Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) announced that it has secured a syndicated loan of $408m (AED1.5bn) through a group of local, regional and international banks to finance Empower’s new projects.
The agreement was signed by Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO of Empower and Elissar Antonios CEO of Citibank, Ahmed Al Qassim executive vice president, General Manager Corporate Banking of Emirates NBD, Rola Abu Manneh CEO of UAE Standard Chartered, Ahmed Abdelaal executive vice president and head of Corporate & Investment Banking Group of Mashreq and Manbir Dhillon, general manager – Samba Financial Group, Dubai Branch.
The loan shall be utilised for expanding capacity and district cooling infrastructure in various projects that include Jumeirah Village South, International Media Production Zone, Business Bay, Barsha Heights, Deira Waterfront Development and others. The repayments are scheduled to be made in half-yearly installments.
Bin Shafar stated that banks have significant appetite for businesses with robust performance and as a result, Empower’s loan was oversubscribed by more than 3.5 times which clearly demonstrates the confidence that banks have in our business.
Bin Shafar said: “Through financing, international, regional and local banks have contributed to the growth of the district cooling industry; one of the safest industries in terms of risk and investment returns.”
Bin Shafar stressed that bank financing for district cooling projects contributes to enhancing energy efficiency and thus reducing CO2 emissions. District cooling saves 50% of the energy compared to conventional air conditioning systems. This makes banks an active partner in the sustainable development and achieving their objectives of sustainable financing.
“Promoting the use of sustainable, competitive and safe energy sources is a key objective for us, and we have seen a strong response from our partner banks in achieving this objective. This partnership has contributed to building a strong infrastructure that allowed Empower to lead the district cooling sector globally. In 2018, the number of district cooling plants reached 75 with a cooling capacity of 1.43 Million Refrigeration Tons (RT). The profit achieved in the same year was more than AED800m with revenues exceeding AED2bn” concluded Bin Shafar.