Ivory Coast SIR oil refinery secures loan

DAKAR, (Reuters) - Ivory Coast’s SIR oil refinery, the largest in French-speaking West Africa, has secured a $660 million loan, lead arranger Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) announced, allowing it to reduce debt and keep buying crude.

SIR has struggled with towering debt levels for years, potentially threatening its ability to buy oil for Ivory Coast’s fast-growing economy. In 2016, the country implemented debt-relief measures for the refinery using public and private funds.

The new loan comprises a euro tranche with a 9-year maturity and a West African CFA franc tranche with a 7-year maturity.

Other banks involved in the loan include Deutsche Bank, ICBC Standard Bank, United Bank for Africa, NSIA Bank and Bridge Bank. Lawyers Norton Rose Fulbright and Bilé-Aka, Brizoua-Bi & Associés advised on the transaction.

With a refining capacity of 3.8 million tonnes in 2018, SIR serves Ivory Coast and nearby countries.

Reporting by Juliette Jabkhiro and Loucoumane Coulibaly Editing by Edward McAllister and Kirsten Donovan

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