Saudi Arabia's first independent sewage treatment plant reaches financial close

Saudi Arabia’s first independent sewage treatment plant (ISTP) has been awarded to the private sector with a tenure of 25 years. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Saudi Arabia's first independent sewage treatment plant reaches financial close

  • The ISTP aims to serve the western districts of Dammam with up to 350,000 cubic meters of water per day

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s first independent sewage treatment plant (ISTP) has been awarded to the private sector with a tenure of 25 years following the project’s successful financial close. 

Financial closure is when a project’s financial documents have been signed and conditions have been fulfilled.

The ISTP aims to serve the western districts of Dammam with up to 350,000 cubic meters of water per day.

The project agreement was signed between the Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) and a consortium led by Metito Group in January 2019. 

The ISTP project is worth $245 million and the investment is made up of a combination of equity and debt, a statement provided to Arab News said.

The successful financial close comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has frozen many large-scale projects around the world.

Khaled Al Qureshi, CEO of the SWPC, said: “Despite global volatility and liquidity issues, and ever-changing market conditions, SWPC and the consortium were able to successfully reach financial closing, in close cooperation with the lenders group.”

He added that the closing deal was testament to the SWPC’s commitment to support and encourage private sector engagement in sustainable development by providing lucrative opportunities for local and foreign investors to participate in the implementation of lifeline water projects, provide job opportunities for young people, and support local output and balanced development.

Non-recourse project financing is being provided by a group of local and international banks, including the National Commercial Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited, and the Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation, worth a total of $160 million.

“Reaching this stage in the project and resuming construction work under these difficult circumstances indicates confidence in the investment environment in Saudi Arabia and its suitability for the private sector,” Al-Qureshi said.

Rami Ghandour, Metito’s managing director, said on behalf of the consortium: “While the world is navigating unprecedented and testing times due to the fast evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we are delighted to share a strategic milestone for the water and wastewater industry in the Middle East region. The financial structure for this project is a testament to its importance, scale and impact, and the confidence of all stakeholders in its sustainable success.”

We are confident that with the continued support from the SWPC the Dammam ISTP will pave the way for similar developments in the future that can contribute to a more efficient water sector in the Kingdom and beyond.”

The ISTP project is in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan goal for the optimal use of water resources and to encourage private sector participation in economic development initiatives.


Singapore Airlines drops ‘flights to nowhere’ after outcry

Updated 29 September 2020

Singapore Airlines drops ‘flights to nowhere’ after outcry

  • Several carriers have been offering short flights that start and end at the same airport to raise cash

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines said Tuesday it had scrapped plans for “flights to nowhere” aimed at boosting its coronavirus-hit finances after an outcry over the environmental impact.
With the aviation industry in deep crisis, several carriers – including in Australia, Japan and Taiwan – have been offering short flights that start and end at the same airport to raise cash.
They are designed for travel-starved people keen to fly at a time of virus-related restrictions, and have proved surprisingly popular.
But Singapore’s flag carrier – which has grounded nearly all its planes and cut thousands of jobs – said it had ditched the idea following a review.
The carrier has come up with alternative ideas to raise revenue, including offering customers tours of aircraft and offering them the chance to dine inside an Airbus A380, the world’s biggest commercial airliner.
Environmental activists had voiced opposition to Singapore Airlines launching “flights to nowhere,” with group SG Climate Rally saying they would encourage “carbon-intensive travel for no good reason.”
“We believe air travel has always caused environmental harm, and it is now an opportune moment for us to think seriously about transitions instead of yearning to return to a destructive status quo.”
The airline said earlier this month it was cutting about 4,300 jobs, or 20 percent of its workforce, the latest carrier to make massive layoffs.
The International Air Transport Association estimates that airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose a combined $27.8 billion this year.
The group also forecasts that global air traffic is unlikely to return to pre-coronavirus levels until at least 2024.