Supporting Azadea Group expansion in the region

BNP Paribas relationship with fashion and food and beverage retail Group Azadea began more than 12 years ago in the UAE with a small facility. The Bank s relationship with Azadea Group has expanded ever since, and now covers five countries (UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, the Kingdom of Bahrain and Algeria). Over the years, the Bank has helped to support the Group s rapid expansion in the region and beyond, and has also helped Azadea Group expand their presence in North Africa acting as sole bank in Algeria. Azadea Group has supported the Bank by serving as its regional pilot client for the launch of several new services. In 2014, BNP Paribas plans to work with Azadea Group on their growth initiatives, also helping Azadea Group optimise their cash collection management across the region.

Solar Power in the UAE

One of the city s flagship projects, Shams 1 generates electricity using parabolic mirrors in a process known as Concentrating Solar Power, which is a key component in Abu Dhabi s target of achieving seven percent renewable energy power generation capacity by the year 2020.

This ambitious renewable energy project was completed in late 2012, and came live by March 2013.

The project financing received the BNP Paribas CIB internal Innovation Award in the Environment category for 2011. It was also recognised by the financial industry at large, notably by the Project Finance Magazine as the Middle East Renewables Deal of the Year 2010. The award ceremony, held in the UAE in 2010, was attended by the client Masdar, main shareholder Mubadala, energy company Total and sustainable energy leader Abengoa, BNP Paribas and other representatives from the banking sector, as well as industrialists, government ministers, energy experts and the press.

In 2003, BNP Paribas was involved in a landmark transaction when it was awarded the mandate of sole advisor by UAE-based telecommunications company Etisalat, for the bidding for a GSM license allocated by authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Abu Dhabi-based company won the call for tender.

Etisalat subsequently awarded the Bank a mandate as financial advisor on a Sharia- compliant debt issue required to finance the project. Following a quick turnaround, the transaction achieved two records: the largest debt issue by a private company in the Gulf region and the world s biggest-ever Islamic financing facility at the time.

In August 2004, Etihad Etisalat, the Arab Emirates telecommunications company, chose BNP Paribas to manage a Sharia-compliant syndicated loan to finance a second mobile telephony license in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In 2007, BNP Paribas also brought its experience in the renewables sector to bear in Abu Dhabi, taking on an advisory mandate from Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Company for the Shams 1 solar power station in the new development of Masdar City. The financing project was initiated by the team at the Bahrain branch and was carried through by the Bank s renewable energy experts in Paris.

Christophe Mariot, who worked on the project, explained the set-up. With this project the Bank was financial advisor to the very first solar project in the Gulf. Drawing on the expertise of the Paris project financing team, we structured it as a Build Operate Transfer (BOT) project with 40 percent of the capital coming from international sponsors the Spanish group Abengoa and the French Total group to add to the 60 percent being invested by the Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala group through its special Masdar vehicle, he said.

Meanwhile, the Bank was mandated for the first time by the Dubai-based carrier Emirates as the sole arranger and agent on a lease for two new ultra-long range aircraft.

Even as the 2008-2009 economic crisis shook the world, BNP Paribas continued to support development in the UAE. In 2009, BNP Paribas Gulf branches, in particular those in the UAE, played a key role in the financing of Dolphin Energy s highly ambitious project developing integrated gas production, processing facilities and a pipeline between Qatar and Abu Dhabi. Working with a number of other financial institutions, BNP Paribas issued a project bond on behalf of Dolphin.

In September 2009, BNP Paribas acted as joint book runner on part of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi s EMTN programme. This was swiftly followed by a similar transaction, with the Bank appointed joint lead manager and book runner for a deal as part of First Gulf Bank s EMTN programme.

Several other major deals took place that year, cementing the Bank s position as the number one book runner in the Middle East.

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