Qatar National Bank to raise $3.5 billion loan - sources

FILE PHOTO: Cars drive past the building of Qatar National Bank (QNB) in Doha, Qatar, June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar National Bank (QNB) QNBK.QA, the Gulf's biggest lender, plans to raise a $3.5 billion loan with a group of banks, said four sources familiar with the matter.

The planned transaction would refinance an existing $3.5 billion debt facility the bank raised in 2017 and which is due in December this year.

Two of the sources said HSBC will have a leading role in the deal. QNB did not immediately respond to a comment request while HSBC declined to comment.

The new loan will be split into two tranches with maturities of three and five years, said two of the sources. “It will be tightly priced, despite the progressive tenor,” added one of them.

HSBC, along with other banks, was caught up in Qatar’s dispute with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which in 2017 cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar accusing it of financing terrorism, a charge Doha denies.

The London-listed bank side-stepped high-profile Qatar deals in the aftermath of the diplomatic crisis and prioritised business in Saudi Arabia, where it has a strong presence, sources have previously told Reuters.

Last year, however, HSBC was hired by Qatari state-controlled port operator QTerminals to lead a $500 million loan, sources said at the time.

QNB’s $3.5 billion loan was one of the first such deals by a Qatari government-owned firm after the regional diplomatic crisis erupted.

The syndication comprised 21 international banks and the loan was fully underwritten by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and United Overseas Bank.

Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kirsten Donovan