RIYADH, May 2 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Almarai aims to refinance its 1.7 billion riyals ($453.3 million) sukuk by the third quarter and has hired an international adviser to complete the process, its chief financial officer told Reuters.
If Almarai were to issue in a currency other than the riyal, it would be the first international debt sale for the Gulf’s largest dairy company. Almarai is still considering both local and international currency denominations, CFO Paul Gay said.
Its current five-year facility matures in September and is a local currency issue. Almarai is considering five, seven and ten years, and plans to keep the issue roughly the same size, he said on the sidelines of a business conference in Riyadh.
Gay declined to name the adviser hired for the issuance.
The company said in its 2017 annual report, released in April, that it was considering pursuing international financing options for the first time. Up until now it has relied exclusively on local Saudi banks and local sukuk issuances.
International debt would provide the firm access to a wider pool of funding options, broaden its investor base, enhance financing costs and allow it to obtain a longer tenor, the report said.
Banque Saudi Fransi, BNP Paribas, HSBC’s Saudi Arabian unit and Standard Chartered helped arrange the company’s previous issuance in 2013. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Editing by David Evans)