‘We are aiming to raise around $400 million but we’ve been swamped,’ says a banker at one of the lead arranging institutions. ‘And it’s a pretty healthy combination of regional and local players wanting to get in on the deal. In fact, this is the first deal since 11 September which suggests the international bank market has really come back.’
Commitments of $590 million had been made as MEED went to press and bankers say a few stragglers might yet join the deal. ‘There might be a little more to come,’ says another lead arranging banker. ‘But we are aiming to get the documentation signed by mid March.’
HSBC, Mizuho Financial Groupand ANZ Investment Bankled the international syndication with Gulf International Bank and Arab Banking Corporationhandling much of the regional work. Another eight regional and international banks made up the 13-strong lead arranging group. Citibankacted as Oman LNG’s adviser on the deal.
‘The only thought at the back of some minds is that the syndication has gone so well it might have sucked a little too much liquidity out of the market for future Omani project finance deals,’ says a third banker involved in the deal. ‘There are a string of projects queuing up to come to market – Omifco [Oman India Fertiliser Company], the Sohar refinery, the Bahwan project, etc – and they might be worrying a little about future appetite.’