ABC completes FRN issue

28 July 2006

Arab Banking Corporation (ABC) has issued a $300 million, five-year floating-rate note (FRN) as part of its $2,500 million euro medium-term deposit note (EMTDN) programme. The paper was priced at 50 basis points (bp) over Libor and carries a coupon of 45 bp.

The bank had originally looked at issuing notes worth $400 million but reduced the size after some European investors withdrew their interest because of the deteriorating situation in Lebanon. Barclays Capital and BNP Paribas were the arrangers (MEED 14.7.06).

Other planned GCC euro medium-term note (EMTN) drawdowns are expected to be held off until the end of the summer and an improvement in the regional political climate. 'No-one is sure about the appetite for Middle East credit at the moment,' says an international banker. 'Although the situation in Lebanon has little impact on the Gulf, Asian investors, for example, are not sufficiently familiar with the region to make the distinction.'

Debut issues from Commercialbank and Doha Bank are among those in the pipeline. 'As first-time issuers and the first EMTN issues out of Qatar, these inevitably take a bit longer to prepare,' says the banker. Commercialbank is understood to be awaiting regulatory approval to expand the scope of its planned $1,500 million programme, being arranged by Citigroup and HSBC, to allow a broader range of instruments to be issued off it.

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