Oman set to close $600m loan for Omantel buy

Sources say Omani sovereign wealth fund is in final stages of loan syndication

Omani sovereign wealth fund Oman Investment Fund is about to complete syndication of a $600 million loan needed for the acquisition of the ministry of finance’s shares in Oman Telecommunications Co (Omantel), sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

The $600 million, five-year loan offers lenders a margin of 230 basis points over the London Interbank Offered Rate plus bank fees starting at 60 bps over Libor for the highest level of banks’ participation, the sources said.

Oman Investment Fund did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Citi is leading the transaction, joined at a senior level by Banca IMI, Kuwait Finance House and National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

The loan is in the final stages of syndication and should close in coming days, the sources said.

The sovereign fund would use the money to back the acquisition of a 51 percent stake in Omantel. A transfer of shares from the ministry of finance to the fund was announced in December last year.

The acquisition aims to improve efficiency and generate higher profitability for the company, said a source close to the matter. With the acquisition, the company would pass from an “absentee landlord to an active landlord”.

Omantel posted profits of 116.7 million rials ($303 million) in 2016, up from 48.5 million rials in 2015.

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