Sohar refinery debt successfully signed

19 December 2003
The project documents for Sohar Refinery Company (SRC)were signed in Muscat on 14 December and the financing documents were signed in London on 17 December.

The financing was marked by a particularly successful general syndication of the commercial debt (MEED 14:11:03). Commitments of about $630 million were raised from a broad array of regional and international banks.

'The syndication flew because the deal was perfectly timed and well structured,' says one of the lead arrangers. 'But the interesting thing to note is that some of the international banks that have been out of the market for some time came into this deal. It will be interesting to see if this is the start of a new trend or just a one-off, deal-specific reaction.'

The financing package had three tranches. The largest was a $645.9 million, 14-year commercial tranche with a 10-strong lead arranging group. BNP Paribas, Gulf International Bankand HSBCwere the bookrunners and the other lead arrangers were Arab Bank, ANZ Investment Bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Credit Agricole Indosuez, Mizuho Financial Group, Societe Generaleand Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporation. The commercial tranche has a step-up structure. Pre-completion pricing was 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.

The two other components have a Japanese flavour. Japan Bank for International Co-operation has extended a $261.9 million loan and a further $261.6 million tranche has come from the mandated lead arrangers, which have been joined by Standard Chartered Bank, and has 95 per cent political and commercial risk cover from Nippon Export & Investment Insurance (Nexi).

Bank of Americais acting as SRC's financial adviser (MEED 18:4:03).

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