Sunday, June 4, 2017

Top Lebanese bank to launch $1bn infrastructure fund

FFA Private Bank, one of the leading investment companies in Lebanon, is all set to launch a structured investment vehicle to channel the country's investments in power sector and infrastructure projects.

A first-of-its-kind in the country, Lebanon Infrastructure Fund is very advanced in terms of financial sophistication, said its top official. 

The initial objective is to reach $1 billion of investments in the short-to-medium term, over two to three years, remarked FFA Chairman Jean Riachi. 

It will be mainly focusing on solar, wind, and hydraulic power projects besides waste-to-energy projects and waste treatment projects, he noted. 

According to him, the financing could take different shapes whether debt or equity financing. It could include bonds, bank loans and vendor financing, Riachi told The Daily Star.

The funding could also be in the form of multilateral financing obtained from international organizations such as the International Finance Corporation, German state-owned development bank KfW and French development-financing institution Proparco, he added.

Iyad Boustany, managing director and head of corporate and investment banking at FFA, said the bank's job is to provide the structure or the sponsor.

FFA is eyeing various infrastructure projects with special attention to renewable energy, he noted. 

Lebanon, he stated, has a reasonable wind potential, especially in the district of Akkar in north Lebanon. There are currently three projects under final review on the table of the cabinet, each with an average capacity of 70 MW.

All three projects of $100-150 million each are located in the same area and are likely to represent 100 per cent of the wind-farm sector in Lebanon, he added.

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