Although a small number of Saudi banks have responded, the response from international banks has been limited.

The $2.3bn deal for a phosphate mine and fertiliser project at Ras al-Zour is now expected to close by mid-April after an initial deadline for responses from banks passed earlier in the month.

The project is still expected to secure enough finance to proceed.

Banks were invited to provide a minimum of $100m, with pricing starting at 60 basis points above the London interbank offered rate (Libor) and rising to more than 100 basis points after construction is completed. Most deals in the current market are priced at close to 100 basis points or above.

Several banks responded with bids of just $50m, while others declined to offer any finance.

Despite being unhappy with the pricing, local banks are eager to maintain their relationship with Sabic. “Most banks in Saudi Arabia are not too hot on the deal but feel there is a lot at risk from being out of it,” says one Saudi banker.

Sabb, Saudi Investment Bank and Arab National Bank have made commitments, or are expected to confirm them shortly.

The arranging banks are Al-Rajhi, Riyad Bank, Samba and Banque Saudi Fransi, with Calyon, Mizuho and Standard Chartered Bank also involved.