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Wed 8 Aug 2012 05:00 PM

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Qatar's QNB signs expanded $1.8bn loan

Gulf state's largest lender expands loan after attracting strong demand from banks

Qatar's QNB signs expanded $1.8bn loan

Qatar National Bank (QNB), the Gulf Arab state's largest lender, signed a $1.8bn, three-year loan which was expanded from its original amount after attracting strong demand from banks during a marketing period, it said on Wednesday.

Originally $1.5bn but increased after it was oversubscribed during the syndication period, the loan saw 10 banks join the five original bookrunners on the deal, a source with knowledge of the matter said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the information isn't public.

The significant interest in the facility from banks comes despite the loan paying a margin of just 1 percent over the London interbank offered rate (Libor) per annum, a figure which would be below the cost of funding for many banks on the deal.

"It's very much a relationship deal and the people who have come in either have or want to build a relationship with QNB," said a separate source, a London-based banker.

The loan was initially marketed by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered, who all originally pledged to contribute $300m each.

Their commitments have been scaled back following the syndication, the source with knowledge of the deal said.

The transaction was launched to other banks in June, sources told Reuters at the time, and would replace an existing $1.85bn facility maturing on July 22.

Those joining the deal are Bank of China, DBS Bank, Mizuho, National Bank of Abu Dhabi , Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Bank of New York Mellon, Barclays, Citi, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp and Commercial Bank of Qatar, the source added.

Most bank fundraisings in the Gulf this year have come in the bond market because regional financial institutions have tried to take advantage of historically low interest rates to diversify away from bank credit lines and secure longer-term funding.

QNB itself priced a $1bn five-year bond in February.

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