Banks prepare for Oman LNG refinancing

23 November 2001

A group of international and regional banks has been invited to form a lead arranging group for the $1,300 million Oman LNGrefinancing package.

The banks invited include HSBC Investment Banking, BNP Paribas, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Credit Agricole Indosuez, Credit Lyonnais, Gulf International Bank, Arab Banking Corporation, WestLB, Hypovereinsbank, ANZ Investment Bankand Mizuho Financial Group. BankMuscatmay yet join the transaction, bankers involved in the deal say.

'The banks have until 22 November to give their replies to Oman LNG's invitation,' says a banker close to the deal. 'There are a few details still to be thrashed out, but this should be done pretty quickly. No timetable has been finalised yet, but the deal will go to syndication and this could be launched before the end of the year.'

It is understood that the banks have been offered all-in fees of about 120 basis points (bp) over Libor.

The deal has a step-up pricing structure starting at 90 bp for years one to five, rising to 110 bp for years six-10, and then to 140 bp from year 11 to maturity. Oman LNG initially asked the banks for tenor of 18 years, but this has been revised down to 16 and a half years, and a cash sweep has been added at year 14 (MEED 16:11:01). 'This is a vibrant project and the cash sweep effectively brings the real tenor down to 14 years,' says the banker.

Citibankhas acted as financial adviser to Oman LNG and is notable in its absence from the proposed lead arranging group, bankers say.

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