Oman signs $3.55 billion loan with Chinese lenders

The fundraising brings to over $10 billion Oman’s external borrowing in 2017. Above, the Omani capital of Muscat. (Reuters)
Updated 03 August 2017
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Oman signs $3.55 billion loan with Chinese lenders

DUBAI: Oman has raised $3.55 billion (SR13.31 billion) through a loan from a group of Chinese financial institutions, the latest fundraising by the sultanate, which has borrowed over $10 billion this year to replenish coffers hit hard by lower oil prices.
Oman signed the senior unsecured term loan, with a five-year maturity, on July 11, the finance ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The loan saw strong interest from “leading Chinese banks,” it said, without naming the financial institutions.
The transaction — the largest ever for a regional borrower in the Chinese market — was increased from an initial target of $2 billion because of the strong interest received.
“With this loan we have successfully completed the financing requirements for the expected 2017 fiscal deficit, and also been able to meet the refinancing needs in relation to some of the loan installments that fell due during the year,” said the Omani undersecretary of the ministry of finance Nasser Khamis Al-Jashmi.
The loan, arranged by the country’s newly established debt management office, part of the ministry of finance, was targeted exclusively at Chinese lenders and “introduced a new pool of investors to the Sultanate of Oman,” the statement said.
The fundraising brings to over $10 billion Oman’s external borrowing in 2017. The government issued a $5 billion multi-tranche bond and a $2 billion sukuk, or Islamic bond, earlier this year.
Oman, which according to Moody’s is likely to miss its budgetary targets in 2017 for the second year in a row, is also in early stage talks for additional loan and bond financing options, sources told Reuters this week.


Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

Updated 20 July 2018
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Potential SABIC deal would affect Saudi Aramco IPO time frame, says CEO Nasser

JEDDAH: A potential deal to buy a stake in petrochemical maker SABIC would affect the time frame of Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO), the oil firm's president and CEO Amin H. Nasser said Friday. 

The IPO of around 5 percent of Aramco, which was initially to take place this year but is now more likely to happen later, would be the world's biggest listing, raising up to $100 billion.

Nasser said that buying a stake in a chemical company like SABIC would positively affect Aramco's revenue, Al Arabiya reported.

“We are still in the very early stages of the discussion to buy a stake in SABIC,” the Aramco CEO said.

“Aramco is ready for the initial offer and the timing remains subject to the state's decision.”

Saudi Aramco said on Thursday it is looking at the possibility of buying a stake in SABIC, a move that could boost the state oil giant’s market valuation ahead of the planned IPO.
Aramco said in a statement that it was in “very early-stage discussions” with the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to acquire the stake in SABIC via a private transaction. It has no plans to acquire any publicly held shares, it said.
In a separate statement, PIF also said talks about a sale were in early stages. “There is a possibility that no agreement will be reached in relation to this potential transaction,” it said.