Saudi Arabia to lead $300bn regional funding drive says S&P

Saudi Arabia accounts for half of the likely debt requirement of regional sovereign borrowers over the next three years, according to S&P. (Supplied)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Saudi Arabia to lead $300bn regional funding drive says S&P

  • GCC states have $300bn requirement
  • Bahrain and Qatar expected to rely on debt to plug deficits

LONDON: Gulf states will need to raise as much as $300 billion in funding over the next three years with the lion’s share going to Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.
High oil prices mean that the funding needs of Gulf borrowers are accumulating at a slower pace, S&P Global Ratings said in a report.
Still, GCC government net debt positions have significantly deteriorated since 2015 and now account for a much bigger proportion of fiscal revenue, the ratings agency said.
Saudi Arabia’s deficit alone accounts for about half of the Gulf states’ expected $300 billion financing needs — but as a proportion of overall GDP it is broadly in line with Abu Dhabi and Oman.
Rising interest rates and tighter financing conditions may present a challenge to some regional boomers according to S&P.
“Changes in domestic and international liquidity conditions could present challenges for sovereign issuance and tilt the financing balance toward assets from debt, or increase debt-servicing costs, as is particularly the case in Bahrain (where interest payments account for 23 percent of government revenue),” said S&P.
“We note that global liquidity is becoming scarcer and more expensive, while regional banking sector liquidity remains adequate.”
The rising cost of debt may mean that some regional governments will increasingly focus on asset sales.
Perceived regional geopoitical risk, most notably surrounding tensiions between Iran and Saudi Arabia along with its Gulf allies as well as the standoff between Qatar and some of its neighbors, could make some international investors wary of the region and demand a higher risk premium.
S&P expects debt issuance to account for some 70 percent of the $300 billion financing requirement of the Gulf states.
The ratings agency estimates that gross debt in the region has increased from an average of 14 percent of GDP at the end of 2014 to an estimated 38 percent of GDP by the end of 2018.
Bahrain and Qatar are expected to finance the vast majority of their deficits through debt, while Dubai and Abu Dhabi are likely to rely more on their assets.
S&P expects Bahrain’s net debt to have nearly tripled between 2015 and 2021 while Oman would slip into a net debt position in 2019.
Saudi Arabia’s net assets are forecast to have nearly halved to 65 percent of GDP by 2021.


Shareholders of India’s Jet Airways approve debt-for-equity swap

Updated 23 February 2019
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Shareholders of India’s Jet Airways approve debt-for-equity swap

  • The plan will mean the lenders will have a bigger holding than any other shareholder
  • Currently, Chairman Naresh Goyal owns a 51 percent stake in the company and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways owns 24 percent

MUMBAI: India’s Jet Airways said late on Friday that its shareholders approved a plan to convert existing debt to equity, paving the way for the troubled company’s lenders to infuse funds and nominate directors to its board.
Jet’s board last week approved a plan by lenders, led by State Bank of India, for an equity infusion, debt restructuring and the sale or sale-and-lease-back of aircraft.
The plan will mean the lenders will have a bigger holding than any other shareholder.
Currently, Chairman Naresh Goyal owns a 51 percent stake in the company and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways owns 24 percent.
Jet, which had net debt of 72.99 billion rupees ($1.03 billion) as of end-December, has debt payments looming next month, according to rating agency ICRA. It has been unable to pay pilots’ salaries and has outstanding bills to aircraft lessors.
The company, India’s biggest full-service carrier, is struggling with competition from budget rivals, high oil prices and a weaker rupee. The share price took a beating in 2018, losing nearly 70 percent of its value.
In a regulatory filing, Jet said on Friday that 98 percent of its shareholders voted to increase the share capital to 22 billion rupees ($309.8 million) from 2 billion rupees at a special meeting.
Jet, whose financial woes are set against the backdrop of wider aviation industry problems, has been in the red for four straight quarters.