Omifco prepares to go to market

08 March 2002

General syndication of the debt package for Oman India Fertiliser Company (Omifco)was due to be launched by 8 March, bankers close to the deal say.

The total financing package is for $674 million, including $320 million-worth of export credits.

The commercial debt has door-to-door tenor of 11 and a half years and the export credits, provided by Italy's Sace and France's Coface, have tenor of about 13 and a half years.

The three lead arrangers - ANZ Investment Bank, Arab Banking Corporationand BNP Paribas- are thought to be aiming to hold about $50 million each of the transaction.

'The deal has had to be pretty carefully structured,' says one of the lead arranging bankers. 'Many potential participants in the transaction will be concerned by the Indian offtaker in the light of recent events.'

Another banker close to the deal points out that the offtaker risk has been exaggerated and is partly mitigated by the strong development of the international fertiliser market.

'This is not another Qafco[ Qatar Fertiliser Company] but equally it is not as problematic as some people have been saying,' says another of the lead arrangers.

Details of the pricing structure of the deal will not be released until the transaction goes to market, but one of the lead arrangers described it as: 'Priced to go.' Last year's Qafco IV borrowing raised $400 million of eight-and-a-half-year money with a margin of 75 basis points over Libor (MEED 13:7:01). The Omifco deal is expected to be priced considerably higher.

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