Qatar National Bank secures $3.5 bln syndicated loan

A man walks past the Qatar National Bank (QNB) branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, following a severing of relations between major gulf states. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 07 February 2018
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Qatar National Bank secures $3.5 bln syndicated loan

DUBAI: Qatar National Bank said on Wednesday it had secured a $3.5 billion three-year syndicated loan for general corporate purposes, one of the first such deals by a Qatari government-owned firm since a regional diplomatic crisis erupted.
The syndication, which comprised 21 international banks, comes as QNB seeks to secure new funding lines.
QNB said it had already repaid in full an earlier $3 bln syndicated loan. That facility, which matured this year, was originally signed in 2015.
The loan to refinance the previous debt was increased to $3.5 billion due to strong demand from the market, it said.
The deal was “a reflection of the strong demand by the top tier global banks that want to continue to partner with QNB,” said chief executive Ali Al-Kuwari.
QNB said the loan was fully underwritten by: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and United Overseas Bank.
HSBC, which was one of the mandated lead arrangers in the 2015 loan, was not among the underwriters this time. It has also turned down a leading role in Qatar’s new dollar bond, sources familiar with the decision told Reuters.
International banks are treading cautiously in order to maintain relations with both sides following June’s diplomatic rift, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar.
Regional power Saudi Arabia is opening up to foreign investors as part of ambitious economic reforms driven by its new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, including the sale of a stake in oil giant Aramco. Its IPO could be worth $100 billion.
QNB has recently used various types of debt instruments, including Kangaroo and Formosa bonds, to refill its coffers in an effort to diversify funding resources amid the embargo imposed on Qatar by other Arab states.
The bank also recently priced a private note of $1 bln, which sources told Reuters this week that Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In addition, is raised $1.38 billion through a privately placed bond, a QNB spokesperson said on Tuesday.


Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

Updated 24 March 2019
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Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

  • The initiative will help Abu Dhabi reduce reliance on oil
  • Mubadala hopes to attract Chinese and Indian companies

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi will commit up to $272 million to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

US tech giant Microsoft will be a strategic partner, providing technology and cloud services to the businesses that join the hub as the capital of the United Arab Emirates continues its push to reduce reliance on oil revenue.
Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.
The emirate launched a $13.6 billion stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic. The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a $136 million fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.
The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.
Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.
Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.
Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.
Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the $272 million commitment, Ajami said.
Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.