Complex Made Simple

White & Case advises on $1.3 billion refinancing of Emirates Steel Industries project

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised the lenders on the US$1.3 billion refinancing of the Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) project in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The financing was provided by a group of 19 international, regional and UAE commercial banks, split into conventional and Islamic facilities. It was principally applied to refinance the existing US$1.1 billion project financing provided to ESI in 2010 in relation to the expansion financing of its steel production facility in Abu Dhabi.

The transaction also allowed Senaat, the UAE’s largest industrial conglomerate and Emirates Steel’s parent company, to consolidate its steel assets under Emirates Steel.

“The scale of this refinancing, involving as it did a structure developed by ESI which combined elements of both corporate and project financing and the wide group of banks, make this one of the standout financings to complete in the GCC so far this year,” said Margaret Cole, the Firm’s Office Executive Partner in the United Arab Emirates.

“The financing was significantly over-subscribed, by both conventional and Islamic banks, illustrating the substantial appetite that exists both domestically and internationally for financings of operating projects in the Abu Dhabi market. Our team was proud to build on the experiences gained on each of the EMAL Phase II expansion and Shuweihat S2 bond financings during 2013.”

The combined ESI plants occupy a single site within the Industrial City of Abu Dhabi and since completion in early 2014, have a capacity in excess of 3.5 million metric tons per annum of a variety of steel products.

The White & Case team was led by partners Margaret Cole and Shibeer Ahmed and associate Matthew Wood, supported by associates Anne-Marie Wicks, Nneka Wood and Dann Irving.

A separate team comprising partner Michael Watson, together with associates Alexander Malahias and Josephine Diez, advised the lenders under the 2010 financing whose facilities were refinanced.