The FINANCIAL — China Tian Lun Gas Holdings Limited (Tian Lun Gas; HKEx stock code: 1600), one of China’s major domestic gas operators, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, executed a loan agreement for US$60 million today that will help Tian Lun Gas expand the supply of natural gas in China’s cities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving living conditions for millions of people.
The five-year loan marks a key milestone in the partnership between IFC and Tian Lun Gas by building a steady momentum of capital injections to drive the company’s development. The loan follows a US$150 million equity investment by IFC and IFC Global Infrastructure Fund in May 2015, making them the second-largest shareholders in the company on a combined basis. The repeat capital commitments demonstrate IFC’s recognition of Tian Lun Gas’s development outlook and represents a vote of confidence in the company’s industry lead and competitive edge, according to IFC.
At the loan agreement signing ceremony held today in Hong Kong, Zhang Yingcen, Chairman of Tian Lun Gas said: “We are honored to have won the trust and long-term support of IFC and IFC GIF. Their equity investment together with IFC’s loan will give us ample capital to grow our existing business, develop new business, and improve our debt structure. We will leverage this opportunity to tap IFC’s global experience and integrate learnings into our day-to-day operations, and to strengthen various aspects of our corporate governance. Under our mission of ‘Promoting Clean Energy, Improving the Living Condition’ and our ‘Customer First’ philosophy, Tian Lun Gas will remain focused on its development of natural gas, to become a renowned domestic energy distribution company in China.”
The borrower will be Henan Tian Lun Gas Group Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tian Lun Gas. The loan will enable Tian Lun Gas to expand and acquire city gas concessions, and build related infrastructure or plants, supporting its rapid growth. Concurrently, IFC’s leading global expertise and investment experience in natural gas will further raise Tian Lun Gas’s level of corporate governance, environmental stewardship, and corporate citizenship.
Lance Crist, Global Head of Natural Resources at IFC, said: “We are delighted to build on our relationship with Tian Lun Gas through this additional financing, which reflects IFC’s focus on removing infrastructure constraints and improving access to cleaner energy in cities across China.”
By facilitating access to gas for millions of people, the loan will lead to a significant improvement in the living conditions of people, as gas is expected to replace other less efficient and more harmful cooking fuels or, in some cases, home heating fuels such as coal, LPG or wood.
Darius Lilaoonwala, Co-Head of the IFC Global Infrastructure Fund, said: “Tian Lun Gas is the IFC Global Infrastructure Fund’s first investment in Asia. So far, we have been impressed with the Company’s execution of its growth strategy and look forward to continuing our partnership as it rolls out new business initiatives.”
With China’s air pollution challenges becoming more pressing by the day, natural gas is fast becoming one of the key clean energy sources in China’s low-carbon model for economic development. With the support of national policies, the natural gas sector has immense market potential in China, paving the way for greater growth opportunities for Tian Lun Gas. In the first half of 2015, Tian Lun Gas turned in a sterling score card with continued growth in income and profit attributable to owners, which surged 72.39% to RMB991 million and 32.61% to RMB137 million respectively year on year.
Tian Lun Gas is principally engaged in three areas, comprising: city gas, LPG stations and production and sales of LNG, as well as long-haul gas pipeline construction and direct supply to industrial users. The Company currently owns 49 city gas projects, more than 50 CNG/LNG refilling stations (38 in operation; more than 12 under construction), two LNG processing plants under construction and three long-haul gas pipelines projects in operation in 16 provinces such as Jilin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Hunan, Chongqing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Gansu and Shaanxi etc.
The Group has been ranked in Forbes China’s Top 100 Most Promising Enterprises for many years. In 2015, Tian Lun Gas enjoyed the distinction of being ranked 44th as the sole listed natural gas operator, attesting to market recognition of its growth potential.