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Monday, December 22, 2014  

Terra Nex, MEBS plan $2b solar energy project
Faizul Haque

MUSCAT Terra Nex, in collaboration with Middle East Best Select (MEBS) Group of Funds, plans to invest $2 billion to develop solar power in the Sultanate.

The project, which involves foreign investment, is also aimed at developing the local industry as all components for the renewable energy project will be made locally, according to Sheikh Hilal Bin Khalid Bin Nasser Al Maawali, local partner of Terra Nex and MEBS. He was speaking at an Oman-German business meeting on Sunday. Solar power stations, solar panel and aluminium frame factories, renewable energy engineering institutes and related sectors will be involved in the project.

Maawali said Omani youth would be trained and employed in the project, which would take 18 months to complete after it gets a formal green signal from the government.

Terra Nex has organised a tour for 70 German investors of MEBS to give them a first-hand feel of Oman. Some of the investors met government officials and leaders of the industrial and power sectors. MEBS has launched a private investment fund named ‘Solar Energy-Photovoltaik in Oman’ with initial investment of $200 million to finance the first solar power station.

“With investors providing around $2 billion, of which $600 million will be direct equity capital and the remaining loans from European financiers, the project will boost Oman’s economy,” he said.

Solar power electricity generation stations would be central to the project, said David Heimhofer, chairman of Terra Nex and MD of MEBS. He said the project will generate around 400MW.  Industrial plants to make solar panels and aluminium frames will be set up for local consumption and export, he said.

Terra Nex and MEBS have agreed with Maawali to offer 40 per cent of the capital for public subscription in the future after not more than four years from the operation of the project. Heimhofer said the IPO will boost Omani economy by enhancing capital markets base in the Sultanate. Siemens AG has signalled its interest in the project, he said.

He said the project is expected to create over 2,000 job opportunities for Omanis. To meet the demand of skilled locals, a European university is expected to set up an educational institution in the Sultanate to provide training in renewable energy engineering.

Terra Nex has proposed training opportunities with global companies such as Siemens. German technology partners and suppliers are committed to train Omani youth in their factories, Heimhofer said. Terra Nex Financial Engineering AG Switzerland is a Swiss licensed global wealth management company developing investment opportunities in the ME.

Engineer Nisreen Ahmed Jaffer, director general of investment promotion, Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development, and Engineer Ahmed Saleh Al Jahdhami, deputy chairman of Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, made presentations at the meeting. Maurice Girgis, project adviser of special economic zone authority of Duqm, made a presentation on opportunities in Duqm.

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