As economic diversification projects got under way in the late 1990s and early 2000s, BNP Paribas project finance activities were mainly focused on large-scale petrochemical and power projects. But the scope soon widened to refineries, liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, and power generation, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

From 2003 onwards, rising oil prices gave governments the leeway to begin investing more heavily in other areas, such as infrastructure, education and renewable energies, while still seeking project finance in order to diversify their funding sources. As oil prices rose in the mid-2000s, and the Gulf States began to register large budget and current account surpluses, international debt capital markets opened up as a financing option in the region, and BNP Paribas played a key role in channelling capital to finance and refinance projects. At the same time, governments looked to bring in private sector capital and expertise for infrastructure and industrial development, and consequently began a privatisation drive. BNP Paribas was well placed to advise and support these programmes, helping governments to carry out cash-flow generating projects with the right blend of state spending, project financing and leverage. The Bank was involved with major power projects in Abu Dhabi and the Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as hydrocarbon and petrochemical projects in Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In recent years, BNP Paribas project finance team has continued to adapt through a role of project finance advisory to meet the needs of its clients, offering both conventional and Islamic capital markets solutions, and tapping investors across the world. A strong advisory capability has been developed that draws upon the Bank s sectorial expertise and business lines, so that a variety of services are offered, including cash management solutions, fixed income, lending and other solutions.

Aviation Finance

Since the 1980s, aviation has been central to the economic diversification efforts of the Gulf States, due to the region s key strategic location at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa. The Gulf has also aggressively promoted domestic tourism and leisure industries in recent years to supplement revenues from more traditional sources such as the oil and gas industry.

As the Gulf States invested in aviation and established truly global airlines, BNP Paribas Aviation Finance business developed its sectorial expertise and a global network in line with the region s needs in order to support the regional airlines ambitious growth plans. Ever since, BNP Paribas has established strong relationships in the aviation sector across the Gulf States, which are now home to three of the world s best-known brands in civil aviation, as well as several fast-growing low-cost airlines.

Bertrand d Heucqueville, Head of Aviation Finance EMEA, explains that BNP Paribas long history in the Gulf ensured that it developed increasingly sophisticated relationships in

EMIRATES BOEING 777-200LR007

EMIRATES AIRBUS A330-200

95B N P PA R I B A S I N T H E G U L F S TAT E S A N D I T S C O N T R I B U T I O N T O T H E E C O N O M Y O F T H E R E G I O N