Qatar-based telecoms operator Ooredoo has signed a $1bn loan facility with a group of local and international lenders and it is also meeting fixed-income investors for a potential bond issue, the company has said.
The general business purpose revolving credit loan will be partly used to refinancing Ooredoo debt maturing in March 2017, it said in a statement to Qatar Exchange, where its shares are traded.
The loan, which has a lifespan of six years was extended by Qatar National Bank (QNB), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Citi, DBS, HSBC, and Mizuho, according to the stock exchange filing.
The telecom operator is also looking to tap the international debt market through the sale of a US Dollar-denominated bond under its $5bn global medium term notes programme, the company said in a separate bourse filing.
It named the same group of banks as the arrangers of investor meetings, which commenced on 10 June in the US, Asia, Middle East and Europe, ahead of the potential bond issue. The transaction will be subject to market conditions, Ooredoo, which is rated A2 by Moodys, A- by S&P and A+ by Fitch, said in the statement.
The company is the latest among GCC corporate and sovereign issuers who are lining up to tap debt capital markets ahead of a possible interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve.
Oman is the latest among the Gulf states, which secured $2.5bn through a dual tranche bond last week, while Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy is looking to appoint banks to raise as much as $15bn from its debut international bond.
On the corporate side Emaar Properties, the biggest-listed property developer in the UAE is mulling the sale of bond in the second half of this year. Dubais Noor Bank has already successfully launched its $500m debut capital-boosting bond, the UAEs Emirates Islamic bank has sold a $750m sukuk (Islamic bond), and Qatars Barwa Real Estate signed $1.13bn-worth of financing agreements with a local lender in May. Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has secured a $900m loan in recent weeks. Two Dubai financiers, including Emirates NBD, are also in talks with lenders to raise a total of $1.7bn in financing.