June 4, 2018 / 2:04 PM / a year ago

Oman’s Bank Sohar hires banks for $250 mln syndicated loan - sources

DUBAI, June 4 (Reuters) - Bank Sohar, Oman’s fourth largest bank by assets, is seeking to raise $250 million through a syndicated loan after recently completing a $300 million debt facility, banking sources said.

The bank has hired Bank ABC and Emirates NBD to lead the new transaction, which has a three-year maturity and offers a margin of 190 basis points over the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), said the sources.

The Omani lender, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, said in March it had closed a $300 million syndicated loan for general funding purposes.

A total of 14 banks participated in that loan, which was initially underwritten and pre-funded by Bank ABC and Commerzbank.

Omani entities, and the government itself, have increasingly relied on external funding after the state’s finances were hit by a slump in oil prices.

The Omani utility Electricity Holding Co. has recently approached banks to advise it on a capital programme worth around $1.2 billion, sources told Reuters last week.

Listed on the Omani stock exchange, Bank Sohar is majority owned by the government of Oman, which has a 61.29 percent share in the bank held directly and indirectly through public entities.

The bank is rated BB+ by Fitch, which last month affirmed its rating. In a statement, the agency said the lender was a “domestic systemically important bank” and that Oman had the “financial flexibility to support its banking system despite it weakening as a result of lower oil prices.” (Editing by Mark Potter)

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