DBS co-leads $625m finance deal in Indonesia battery metals project

Reference photo. Battery Pack for BMW-i3 Electric Vehicle. (Image by RudolfSimon, Wikimedia Commons)

Singapore bank DBS Group said on Thursday it has co-led a group of lenders in a $625 million financing deal for a battery nickel and cobalt project in Indonesia.

The project by PT Halmahera Persada Lygend (PT HPAL) is expected to be the first smelter in Indonesia to use high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) technology to produce nickel and cobalt chemicals used in making batteries for electric vehicles.

It is one of several Indonesian projects closely-watched by a global market hungry for affordable and timely supply from Indonesia, the world’s biggest producer of nickel ore and a fast growing supplier of nickel products.

The transaction supports Indonesia’s ambitions for the electric vehicle and battery manufacturing industry, Tan Su Shan, Group Head of Institutional Banking and President Commissioner for PT Bank DBS Indonesia, said.

He said the bank was keen to help companies in high-growth industries, such as PT HPAL, which are also “mindful of their environmental, social and governance impact”.

DBS, Southeast Asia’s biggest bank, said it has committed to finance S$50 billion ($37.13 billion) in clean energy projects by 2024, after closing S$9.6 billion in sustainable financing transactions in 2020, up 81% year-on-year.

The lender said it has joined BNP Paribas to lead a consortium with seven other banks to launch a $600 million term loan facility and a $25 million working capital facility in a seven-year deal for the HPAL project.

The other lenders were Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia, OCBC NISP, Bank Central Asia, Malaysia’s Maybank, Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd and United Overseas Bank Ltd.

Based in Indonesia’s Obi island, the HPAL project is a joint-venture between China’s Lygend Mining and Indonesia’s Harita Group.

“PT HPAL is committed to controlling the use of energy sources in every step of our production processes in pursuit of good environmental governance through implementation of low emission technology,” a PT HPAL spokesman said.

($1 = 1.3466 Singapore dollars)

(By Mai Nguyen; Editing by Barbara Lewis)

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