an open caste lignite mining complex that previously supplied Soviet-era power stations at the site. The new facilities will comply with EU emission standards for coal-fired stations and provide new capacity to replace old nuclear plants being decommissioned. The plant will replace an existing 500MW of capacity, of which 300MW has already been phased out and dismantled.
Despite the long initial wait – the project was first tendered in 1998 – in the end closure came relatively swiftly after the deal was resurrected in late 2004. The Eu1.15 billion total project cost is covered by senior debt and equity 70/30 ratio.
The debt facilities total Eu825 million in senior loans. BNP Paribas, Calyon and ING were mandated as lead arrangers, each underwriting Eu237...
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