[Ivory Coast] AFC closes €577m syndicated debt facility to Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage
African infrastructure development finance institution, Africa Finance Corporation, has announced that in its role as Sole Mandated Lead Arranger it has successfully closed a €577 million debt financing for Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR) of Côte d'Ivoire. 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 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.
Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, commented on the announcement: "We are very pleased to have played an integral part in this endeavour. 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."
Thomas Camara, Director General for SIR commented on the announcement: "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."
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.
Tariye Gbadegesin, Head of Heavy Industries for AFC, added: "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."