Saudi state ups ACWA stake as Rabigh race narrows

Published July 5th, 2018

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund has announced the acquisition of a 15.2% direct stake in Riyadh-based power and water project developer ACWA Power, as the company vies for the first of a wave of new privately financed desalination projects in the Kingdom.

The stake acquired by the Public Investment Fund adds to the stake already held by PIF subsidiary Sanabil, giving the state-owned fund an effective 24.98% holding in the company.

Earlier this week, ACWA Power emerged as one of just five bidding teams to submit an offer for the 600,000m3/d Rabigh 3 desalination plant – down from nine groups that had initially been qualified to compete for the contract.

With many more projects on the horizon, ACWA Power is keen to tap new sources of financing. However, the timetable for a long-awaited IPO is still unclear, with CEO Paddy Padmanathan saying only that it would be “sooner rather than later”.