Last year, we provided both debt and equity financing to Zephyr Power, a renewable energy company in Pakistan. The investment was the first time we provided both products together to an investee company.
Zephyr is developing a 50-megawatt wind power plant just outside of the city of Karachi, Pakistan. The project was developed by local entrepreneurs Zia and Kumayl Khaleeli, the current CEO of Zephyr. They spent almost a decade developing the project prior to our involvement.
How we invested in Zephyr
In addition to providing equity to the project, we also provided project financing debt, joining a group of lenders including FMO, Netherlands’ development finance institution. The project was near to missing its deadline for financial close, so our debt and equity teams worked with the developers to achieve close within the required timeframe. Kumayl Khaleeli says: “It was an aggregated effort from CDC as a whole – Equity, Debt, Legal and Environmental and Social – as well as from FMO, UBL, our other investors and sponsors, in order to achieve the timelines.”
Taking a leading position
Our Infrastructure team worked closely with Zephyr for over two years, including advising the developers on structuring the project and in negotiations with the contractors and regulators. We are the largest shareholder in Zephyr and this has given the project’s developers a strong partner that can support the team in their renewable energy ventures. This support has been ‘invaluable’, according to Kumayl: “Before financial close, for example, their guidance helped to make sure the project was bankable. Now we’re developing the site, they have connected us with an experienced project advisor who works closely with us and we have regular calls with the team in London to ensure the project stays on track.
We’re also supporting Kumayl and the Zephyr team on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. This includes helping train ESG staff:. Kumayl says: “I didn’t want to bring external consultants in, I wanted to employ environmental engineers and provide training to them. CDC completely understood this and were very supportive – there’s a very strong underpinning of social impact and they’re able to bring that along with the financial contribution.”
Building for the future
Beyond the construction of this first Zephyr site, Kumayl is looking forward to continuing to work with us: “For me, it’s really important to work with partners I trust and who I feel aligned with. CDC has shown a very strong commitment to myself and my father, who was CEO before. I regard them as people I want to maintain long-term relationships with.” Kumayl, CEO of Zephyr