IDE desalination plant shortlisted for water prize

This prize is given annually by the water industry to any transaction that has made the greatest positive impact on private sector participation in the international water sector.

The package was put together by SDL Sorek Consortium, a consortium of IDE (51%) and Hutchison Water International Holdings Pte. Ltd. SDL had to finance the construction of the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant, a US$500 million project, in view of existing unstable and illiquid financial markets. IDE and Hutchison created a financial structure based on a non-recourse loan, including a NIS-denominated tranche from Israeli banks and a EURO-denominated tranche from the European Investment Bank, as well as Equity Bridge, standby and working capital facilities. In parallel, the consortium invested US $100 million equity.

GWI said that the consortium “[took] advantage of low short-term interest rates to reduce financing costs during the initial concession period and financing a major desalination project in Israel with a currency tranche by local players. This financing not only resulted in significant savings in terms of debt service, but will also minimise refinancing risk going forward.”

GWI also cited the consortium’s “plans to co-locate an independent power plant at the Sorek site, which gives the desalination financing a unique risk profile. The parties are to be congratulated on successfully negotiating the power and water risks, while keeping the financing on a limited recourse basis.”

“We are proud to be short-listed for this prestigious award,” said Avshalom Felber, IDE’s CEO. “The fact that the water industry has begun offering an award for the Deal of the Year demonstrates its recognition that financial engineering and deployment skills are just as important as technological superiority for project success. Having built 400 desalination plants in 40 countries over the past 45 years, IDE has achieved leadership in all these areas.”

Sorek will be one of the largest and most economical SWRO installations ever built, with a nominal installed capacity of over 624,000 m3/day. It features the world's first implementation in a large-scale facility of 16 inch membranes in a vertical arrangement.