A 14-strong group of mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) has been appointed on the $400 million commercial debt package for the Sohar aromatics project, being developed by Oman Oil Company, Sohar Refinery Company and South Korea?s LG International. HSBCis acting as financial adviser (MEED 5:8:05).

The 12-year facility, which is being structured as a club deal to leave room for the financing of the Sohar aluminium smelter to proceed, was tightly priced. The margin starts at 75 basis points (bp) pre-completion ? without completion guarantees ? dropping to 60 bp, stepping back up to 70 bp and then to 80 bp.

Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim) is providing a direct loan of a similar amount, after the option of an export credits facility was dropped. Financial close is scheduled in November.

The planned aromatics plant will source naphtha feedstock from the Sohar refinery and will have capacity of 800,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of paraxylene and 210,000 t/y of benzene. Total project costs are estimated at about $1,100 million (MEED 5:8:05).