Financial advisers Citigroup had originally intended to launch the syndication in January, but postponed its plans while it sought a rating for the debt to bolster the attractiveness of the debt.
BNP Paribas, Calyon, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered will now begin syndicating the project’s $1.87bn 16-year term loan and $2.8bn equity bridge loan. The deal will include market flex conditions, which allows bookrunners to vary pricing on the deal to make it more attractive to banks looking to join the syndication, and indicates that the credit crunch is continuing to affect banking market sentiment.
Around 17 banks are acting as mandated lead arrangers. The debt was given an A3 and A- rating by Moody’s and Fitch respectively.