Saudi Arabia raises $12.5bn in new bond sale

The Kingdom is pursuing many economic and social reforms, and this week said it will end a ban on women driving. (Reuters)
Updated 29 September 2017
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Saudi Arabia raises $12.5bn in new bond sale

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday announced it had undertaken another multibillion-dollar bond sale to finance a persistent budget deficit left by low oil prices.
The world’s top crude oil exporter raised $12.5 billion in its third international bond issue, the Finance Ministry said.
It comes as Saudi Arabia pursues economic and social reforms including this week’s announcement that it will end a ban on women driving.
The Kingdom has already undertaken three “sukuk” Islamic bond issues this year — including one international sale — totalling around $15 billion.
Last year it raised $17.5 billion in its first global bond issue — the largest ever by a single country. Previously it had sold domestic bonds.
The latest issue was heavily oversubscribed with orders worth $40 billion, according to the Finance Ministry.
A slump in global oil prices resulted in massive budget shortfalls in 2014.
Saudi Arabia has posted a budget deficit in each of the past three years and is headed for a fourth year in the red in 2017.
The Kingdom’s deficit topped $200 billion from 2014 to 2016, and it is forecast to post a $53 billion shortfall this year.
Riyadh has also withdrawn more than $230 billion from its fiscal reserves since the end of 2014 to finance the budget deficit. Its reserves now stand at just over $490 billion.
Economic growth in Saudi Arabia is expected to hit just 0.1 percent this year, the weakest since 2009, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The Kingdom is due to introduce its first value-added tax (VAT) in early 2018 and is preparing to sell just under five percent of energy giant Aramco next year.


Etihad proposes to invest in Jet Airways at 49% discount

Updated 16 January 2019
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Etihad proposes to invest in Jet Airways at 49% discount

  • The 25-year-old Indian airline has been roiled by financial difficulties, racking up a pile of dues to pilots, lessors and vendors
  • Jet will not be able to continue funding operations beyond the next week and Etihad is willing to inject $35 million if some conditions are met

Etihad Airways has offered to pick up shares of debt-laden Indian carrier Jet Airways Ltd. at a 49 percent discount and to immediately release $35 million after certain conditions are met, CNBC-TV18 reported on Wednesday.
Shares of Jet Airways, in which Etihad already owns a 24 percent stake, tumbled as much as 7.5 percent to 271.75 rupees ($3.83) in their biggest intraday drop since early December.
The Abu Dhabi carrier has offered 150 rupees for each Jet share, CNBC-TV18 said, citing a letter from Etihad’s CEO.
Tony Douglas has written to the State Bank of India (SBI) , Jet’s biggest lender, on the restructuring plan for the Indian airline, the report added.
The 25-year-old Indian airline has been roiled by financial difficulties, racking up a pile of dues to pilots, lessors and vendors, at a time when intense pricing competition, a weak rupee and rising fuel costs are weighing on the broader airline sector in the country.
Jet will not be able to continue funding operations beyond the next week and Etihad is willing to inject $35 million if some conditions are met, the CNBC-TV18 report cited Douglas as saying in his letter.
Jet and Etihad representatives are due to meet in Mumbai with lenders, led by SBI, on Wednesday to discuss the restructuring proposal that involves Etihad increasing its stake, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Etihad wants Jet’s founder and Chairman, 69-year-old Naresh Goyal to step down from the board and his stake to be slashed to 22 percent from 51 percent, according to CNBC-TV18.
Goyal’s penchant for control, according to people who have worked with him, has emerged as a major obstacle as the airline tries to negotiate a rescue deal, Reuters reported last month.
Etihad is also seeking an exemption from the market regulator on preference pricing and open offer guidelines to invest more for the bailout, the report added.
Under India’s capital markets regulations, Etihad is required to make an open offer to shareholders for a majority of the shares once its stake goes past 25 percent, unless it obtains a rare exemption from the market regulator.
India Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey on Wednesday told reporters that the aviation ministry had not yet received an official request from Jet and Etihad for an exemption from an open offer.
Jet and Etihad were not immediately available for comment.