Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank (GIB) has arranged a $50 million 7-year loan facility for Oman Cement Company to finance half the construction costs of a plant expansion planned by the company. The facility, which was priced at 75 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor), was signed in Muscat on 10 June a GIB statement says.

Six regional banks took part in the facility for the Omani company, which is listed in Muscat. Apart from GIB, the banks were Bank of Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, National Bank of Bahrain, Arab Bank and Commercial Bank of Oman. GIB is the commercial banking subsidiary of Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), which is owned by the six Gulf Arab states.

The $50 million value of the facility is too small to appeal to the international banks, which are active in lending to the big Gulf oil and infrastructure projects. However, there is a growing appetite for such relatively small-scale project lending.

‘For amounts below $100 million there is quite an appetite in the region,’ GIB’s assistant general manager Mohannad Farouky says.

‘We are pleased that this transaction was carried out by regional banks.’