* Plans benchmark-size bond as soon as April - sources
* No arrangers appointed yet
* Growing pipeline of Gulf bond issuers (Adds details, context, background)
By Archana Narayanan and David French
DUBAI, March 12 (Reuters) - Mubadala GE Capital is considering a return to the bond market as early as April as it seeks cash to fuel its lending business, sources aware of the matter said on Thursday, joining a growing number of Gulf-based borrowers looking at new fundraisings.
The joint venture between the Abu Dhabi state-owned fund and General Electric provides commercial lending, equipment leasing, distribution and vendor finance solutions among other services. It declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
Rated Baa2/A by Moody’s and Fitch respectively, Mubadala GE Capital has yet to appoint banks to arrange the bond, which will be of benchmark size -- normally understood to mean above $500 million.
Two of the sources said it was likely to pick arrangers from the group of banks which lent $750 million to the company in December 2013: Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, First Gulf Bank , HSBC, Natixis National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Royal Bank of Scotland.
The bond will be Mubadala GE Capital’s first since it sold a debut offering in November worth $500 million -- arranged by four of those lenders and Citigroup.
But it is likely to be part of a regular programme as the company does not have any customer deposits to support its lending, meaning it needs to fund itself by other means such as through loan or bond markets.
It also comes at a time when the pipeline of potential Gulf issuance is growing as borrowers want to garner funds from the dollar debt markets before a possible increase in interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this year.
“They want to return to the bond market in April as the cost of borrowing is still low,” said one senior banker of Mubadala GE’s plans.
Among the Gulf names recently completing deals or linked with upcoming offerings are Ras al-Khaimah, Emirates NBD , Islamic Development Bank and Sharjah Islamic Bank.
The April timing would also come after Mubadala GE Capital last week published its results for 2014 which included a 3.9 percent decline in net profit.
And if Mubadala GE Capital wants to sell debt to U.S. investors under the 144a regulations which permit such dealings, as opposed to just under the Regulation S rules which allow sales in most other parts of the world, the company must print before mid-May, said one of the sources. (Editing by Jason Neely, Greg Mahlich)