Saudi Ethylene & Polyethylene Company (SEPC) has signed a SR4.6bn ($1.23bn) nine-year refinancing deal with a group of local lenders.

The deal was completed on 31 December, just managing to meet the company’s aim to get the new funding in place before the start of its new accounting year.

“We have been working day and night on this since it launched in late November in order to get it all done this year,” says one banker involved in the deal.

The new funding replaces project finance debt from local and international banks, and two export credit agency facilities put in place in 2006, with a local currency corporate loan. Sources close to the deal say that SEPC and Tasnee Petrochemicals, one of the largest shareholders in SEPC, wanted to get a less restrictive funding arrangements in place now that the project was a fully operational company.

Bookrunners on the deal were local lenders Banque Saudi Fransi, Samba Bank and Sabb. Banks in the new loan are the three bookrunners, along with Riyad Bank and National Commercial Bank, Saudi Investment Bank, Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation (Apicorp) and Arab National Bank.

Pricing on the deal starts at 130 basis points above the Saudi interbank offered rate (Sibor), rising to150 basis points above Sibor.