The shortlisted institutions invited were ANZ Investment Bank, Arab Banking Corporationwith PricewaterhouseCoopers, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Gulf International Bankwith Ernst & Young, HSBC Investment Bankand Taylor-DeJongh.

Bankers are expecting the imminent award of a mandate. ‘This process has already been dragged out,’ says one of the bidders. ‘There is no reason I can think of that will delay the award of this mandate beyond mid June.’ The requests for proposals for the mandate were issued in late March and bids were received from the interested banks by the end of April (MEED 26:4:02; 5:4:02, Power & Water).

The finance package for Alba, expected to be worth about $1,500 million, is likely to be made up of a number of tranches. ‘We are expecting export credits, commercial debt and an Islamic tranche to be split roughly along the lines of 40:40:20,’ says another of the bidders for the advisory mandate. ‘There might be some who think a bond component might be attached, but this is, in reality, pretty unlikely and it’s not necessary anyway.’ The debt package is expected to have a tenor of 12-15 years, bankers say.

‘The schedule is still to have financial close by the end of the year,’ says the banker. ‘This is getting fairly tight already, and if they really want it, they are going to have to get the documentation done very well the first time round. The better this is done, and the more bankable the transaction, the faster the deal can be pushed through.’