Refinancing 'reduces costs' for Melbourne desalination plant

Suez Environnement has drawn a line under its financial situation relative to the Victorian Desalination Plant in Melbourne, Australia, after operator Aquasure, 21% owned by Suez, concluded a refinancing agreement worth Aus$ 3.7 billion (US$ 3.55 billion).

Suez says that the deal has achieved "a significant reduction" in financial costs and proves the confidence of the banks in the asset. It describes the deal as leading to "a satisfactory resolution on the legal issues related to the desalination plant construction", putting an end to outstanding claims.

The Melbourne facility, which is currently in standby mode, entered into a 27‑year operational contract in December 2012, and Suez says that its cumulated revenue will reach € 800 million. However, the water minister for the state of Victoria, Peter Walsh, stated in January 2013 that he was making it a personal goal never to order water from the plant that he says is costing Victorians almost Aus$ 2 million (US$ 1.9 million) a day.

The project is the world's largest public‑private desalination plant with a capacity of 450,000 m³/d.

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