Sohar refinery debt launched to syndication

10 October 2003
Syndication was launched on 3 October for the commercial debt package on the Sohar refinery project. Tickets of $35 million are being offered with fees of 110 basis points (bp) on the 14-year, $647 million facility. Roadshows will be held in Muscat on 13 October and in London three days later. Commitments are due by 3 November and completion of the documentation review is scheduled for 17 November. The borrower is Sohar Refinery Company(MEED 13:6:03).

The syndication is likely to appeal mainly to regional banks as eight international banks came on board at the lead arranging stage. The 10 lead arrangers are Arab Bank, ANZ Investment Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole Indosuez, Gulf International Bank (GIB), HSBC, Mizuho Financial Group,Societe Generaleand Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporation.

'The fees appear generous but reflect the tight margin,' says one of the lead arrangers. 'There is also the danger that so many banks have joined the deal as lead arrangers, there may not be much appetite left at syndication, especially given the tenor of the loan.'

GIB, HSBC and BNP Paribas are acting as joint bookrunners on the syndication. Bank of America is the financial adviser (MEED 18:4:03). The remainder of the debt comprises a $261 million Japanese export credits tranche and a $261 million loan from Japan Bank for International Co-operation. Japan's JGC is the main contractor for the refinery (see Oil & Gas).

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