ICBC withdraws from Lamu coal plant
ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) has withdrawn its financing from Lamu coal plant project due to environmental and social risks. Save Lamu announced this news and issued a press statement on 16 November 2020.
Kenya’s The Star obtained independent confirmation of the withdrawal, citing Chinese Embassy press attaché: “Shelly Huang on Wednesday told the Star no Chinese company is currently involved in the project. ‘I never heard ICBC has intention or interests in investing in the proposed coal project. My information is that the project has been suspended since several years ago. Not a single Chinese company is involved in it now,’ she said.”
Africa Intelligence (behind paywall) ICBC “quietly confirmed on 18 November that it would no longer provide the $1.2bn it had promised.”
ICBC was to provide majority financing; PowerChina and China Huadian Corporation were to serve as EPC and O&M contractors. Kenya’s The Standard reported, “By ICBC abandoning the project, it appears to be the last nail on the coffin for Amu Power” (Coal dream up in flames as last backer of Lamu project pulls out). CoalWire circulated the news, 350.org issued a response about the news and its broader implications, and BankTrack republished Save Lamu’s statement. Industry publications also cross-published the development. GreenBRI published the news in Chinese on Weixin.
With reference to Chinese government knowledge of ICBC’s investment in the project, ICBC made its own public statement on the project in 2015, which was followed by multiple reports of the deal. As recently as June 2019, ICBC was listed as the project’s financier in a presentation by project contractor PowerChina in a meeting at the Chinese Embassy convened by then-Ambassador Wu Peng.
Original announcement of ICBC’s exit and ensuing media coverage:
- Save Lamu statement as below (or PDF here)
- 350.org statement in response
- Kenya’s The Star “Lamu coal plant’s biggest investor abandons project” with confirmation from Chinese government official that no Chinese companies are involved in the project
- Africa Intelligence (behind paywall) on ICBC’s quiet confirmation
- News jointly published in industry publications “Chinese investors withdraw from Kenya’s Lamu coal project”
- News from GreenBRI (in Chinese on Weixin) “Industrial and Commercial Bank of China divested”
- Kenya’s The Standard “Coal dream up in flames as last backer of Lamu project pulls out”
- CoalWire newsletter (November 19) at EndCoal.org
- IEEFA referencing The Star