Bahrain appoints banks for bond sale

09 August 2017

The kingdom could approach the market as early as September

The kingdom of Bahrain has selected a group of local and international lenders to help it raise as much as $2.5bn through the sale of a US dollar-denominated bond issue.

France’s BNP Paribas and US-based lenders Citi and JPMorgan are the international lenders mandated to arrange the transaction. Local Gulf International Bank and National Bank of Bahrain are also working on the deal, according to news agency Reuters, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

Bahrain could sell the paper in the international debt market as early as September through both conventional and Islamic bonds. The size of the potential sale could go up to $2bn or $2.5bn, according to the report.

Bahrain, like the rest of its GCC peers, relies heavily on the sale of crude for revenues. It has struggled to bridge the fiscal gap since the price of oil has slumped from the mid-2014 peak of $115 a-barrel to its current price of less than $50 a-barrel. The gulf state has already raised $2bn in October when it sold a $1bn conventional bond and a $1bn sukuk. Bank ABC, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered arranged that deal.

Bahrain is rated BB-minus by Standard & Poor’s, B1 by Moody’s and BB+ by Fitch.

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