Kuwait's KNPC mandates banks for ECA-backed club loan - sources

DUBAI, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Kuwait National Petroleum Co (KNPC) has selected 10 international banks to provide a loan facility of more than $4 billion to back its Clean Fuels project, banking sources said.

The loan, which has guarantees from various countries’ export credit agencies, is expected to include the participation of BBVA, BNP Paribas, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Credit Agricole CIB, HSBC, Mizuho, Natixis, Santander Group, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered, the sources said.

The participation of Santander and BBVA is highly likely, but must still be made official, the sources said.

KNPC was not immediately available to comment.

The debt facility is a club loan, which means it will not be syndicated to other banks, said the sources. NBK Capital has been working with the Kuwaiti company as financial adviser, while HSBC has coordinated the loan.

The state-owned refiner appointed the banks last week and completion of the financing is expected in the first quarter of 2017.

The South Korean, Dutch, British and Italian export credit agencies will provide backing to the facility, KNPC’s chief executive Mohammad Ghazi al-Mutairi told Reuters in October.

The Clean Fuels project will expand and upgrade two of Kuwait’s largest refineries to produce diesel and kerosene for export.

The project received a first tranche of financing in April this year, when it obtained a 1.2 billion dinar ($3.9 billion) loan led by National Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait Finance House. A group of 11 banks, including Islamic lenders, took part in that loan. (With additional reporting by Ahmed Hagagy; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Potter)