Etihad Rail – the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway network – has secured financing of $1.28 billion (Dh4.7 billion) for Stage One of its railway project, which comprises the route from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais.
Nasser Alsowaidi, Chairman of Etihad Rail said: “The securing of this loan not only represents the beginning of a new era for the UAE in trade and travel through a transportation network that will connect all seven emirates with our GCC partners, but also reflects the international financial community’s confidence in Etihad Rail and the significant potential of the UAE’s national railway.”
The five-year loan will be financed on a club deal basis by National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC (NBAD), Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and HSBC Bank Middle East Limited (HSBC), with NBAD acting as both the facility and security agent of the loan.
Initial financing plans for the first stage of the project were originally approved by the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Cabinet in early 2012, and similarly authorised by the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
Dr Nasser Saif Al Mansoori, CEO of Etihad Rail said: “This loan is yet another indicator of the significant progress being made at Etihad Rail. With the recent arrival of our wagons, the considerable headway being made in construction on Stage One, and as we look forward to the arrival of our locomotives later this quarter, Etihad Rail is on schedule to seeing the first train run from Habshan to Ruwais by the end of this year. We look forward to working with our banking partners as we develop this landmark project for the UAE, and appreciate the efforts of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and the substantial role the company played in helping to secure this loan.”
Mark Yassin, senior general manager of Global Banking of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said: “Building a rail network in the UAE is one of the most important and crucial elements in the goal to establish Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates as the enabler and epicentre of commerce. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi is committed to supporting ambitious projects like Etihad Rail which will ultimately link the nation’s seven emirates to other GCC countries and will become the greatest facilitator of increased trade.