ASAR – Al Ruwayeh & Partners (ASAR), Kuwait’s leading and most prominent corporate law firm, and one of the region’s top tier firms, is pleased to announce that it has acted as Kuwaiti legal counsel for seven Export Credit Agencies (ECAs) and international lenders in respect of the financing of Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s (KNPC) clean fuel project, the largest project and the first financing in KNPC’s history. The ECAs involved in the financing include, Atradius Dutch State Business N.V, Nippon Export and Investment Insurance Trade, Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure), SACE S.p.A, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (UK), Export-Import Bank of Korea and Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The banks extending the financing under the ECAs coverage include Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Société Générale, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Natixis, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., Banco Santander S.A. and HSBC,
The project consists of the upgrade and integration of the two largest existing refineries in the country, i.e., Mina Abdulla and Mina Al Ahmadi refineries. The project will increase the combined capacity of the refineries from the existing 736,000 barrels per day to 800,000 barrels per day, and will lower the sulphur content of petroleum products to 5%. The project is scheduled for completion in mid-2018.
The overall cost of the project is KWD 3.4 billion (US$11.35 billion), and is part of the Kuwait’s KWD 30 billion (US$100 billion) economic development plan. The financing extended to KNPC by the international lenders under the cover of the ECAs amounts to US$6.25 billion and is the largest ever ECA backed corporate facility. The US$ facility tranche is in addition to KWD 3.4 billion (US$11.35 billion) conventional and Islamic financing obtained by KNPC for the purpose of the project back in April 2016.
The importance of this landmark financing comes from the fact that it is the first and largest financing ever obtained by KNPC and amongst the largest ECAs financing in the world.
The ASAR team involved in the transaction include, Rob Little, Ibrahim Sattout and Dania Dib.
Rob Little, Counsel at ASAR said: “We are delighted to have acted on behalf of the ECAs and the international banks. Following our involvement last year in the local tranche of the financing of the project, our involvement in the international tranche is a testament to the strength and depth of the confidence that the international financial institutions have put in ASAR. This latest deal highlights ASAR’s capabilities in servicing international financial institutions in the Kuwaiti market.”
Ibrahim Sattout, Partner at ASAR said: “A transaction of this magnitude underlines the interest of the economic players in the oil sector and its development. We are privileged to have worked with and represented the lenders in this high profile transaction and we appreciate the confidence and trust that the lenders have put in our firm. We look forward to continuing to assist our clients in reaching their business and strategic objectives.”
With dedicated offices in Kuwait and Bahrain coupled with its associated offices and relationships, ASAR provides clients across an extensive range of industry sectors with comprehensive legal advice and support for their business activities in Kuwait, across the GCC and beyond.
The firm has been consistently rated as the leading corporate and commercial law firm in Kuwait by reputable legal guides such as the Chambers Global Guide, International Financial Law Review (IFLR) and the Legal 500. In 2016, ASAR was awarded with the IFLR National Law Firm of the Year Award; an award which ASAR has been delighted to receive for the 8th consecutive year. The firm also won the “Best Restructuring Deal in the Middle East” award by IFLR in 2014. Further, the firm won the prestigious “2014 Commercial Litigation Law Firm of the Year” and the “2014 Best Banking and Finance Legal Team –Kuwait” awards from Acquisition International Magazine in 2014. ASAR lawyers have also received multiple awards under different categories in the Fourth Edition of ‘Best Lawyers’ in Kuwait.