Roadshows will kick off in mid-April, and will go to Gulf capitals and to London. The exact size of the first issue will be determined when investor demand has been assessed. ‘As with other recent EMTN programmes, BankMuscat’s aim is to diversify funding sources, and an initial big first international issue will set a benchmark for smaller future drawdowns,’ says an HSBC official. ‘The programme will provide a platform for the bank to seek more efficient and cost-effective finance.’

A number of regional banks have recently experimented with the EMTN instrument. In early March, Dubai-based Mashreqbankstaged the first $300 million drawdown of a $750 million programme – lead arranged by Banc of America Securities, the investment banking subsidiary of Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley– which ended up priced at 55 basis points (bp) over Libor and was heavily oversubscribed. In January, an EMTN issue by Emirates Bank International, also priced at 55 bp and lead arranged by Morgan Stanley and HSBC, was doubled in size to $500 million (MEED 5:4:04; 23:1:04).