Kelar power project in Chile closes financing

The project’s financing includes about $477m of senior secured credit facilities and is key to the plant's future as a supplier to Chilean mines.  

The Kelar Power Project, a 517-megawatt (MW) gas-fired combined-cycle power project in northern Chile, has completed an important financing.

The project, sponsored by Korean Southern Power Corporation (KOSPO) and Samsung C&T Corporation, is the two firms’ first power generation project in Chile, and the completion of the financing strengthens their presence in the market.

The financing entails approximately $477 million of senior secured credit facilities, comprising a $196 million direct loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM), a $160 million commercial bank-funded facility guaranteed by KEXIM, $89 million of uncovered commercial bank debt, and $32 million worth of project letters of credit and a working capital facility.

In addition, a local bank in Chile is providing a short term value-added tax facility aggregating $40 million in equivalent Chilean pesos.

Natixis acted as financial advisor and mandated lead arranger as part of a group of commercial banks, along with KEXIM, according to the statement.

The power generated from the Kelar Project will be used by Minera Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, and two of BHP Billiton Chile’s wholly-owned mines in the region.

The project is an important part of BHP’s strategy in the region, and is expected to start supplying power to BHP’s operations by late 2016.

In 2013, Natixis, acted as a financial advisor to KOSPO and Samsung C&T in its successful bid to win the concession from BHP to build, own, operate and maintain the Kelar Project.

Since late 2013, joint project and export finance teams of Natixis in the Americas and Asia Pacific have been assisting the project company, Kelar S.A., in raising debt financing.