Mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) have been appointed on the $1,500 million debt package for the Sohar aluminium smelter. Citigroup is acting as the financial adviser (MEED 30:9:05).

Banks were asked to offer underwriting commitments of at least 50 per cent of the total amount. The three MLAs are ABN Amro, Citigroup and Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporation. Meetings are due to be held with losing bidders in early November about joining at the sub-underwriting phase.

The pricing on the 15-year deal is likely to start at sub-50 basis points (bp) during the construction phase, rising to 70-90 bp during the remainder of the tenor. The facility has a 30 per cent balloon repayment. ‘This is pretty aggressive for a 15-year deal even with the [100 per cent year-10] cash sweep,’ says one banker. Financial close is due by the end of November.

The $2,400 million Sohar aluminium project is a joint venture of Oman Oil Company, Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA) and Canada’s Alcan(MEED 4:3:05).