Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Steel Industries (ESI) has delayed the deadline for banks to respond to the request to fund a $1.5bn project finance deal.

When the deal, which is for the company’s steel plant at Mussafah, was first launched in late April, banks were given until 16 May to respond with indications of how much they would prepared to lend to the project. That deadline has now been extended to late May, according to several banks looking at the project.

Although the deadline extension is in response to some banks requesting it, several banks contacted by MEED say they had already responded to the funding invitation by 23 May.

The funding is split between a $500m commercial loan, a $500m Islamic finance tranche, and a similarly sized working capital facility. The financial advisers on the deal, France’s Natixis, are also trying to raise a $500m loan for General Holding Corporation (GHC), the parent company of Emirates Steel Industries.

Only UAE Islamic banks have been invited to fund the Islamic tranche, which the $500m is likely to be mainly provided in dirhams. International banks have only been invited to fund the General Holding Corporation loan, although some are understood to be keen to participate in the direct project loans.

The proceeds will fund the expansion of the Emirates Steel Industries plant at Taweelah and the deal is expected to be closed by the end of July.