Johannesburg - South Africa’s FirstRand said its investment banking unit will finance as much as $120 million of Ghana’s $820 million Kpone power plant as lenders seek to benefit from African infrastructure projects.

Rand Merchant Bank is also the lead arranger for about $400 million of commercial bank funding for the project, Michael Larbie, head of FirstRand in Nigeria, said by phone from Lagos today.

Cenpower Generation and other sponsors are providing $250 million with about $200 million from development finance institutions, he said.

The 340-megawatt Kpone gas and oil plant will help Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, plug an electricity shortfall of about 200 megawatts.

Larbie said demand to participate in the commercial bank tranche was two to three times oversubscribed and funding will close in about a month.

“There has been lots of interest in this project,” said Larbie, declining to name the banks involved.

“It’s one of the biggest projects that we’ve lead arranged.”

FirstRand, based in Johannesburg, is South Africa’s second-largest financial-services company. - Bloomberg News