Legal expert says Euro zone debt troubles have forced regional developers to look to local banks for funding
GCC project developers are increasingly looking towards local banks to provide financing for projects, marking a significant shift in the way project financing is undertaken in the region, an Abu Dhabi based expert has said.
In an interview with Big Project ME, Debbie Barbour, a partner in the Abu Dhabi office of DLA Piper, said that the impact of the Euro zone debt crisis has forced developers to look within the region for financing.
“We’ve seen that European banks are struggling with their own issues. While some of the larger European banks that we traditionally deal with for project financing are interested in projects in the region, we’re seeing that more and more local banks are expressing an interest and stepping up to the plate to provide project finance,” she said.
A highly experienced project financing lawyer who has worked extensively in the region, Barbour said that the ongoing political upheaval in certain areas of the MENA region had made banks wary about lending to developers.
“When you look at the broader region, there have been political issues over the last year and a half that has greatly impacted the possibility of project financing,” she said.
“However, we’re starting to see projects coming back now, in particular in markets like Egypt. Years ago, Egypt was the next big market for project finance, obviously things then got put on hold, but we’re starting to see project financing come back as they’ve got future infrastructure needs,” Barbour explained.