UPDATE 2-Saudi's Acwa "very keen" on Malaysia tycoon's power assets

Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:52pm EST

Related Topics

* Acwa Power bidding for tycoon's power assets - CFO

* Looking to sell $800 mln Islamic bond in early 2013

* IPO on Saudi stock exchange planned for 2014 (Edits)

By David French

DUBAI, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Saudi water and power project developer Acwa Power is "very keen" to buy the power assets being sold by Malaysian tycoon Ananda Krishnan, the company's chief financial officer said on Monday.

Krishnan has reportedly put his entire power portfolio up for sale with Standard Chartered hired to manage the transaction of about a dozen power plants.

The deal has so far attracted 12 bids, Malaysia's Star newspaper reported on Saturday, with Saudi Water & Electricity Co submitting a bid of 10.85 billion Malaysian ringgit ($3.60 billion) -- the highest by then.

"We remain a very keen party on that transaction," Rajit Nanda, Acwa's CFO, said on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

Nanda declined to provide a valuation of the assets but confirmed that it was bidding on its own.

Acwa Power, which in November raised $300 million from a debut sharia-compliant syndicated facility, also plans to issue an Islamic bond, or sukuk, worth $800 million in early 2013, Nanda said.

The company was talking to banks about who would arrange the sukuk and a mandate would be awarded during the third quarter.

The mandate would likely go to two of the banks which provided cash for the murabaha-structured facility, Nanda said.

"They are now part of our core relationship banks and our first port of call when we do these specialist activities. I am not hesitating to say that the mandate will end up with these banks," Nanda said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Malayan Banking BHD, Mizuho and Standard Chartered were the funding banks for the murabaha - a cost-plus-profit arrangement which complies with Islamic law.

The firm will begin seeking a credit rating in the second half of the year, prior to tapping international debt markets, and is hoping to secure an investment-grade score, Nanda said.

Acwa is also eyeing an initial public offering on the Saudi exchange in 2014, which will see the firm list between 25 to 30 percent of the company and have a market capitalisation of between $2.5 billion and $3.5 billion, Nanda added.

An adviser for the offering will be appointed in either December or January, following a pitching process in the fourth quarter, Nanda added. (Writing by Rachna Uppal; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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