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Biwater gets funding for Tortola desalination project

UK-based engineering, water and wastewater business Biwater is to construct a seawater desalination plant, water storage and wastewater facilities on Tortola, the largest and most populated island of the British Virgin Islands. To help fund the construction Biwater has received dual tranche $43M (£26M) project financing from Barclays, backed by a 100% repayment guarantee from UK Export Finance.

Tortola will benefit from the improved sewage facilitiesTortola will benefit from the improved sewage facilities

The works will greatly benefit the local community for generations to come by ensuring an adequate and reliable supply of drinking water all year-round, along with improved sewage facilities. Also, the marine environment, which is of vital importance to the residents of Tortola, will be better protected with the improved sewage treatment facilities to be provided by Biwater.

Barclays acted as the Sole Advisor, Arranger, Lender and Facility Agent. The successful financial close of the complex transaction relied upon substantial collaboration between specialist units across Barclays Corporate and Investment Banking, including CAPEX Financing Solutions, Infrastructure & Project Finance and the Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics team.

In addition, the project was fully supported by the UK government export credit agency UKEF and required close collaboration between both UKEF and the British Virgin Islands’ Government. This structured UKEF project finance demonstrates Barclays’ ability to deliver integrated solutions in support of UK industry.

Richard Smith, director for the Americas, Biwater International, and president, Biwater AEWT, said: “Project finance provides the necessary cash injection required for large-scale water infrastructure projects around the world. Biwater’s Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Project in the British Virgin Islands is one such initiative, which with the support of Barclays and UKEF will benefit both residents and visitors to Tortola Island for years to come.”

He added: “This innovative project financing solution, and the pivotal role played by Barclays, demonstrates the importance of providing the most appropriate financial solution. We look forward to partnering with Barclays for future transactions.”

Ross Taylor, corporate director, Barclays’ Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics Team, said: “Our relationship with Biwater goes back many years and this important project is the result of close collaboration between multiple parties over a two year period. The construction of the plant, water storage and wastewater facilities will be a life-changing step forward for the community in Tortola."

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