JP Morganis acting as global bookrunner for the loan. Riyad Bankis the GCC co-ordinator. Banks have been asked to register their commitments for $100 million take-and-hold tickets by 1 August, and the loan is scheduled to be signed in early September.

It is understood that the loan has been priced at 25 basis points (bp) over Libor, with a clause raising the margin to 30 bp if more than half the facility is used. Banks have been offered 10 bp in fees. Bankers say the margin is very tight, but there should be no problem in closing the deal because of the banks’ desire to maintain their relationships with Aramco.

The 1998 facility was priced at 30 bp over Libor for the first two years, rising to 32.5 bp for the final two years.