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Fri 14 Dec 2012 10:11 AM

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Abu Dhabi's TAQA signs $2.5bn loan

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company inks syndicated finance deal with 10 banks

Abu Dhabi's TAQA signs $2.5bn loan
Taqa CEO Carl Sheldon. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) has signed a $2.5bn syndicated loan after launching the deal at $2bn in October, the 10 arranging banks have said in a statement.

The deal is a boost for international banks hungering for business after Middle Eastern syndicated loan volumes plunged to an eight-year low of $35bn this year as many regional borrowers turned to cash-rich local lenders, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.

The 10 initial mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners - Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas, Citi, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Royal Bank of Scotland, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation - committed $200 million each in October.

Sixteen additional banks joined the deal in syndication, from the Middle East, Europe and Asia, the arrangers said.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ acted as coordinating bank, facility and documentation agent.

The dual-tranche facility, which will be used for refinancing and corporate purposes, was split between a $1.2bn, three-year tranche and a $1.3bn, five-year tranche. TAQA has the ability to draw the financing in euros, sterling and Canadian dollars as well as US dollars.

TAQA is 75 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government and boasts a strong credit rating of A/A3 by Standard and Poor's and Moody's respectively.

The company's reputation among international banks was demonstrated in October when the company asked lenders to swallow pricing that many agreed was very competitive, at 75 basis point (bps) over LIBOR for the three-year facility and 100 bps on the five-year facility, bankers said previously.

The pricing marks a steep reduction on the margins that TAQA paid on the previous deal in 2010. Split between a $1bn, three-year tranche and a $2bn, five-year tranche, that deal paid margins of 100 bps and 200 bps, respectively.

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