Oman agrees $2.2 billion loan with large group of banks

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Oman has raised $2.2 billion with a loan in a deal which attracted interest from a large group of regional and international lenders, sources said.

The Gulf state, rated sub-investment grade by all major credit rating agencies, had been working with a group of banks to raise a $1.1 billion loan, which could have gone up to $2 billion depending on market appetite, sources told Reuters in January.

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The deal was eventually completed at $2.2 billion last week, the sources said. Oman’s ministry of finance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Oman expects a 2021 budget deficit of 2.24 billion Omani rials ($5.82 billion). To make up the shortfall, the government aims to raise about 1.6 billion rials through borrowing and draw 600 million rials from its reserves.

It was the first Gulf government to tap the international bond markets this year, raising $3.25 billion in three-part bonds in January, taking advantage of positive market conditions to replenish state coffers battered by the coronavirus crisis.

The new loan has a 15-month maturity with the possibility to extend it by an additional 12 months at the borrower’s discretion, the sources said.

It attracted interest from more than a dozen international and regional lenders, which offered around $3 billion for the deal, one of the sources said.

Oman’s external debt maturing this and next year amounts to $10.7 billion, or about 7.5 percent of gross domestic product, S&P Global Ratings has said.

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