Dubai: Aluminium Bahrain BSC (Alba) is in talks with international banks for $1 billion in export credit financing to help fund a production expansion, Chief Executive Officer Tim Murray said on Wednesday.

Banks have a “very good appetite” for the debt because it will be backed by governments, mostly in Europe, to finance equipment purchases, Murray said in an interview in Dubai. Alba has awarded an 1,800-megawatt power-plant project to General Electric Co. and a power-distribution system to Siemens AG. The talks should be completed by the first quarter, concluding necessary financing for the $3 billion expansion, Murray said.

Aluminium Bahrain in September raised $1.5 billion in loans for the Line 6 project in Bahrain, which is expected to boost aluminium production by 540,000 metric tons to 1.5 million tons a year, starting in January 2019. That financing came from lenders in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates along with international banks including Standard Chartered Plc and Credit Agricole SA, he said.

“The demand was very good and we were able to negotiate very competitive terms,” he said. “We got a three-year grace period which was really important for the ramp-up, so we didn’t have to pay interest for the first three years.”