Bahrain-based Gulf International Bank (GIB) has been awarded the sole mandate to arrange a $110 million term loan for Kuwaitbased Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company (AMPTC). The facility is to be used to finance the acquisition of two new tankers and to refinance the purchase of another tanker on order.

The 10-year facility has been priced at 125 basis points over Libor, and will be launched to syndication in early October. Bankers expect a raft of international and regional financial institutions to participate and say the syndication is expected to be completed by mid-November.

The two new tankers are Aframax vessels and are under construction by South Korea’s Hyundai Corporation. The double-hulled units will have 105,000 dead weight tonnage, and are expected to be delivered in 2003.

Each of the ships will cost about $40 million.

The acquisition of the new tankers follows AMPTC’s sale earlier in the year of two older double-sided Aframax vessels to the US’ Blystad.

‘AMPTC is committed to maintaining a young fleet of high quality tankers, ‘ says an analyst. ‘The new acquisitions are part of this process and will also form part of the increased lifting capacity needed if OPEC moves to increase regional oil production.’

GIB has been an active participant in the regional shipping finance market and has previously arranged packages for Qatar Shipping Company and Dubai Shipping Company.