Africa Finance Corporation, or AFC, the leading infrastructure development finance institution in Africa, in its role of Sole Mandated Lead Arranger has successfully closed a €577 million debt financing for Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage of Côte d'Ivoire – the public company in charge of refining and distributing Ivorian petroleum products.
AFC's participation was for €192 million.
Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR) has an installed capacity of 3.8 Mtpa of refining capacity and is currently the largest and most sophisticated operational refinery in West Africa. The purpose of the facility is to repay historical obligations on crude supply, provide a long tenured facility and reduce the interest rate of SIR's stock of debt.
The facility comprises a Euro tranche with a 9-year maturity and a West African CFA franc tranche with a 7-year maturity.
The long-term funding solution to refinance historical accrued debts will free up resources to enable SIR to make much needed investments in its current operations and upgrade its facility and production processes to align with current environmental emissions standards and expand its business, thereby contributing to job creation.
Participating banks include AFC, Deutsche Bank, ICBC Standard Bank, United Bank for Africa, NSIA Bank and Bridge Bank. Counsel for the Lenders was Norton Rose Fulbright and Bilé-Aka, Brizoua-Bi & Associés.
"We are very pleased to have played an integral part in this endeavour,” says AFC President and CEO Samaila Zubairu.
“The transaction proves that complex funding programmes that provide long-term low-cost capital can be achieved in Africa and we are pleased AFC has been chosen as the partner who can move the financing forward.
“Ensuring SIR has smooth and sustainable operations and commercial viability is imperative to developing the country's economy. Not only is SIR the leading company in Côte d'Ivoire in terms of total balance sheet and turnover but it is also one of the country's largest employers. It is a training outlet for high-skilled employment, thereby making it an important regional player when it comes to building capacity across the continent, something which we at AFC believe is essential to unlocking Africa's economic development," says Zubairu.
"The management of SIR is pleased with the successful outcome of this transaction which has enabled the conclusion of a greatly needed capital programme which will enhance the operations of SIR, an industrial company which has served Côte d'Ivoire and the west African Sub-region for many years and indeed for years to come,” says SIR director general Thomas Camara.
The refinancing facility is integral to the International Monetary Fund's financial programme for Côte d'Ivoire as SIR is considered to be a strategic asset for the country.
"We are proud to have succeeded in structuring a long-term capital solution for an established industrial operator in Africa. Through this transaction, AFC has mobilised global capital sources toward resolving the deficit in investments in infrastructure and industrial assets on the continent,” says, AFC head of heavy industries Tariye Gbadegesin.