SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet (SNAP-Benguet) has secured a US$375M loan agreement with a consortium of international and local banks. The funds will be used to finance the purchase price and rehabilitate the plants, which have a combined installed capacity if 175MW though not all is operational.

Part of the loans will also help to refinance the JV’s advances from shareholders. The purchase of the privatized plants was financed through seller credit and a loan from Aboitiz. The winning tender for the plants was US$325M and the JV was named winner in November 2007 by the country’s privatisation agency, Psalm. The plants were formally handed over to the JV in July.

The consortium providing the loans includes the International Finance Corp (IFC), Nordic Investment Bank, China Banking Corp and a series of local banks in the Philippines.

The plants are located in Beneguet province – 75MW Ambuklao and 100MW Binga. However, Ambuklao has been inactive in recent years though its headwater releases continue to regulate flows to Binga, completed four years later in 1960. Binga generates 360GWh annually.

Ambuklao is to be rehabilitated to have 65MW of operational capacity within seven years. The JV previously said it plans to have a total installed capacity of 225MW between the two plants within a few years.

Aboitiz is a local industrial and investment group. SN Power is a 50:50 JV between Norwegian power utility Statkraft and Norfund, a Norwegian investor in emerging markets.