Templars has acted as Nigerian counsel to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and a syndicate comprising other development finance institutions as well as commercial lenders, in connection with the financing of the US$1 billion expansion of a world-class fertiliser production plant at Eleme, near Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The syndicate of lenders include PROPARCO, CDC Group PLC, European Investment Bank, African Development Bank, FMO, DEG, Bank of Baroda, Standard Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, ICICI Bank Limited and Citibank.
The existing 1.4 million tonnes per-year plant has been operational since 2016, and was responsible for 700,000 tonnes of urea exports to West African and North and South American markets in 2017. The expansion to be funded by this new financing will double the capacity of the existing plant to 2.8 million tonnes making it, upon completion, the largest single-train urea fertiliser plant in the world. The plant supplies about 360,000 tonnes of urea to fertiliser blenders within Nigeria for the production of NPK fertiliser, and has surpassed the sponsors objective of transforming Nigeria from an import-dependent consumer to a net-exporter of fertiliser products. The increased production expected from the expansion will enable the project company, Indorama Eleme Fertiliser & Chemicals to make an even bigger push into the international export market.
The fertiliser plant is supported by a dedicated Port Terminal at the nearby Onne Port Complex and an 83.5km Gas Pipeline, and our work on the transaction required the involvement of a multidisciplinary team of Templars lawyers drawn mostly from both our Project Finance and Integrated Gas practice groups. The collaboration between these two practices and others within Templars demonstrates the manner in which various practice groups within the firm work seamlessly in assisting clients to successfully close complex project finance transactions of this magnitude.
The Templars teams on the transaction were led by partners, Zelda Akindele (Finance) and Yemisi Awonuga (Energy), who were assisted by associates Ayokanmi Aderibigbe, Seeke Atitebi, Promise Madubuobu, Biegbana Jaja, Onyeka Nwaigbo and Bernard Ehigiamusor. According to Zelda Akindele, “we are excited to have assisted IFC and the syndicate of lenders in successfully completing this particularly complex and important project. And it is particularly heart-warming to note that when put together with our other unrelated fertiliser plant work, our role on the Indorama Plant confirms Templars as most likely the undisputed law firm of choice for fertiliser projects in Nigeria.”