Omantel, Oman’s majority state-owned telecommunications company, last year completed a USD2.25bn acquisition of shares in Zain Group, a regional competitor. The deal was funded with a bridge loan that was later refinanced with a term loan and the largest corporate bond issued out of the country – a dual-tranche senior secured offering which attracted a wide group of investors from around the world, including Europe, Asia and the US. We speak with Narayanan Seshan, General Manager of the Treasury at Omantel, about this deal and other “funky” financing structures emerging in the region.
The GCC is rarely known for doing anything in half-measures, and infrastructure projects – which have grown in number and size in recent years – are no exception.
Mohammed Khnifer, Senior Associate, Debt Capital Markets at the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), spoke to Bonds & Loans about Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector, the upcoming inclusion of Saudi debt in the JP Morgan indices, and the development of regulation within the country.
The outlook for GCC credit remains buoyant through the remainder of the year despite a brief lull through the summer months. Still, deeper and more frequent questions about the structural challenges faced by many of the GCC economies suggest more uncertainty lies ahead in the longer term, according to bankers, borrowers, investors and economists who spoke with Bonds & Loans on a recent research trip to the region.
This year’s Bonds, Loans & Sukuk Middle East Awards saw no shortage of firsts as the regions borrowers and finance professionals pushed the boundaries of the possible through new structures and techniques in a range of transactions.
The United Arab Emirates among other GCC nations has set its sights on the cultivation of a well-diversified, mature economy built on strong, sustainable, globally-integrated businesses. For many borrowers looking to get in front of the trend, the shift will entail a radical transformation in corporate culture and approach to funding.
The last few months have seen a spate of bond issuances from within Saudi Arabia, marking an upsurge in the frequency of borrowing in the country since the 2014 oil price crash. Yet on the whole sovereign issuance appears to be falling, as ambitious economic reforms begin to address the country’s economic imbalances.
When a UAE and Saudi-led diplomatic and economic blockade on Qatar was first announced in June 2017, many economists were concerned about the Gulf country’s ability to absorb the shock of being cut-off from key trading partners. In an odd twist of fate, the move led to an acceleration in Doha’s drive for economic self-sufficiency that became a boon for some of the country’s key domestic sectors – food and agricultural businesses among them. Bonds & Loans speaks with Peter Weltevreden, CEO at Baladna, one of the country’s largest dairy producers, about how the blockade has accelerated its corporate development plans in the run-up to a highly anticipated 2019 initial public offering.
26 Oct 2018
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has over the past year inked a number of landmark – and in some cases pioneering – transactions, part of a bold new strategy aimed at expanding and enhancing the company’s global position. We speak with one of the architects of the funding strategy behind it, Michele Fiorentino, Chief Investment Officer at ADNOC.
Franklin Templeton’s Senior Research Analyst Franck Nowak concedes that some optimism has faded over the past quarter, especially as Fed hikes look inevitable and EM jitters have settled in, but underscores the fact that GCC bonds are performing still well and project finance is expected to drive the deal pipeline for the region in 2018.
- CASE STUDY: ACWA Power Teams Up with ICBC on Egypt’s Benban USD185mn Structured Loan
- Orpic Treasurer: Addressing capital structure imbalances created by aggressive growth
- CASE STUDY: Omantel Launches Largest Corporate Bond from Oman to Finance Zain Purchase
- Abraaj Collapse Reverberates Through GCC Private Equity Markets
- Metito CFO: “Managing exposure to EM investments under the IFRS 9 ECL model is a challenge in GCC”
11 Dec 2018