The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the leading infrastructure development finance institution in Africa, has successfully closed a €577 million debt financing facility for the Ivorian Refining Company, also known as Societe Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR), an oil refinery based in in Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast.
AFC’s participation was for €192 million.
SIR has an installed capacity of 3.8 million tonnes per annum 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 deal 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.
As part of the agreement, 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 endeavor,” commented AFC President and CEO Samaila Zubairu following the announcement.
“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,” he added.
“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 Cote 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,” Zubairu continued.
Commenting on the same, Thomas Camara, Director General for SIR stated that the management of SIR was pleased with the successful outcome of the transaction, which has enabled the conclusion of a greatly needed capital programme.
The refinancing facility is integral to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) financial programme for Cote 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,” said AFC Head of Heavy Industries Tariye Gbadegesin.
“Through this transaction, AFC has mobilised global capital sources toward resolving the deficit in investments in infrastructure and industrial assets on the continent,” Gbadegesin concluded.