Hapoalim, EIB to fund Ashdod desalination plant

Mekorot Development and Initiatives is building the NIS 1.5 billion plant.

Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) will head the syndicate financing the Ashdod desalination plant. Mekorot National Water Company subsidiary Mekorot Development and Initiatives Ltd. is building the NIS 1.5 billion plant.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that Mekorot and the syndicate will close the financing within a month. Mekorot chairman Alex Wiznitzer said that the four months since the Ministry of Finance allowed the company to begin the project was a record time for securing financing.

Construction is due to begin within a few days, as soon as the necessary permits are obtained. The IVM syndicate of Minrav Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MNRV) unit Minrav Engineering Ltd. and Spain's SADYT won the Mekorot tender to build the plant. The 100 million cubic meter a year plant is due to come on line in 2013.

In a separate development, Mekorot signed the financing agreement to build a desalination plant at Limassol in Cyprus. Wiznitzer told "Globes", "As far as we're concerned, securing the financing is an important achievement in such hard times in the global credit market in general and in Europe and Greece in particular."

The Cyprus's Cooperative Central Bank will provide the €50 million for the desalination desalination plant, which Mekorot Development is building, under a BOT (build operate transfer) contract. The 20 million cubic meter a year plant is due to come on line in May 2012.

Mekorot recently won a second Cypriot tender to build a desalination plant, at Larnaca. The two plants will provide 40% of Cyprus's drinking water needs.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 31, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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