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.


Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

Updated 10 min 18 sec ago
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Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

  • It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level
  • Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage

NICOSIA: Egypt has signed a deal with a Cypriot firm to lay a 310-kilometer (195-mile) cable under the Mediterranean to export electricity to Europe, the company said on Thursday.
Nicosia-based EuroAfrica described the deal, worth an estimated two billion euros, as a “landmark.”
“Cyprus now becomes a major hub for the transmission of electricity from Africa to Europe,” said company chairman Ioannis Kasoulides.
It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level.
Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage.
“The national electricity grid of Egypt will be linked to the European electricity system through Cyprus and will contribute to energy security,” Kasoulides said.
Following the crises in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the EU has been keen to develop alternative sources of energy to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major new fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, and output is already sufficient to meet domestic needs.
The Arab world’s most populous country is now seeking to develop the infrastructure to export its newfound energy wealth, both as liquefied natural gas and as electricity.
Egypt is also seeking to import gas from fields off Cyprus and Israel to boost the profitability of the new liquefaction and export facilities it is developing on its Mediterranean coast.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build an undersea pipeline to pump Cypriot offshore gas to Egypt for processing for export to Europe.
The plans have led to closer eastern Mediterranean ties, with Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel holding regular high-level meetings.