March 24, 2020 / 7:28 AM / 15 days ago

Kuwait's Equate Petrochemical to issue first Gulf dollar bonds in over a month

DUBAI, March 24 (Reuters) - Kuwait’s Equate Petrochemical Co plans to issue 10- and 30-year U.S. dollar-denominated bonds and five-year sukuk, according to an investors’ note seen by Reuters, in what would be the first international debt issuance from the Gulf in more than a month.

The deal will be of benchmark size, which generally means at least $500 million per tranche.

Bond sales from the Gulf have faltered due to the coronavirus pandemic and a sharp fall in oil prices.

Some have been shelved, including sukuk, or Islamic bonds, planned by Dubai Islamic Bank.

Equate hired Citi, JPMorgan, KFH Capital, MUFG and NBK Capital to lead the deal. First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Mizuho and SMBC Nikko are also on the deal.

The banks are arranging a series of calls with global investors that began on Monday, to be followed by the three-tranche transaction, subject to market conditions.

The pandemic is also complicating bond roadshows.

“Someone was going to go first I guess!” a Dubai-based fund manager said. “Not the ideal industry - so that’s a bit of a surprise.”

The yield on Equate Petrochemical 10-year dollar bonds due in 2026 had climbed to 4.6% on Tuesday from 2.8% on March 6, when talks between OPEC and other oil producers over coordinated output cuts aimed at supporting crude prices collapsed.

The yield on its five-year dollar bonds due in 2022 jumped to 4.6% from 2.4% in the same period, Refinitiv data showed.

Equate Petrochemical is 85% owned by the Dow Chemical Company and Petrochemical Industries Company, a subsidiary of government-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

Reporting by Yousef Saba; editing by Jason Neely

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