‘There have been a few issues with some of the details: some lingering questions over project completion support, but nothing serious,’ says one of the lead arrangers.
The syndication of the 14-year, $647 million facility will be watched closely not only by the project’s sponsors and underwriters, but also by the regional financial community. While few question the high levels of liquidity in the regional market, there are some signs that appetite in the longer-tenor range might be more limited. In addition, if the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA – central bank) declines to grant permission to Saudi banks, the list of potential participants grows smaller.
‘If the Saudi banks come in it would be a bonus,’ says one of the lead arrangers. ‘We are not planning on it, but we are expecting to see more regional than international participation. With eight international banks on board there’s not much more to come from outside the region.’
The 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 (MEED 13:6:03).
GIB, HSBC and BNP Paribas are acting as joint bookrunners on the syndication. It is expected that tickets offered will range in size from $30 million down to $10 million and fees at the top end will be in the 100-110 basis point (bp) range (MEED 1:8:03). The margin on the commercial tranche has a step-up structure. Pre-completion pricing has been set at 90 basis points (bp) over Libor. The pricing in post-completion will start at 105 bp rising in four steps to 160 bp.
Bank of Americais acting as SRC’s financial adviser (MEED 18:4:03).