DUBAI, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Bahrain’s government has hired banks for a planned U.S. dollar-denominated bond issue, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
BNP Paribas, Citi and JPMorgan have been mandated to arrange the transaction together with Gulf International Bank and National Bank of Bahrain, the sources said.
Bahrain’s central bank did not respond to a request for comment. Citi declined to comment. The other banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Bahrain could raise debt internationally as early as September through both conventional and Islamic bonds, sources told Reuters last month.
The size of the deal could go up to $2 billion or $2.5 billion, one banking source said on Tuesday.
Bahrain needs to raise debt to refill state coffers hit by a slump in oil prices. The small Gulf state raised $2 billion last October through a $1 billion conventional bond and a $1 billion sukuk issue. Bank ABC, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered arranged that deal.
Bahrain is rated BB-minus by Standard & Poor’s, B1 by Moody’s and BB+ by Fitch. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)