LONDON/DUBAI, June 6 (Reuters) - Zain Saudi Arabia, the country’s third-largest mobile operator, has mandated Al Rajhi Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Credit Agricole, Arab National Bank and Standard Chartered to lead the refinancing of its $2.5 billion Islamic syndicated loan that matures in July, bankers close to the deal said.
Saudi British Bank, National Bank of Kuwait and Gulf Bank are also expected to join the five-year facility, which includes different pricing for the U.S. dollar and Saudi riyal tranches.
Further syndication is unlikely, with the deal scheduled to sign by mid-July, the bankers added.
Pricing is below the 425 basis points (bps) margin on the original Murabaha loan from 2009 that backed the company’s network expansion, one banker said.
The original deal consisted of $775 million and 6.46 billion Saudi riyals ($1.72 billion) tranches, with bookrunners Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corp, Banque Saudi Fransi and Credit Agricole CIB.
Zain Saudi was not immediately available for comment.
The company, an affiliate of Kuwait’s Zain, extended the maturity for the original deal -- which was three years and four months -- by six months to 27 July in January and started eyeing the refinancing in February.
Meanwhile, Zain Saudi’s 6 billion riyal ($1.6 billion) rights issue is being underwritten by five banks, after the company received regulatory approval in May to cut its share capital to 4.8 billion riyals from 14 billion.
The telecoms operator posted an 11 percent decline in losses in January, bringing the firm’s accumulated losses to about 9.6 billion riyals, around two-thirds of the company’s 14 billion riyals of share capital. (Reporting by Michelle Meineke and David French in Dubai; additional reporting by Matt Smith; Editing by David Cowell)