‘The timetable is tight and the IM [information memorandum] is fairly vague in a few places,’ says one of the prospective bidders for the mandate. ‘In particular, Bapco’s financials are not included but the exact nature of the government guarantee is not really defined.’

Also significant is a clause in the IM which says the term sheet has been structured on the assumption that export credits will be provided but, in the event of bids being submitted with similar prices, a bid which does not require export credit support will be favoured.

The IM indicates that a $650 million financing package is being sought and it is likely to have tenor of about 12 years.

Four main bank groups are expected to bid for the lead arranging mandate (MEED 15:3:02). The first is made up of Citibank, Gulf International Bank, National Bank of Bahrainand Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp). The second includes BNP Paribas, HSBC Investment Bank, Bank of Bahrain & Kuwaitand potentially Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi. The third is made up of Arab Banking Corporation, Mizuho Financial Groupand Societe Generale. The fourth comprises Arab Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Credit Agricole Indosuezand ABN AMRO.

Attempts to expand the second bank group had failed to reach fruition as MEED went to press.

Another four banks were invited to participate. Some of them – such as Deutsche Bankand possibly JP Morgan Chase & Company– have decided not to bid, and the others are expected to try to join the transaction at a later stage.