ASTANA (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed loan agreements for loans equivalent to $80 million in Kazakhstani tenge with Samruk-Energy, Kazakhstan’s largest power generation company, to help increase its balance sheet flexibility by reducing foreign exchange risk, enhance its operational efficiency, and identify a renewable energy pipeline for the company, ADB’s Country Office said on November 12.
The agreements under the Samruk-Energy Restructuring and Transformation Project were signed at a ceremony in Astana by Director Infrastructure Finance, South Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia at ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department Mr. Shantanu Chakraborty and Samruk-Energy’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Bakitzhan Zhulamanov.
“Ensuring that Kazakhstan’s electricity generation sector is sustainable, competitive, and modern will improve the country’s growth and development prospects for years to come,” said ADB Senior Investment Specialist for Private Sector Operations Mr. Mohammed Azim Hashimi. “ADB’s assistance through local currency financing to Samruk-Energy, which is ADB’s first nonsovereign transaction with a state-owned enterprise in Kazakhstan, is an important step toward achieving this goal.”
“This assistance will help Samruk-Energy to restructure its balance sheet, reducing its foreign exchange exposure by converting dollar refinancing requirements into long-term tenge-denominated debt,” said Principal Energy Specialist at ADB’s Central and West Asia Department Mr. Levan Mtchedlishvili. “This will enable the company to resume its efforts to improve operational efficiency and develop renewable energy sources including wind and solar.”
To help modernize Kazakhstan’s electricity sector where about 70% of installed capacity is considered technically obsolete, Samruk-Energy adopted in 2015 a 10-year long-term development strategy to expand operations, lift renewable energy sources from 100 megawatts (MW) to 850 MW by 2025, and double shareholder value. However, falling global oil prices negatively affected the tenge, Kazakhstan’s currency, which affected Samruk-Energy’s plans due to the company’s foreign currency exposure.
Samruk-Energy, established in April 2007, is an important entity in Kazakhstan’s energy sector, with its generation assets classified by the government as power plants of national importance. As of 2016, total installed capacity of the company’s power plants was 6,804 MW, representing 31% of the country’s total installed capacity.