Saudi Arabia’s PIF clinches $15bn credit line

Special Saudi Arabia’s PIF clinches $15bn credit line
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Updated 11 March 2021

Saudi Arabia’s PIF clinches $15bn credit line

Saudi Arabia’s PIF clinches $15bn credit line
  • 17 banks involved in deal
  • Started to raise bank debt in 2018

DUBAI: The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s premier investing institution, has arranged a $15 billion credit facility with a group of international banks as it seeks greater financial flexibility in its role as the main agency of the Kingdom’s economic transformation.

The sovereign wealth fund announced the facility on Wednesday after negotiations with international financial institutions. The amount raised is bigger than initial reports indicated late last year.

“PIF has signed a $15bn multi currency revolving credit facility with a group of 17 leading global financial institutions from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the UK and the USA,” a statement from PIF said.

“The multi currency revolving facility reflects PIF’s prudent asset-liability management and flexibility, and forms part of its diverse and sustainable funding strategy within the Vision Realization Programs (VRP),” it added.

The Saudi government recently announced details of the second VRP running for a five-year term until 2025, designed to accelerate the diversification of the Kingdom’s economy away from oil dependency.

Under the program, PIF has pledged to inject $40 billion a year into the Saudi economy to generate jobs and stimulate private-sector activity in Saudi Arabia.

A revolving facility allows the borrower to draw down and repay parts of the facility during the duration of the loan arrangement. There was no timescale given for the facility, but reports suggested it would run for four years.

“The facility provides PIF with access to additional capital that can be deployed at speed when convenient,” the PIF said.

“PIF continues to act as a partner of choice globally, and will continue to drive the economic diversification of Saudi Arabia, investing SAR150bn ($40 billion) into the domestic economy per year,” it added.

In addition to borrowing on international financial markets, PIF receives grants from the Saudi government, dividends from its quoted investments and proceeds on asset realizations and transactions as its principal sources of funding.

In the course of the pandemic, during disruptions to the international financial markets, it took advantage of low prices to buy and sell shares in quoted companies and other securities on global stock markets.

The $15 billion facility is PIF’s third foray into global borrowing. Last year, it repaid a $10 billion syndicated loan ahead of schedule after it completed the sale of its stake in SABIC to Saudi Aramco, and in 2018 it raised an $11 billion term-loan facility from international banks.

PIF, currently with $400 billion of assets under management, plans to grow its value to more than $1 trillion by 2025.