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Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has announced the financial close of a bridge loan facility contracted by Ivoire Hydro Energy (IHE) for the construction of the 44 MW Singrobo-Ahouaty hydropower project in Côte d’Ivoire.
AFC’s commitment towards IHE amounts to a total of EUR174 million (US$198.2 million), comprising a majority equity investment of EUR24.4 million (US$27.8 million), and a bridge loan facility of EUR149.6 million (US$170.4 million). The first disbursement of the bridge loan facility occurred in December 2018.
IHE’s other shareholders include Themis, a project development company, and IHE Holding, a company incorporated by Ekolan Alain Etty, a local entrepreneur. The power plant will be built by Eiffage, selected following an international competitive bidding.
The bridge loan financing structure was selected to enable construction to begin as soon as possible and shorten the development phase of the project. The structure means that the often lengthy process of long-term lenders securing final credit approvals will not delay construction. The development phase of the project is now expected to last less than five years, contrasting the standard 10-year development phases of similar projects.
Long-term debt financing for the project is being arranged by the African Development Bank (AfDB). This includes US$59 million from the bank's own account, approved in December 2017.
The 44 MW power plant will be installed on the Bandama River, 148km north of the capital city, Abidjan. It is expected to be fully operational by 2021.