x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Aramco $4bn deal boosts Samba group

Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender, appears to be one of the major beneficiaries of the state-owned oil refinery company Aramco's renewal of a US$4 billion revolving credit facility, say analysts.

Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia's second-largest lender, appears to be one of the major beneficiaries of the state-owned oil refinery company Aramco's renewal of a US$4 billion revolving credit facility, say analysts.

The five-year facility replaced a credit line from 2006, according to Aramco. The facility includes a $2.5bn tranche in US dollars, of which $1bn is a 364-day facility, and a $1.5 billion equivalent in riyals.

While it is not clear what role individual banks played, analysts said it was likely that Samba was among the key lenders because it was one of the lead arrangers.

"Aramco would have been a transaction that every bank would have lent their maximum to," said Murad Ansari, an analyst based in Riyadh at EFG-Hermes. "By categorising the banks according to their balance sheets, Samba may have been among the key lenders among the local banks."

National Commercial Bank, a privately held bank and Saudi Arabia's largest, was the other lead arranger.

"Ultimately all the banks will be receiving fees for this facility. How they are categorised will ultimately point to the fee structure and who is getting the most," said Mr Ansari.

Lenders will receive an average margin of 16 basis points on the $3bn five-year part, and a margin of 13 basis points over benchmark rates on the $1bn one-year portion, according to Aramco. Money in revolving credit can be borrowed again once it has been repaid.

Banking stocks in Saudi Arabia added more than 1 per cent after the news was announced, while Samba shares made their biggest gain in more than three weeks. They closed trading at 58 riyals a share on the Saudi Tadawul exchange yesterday.

Saudi Arabia, which controls more than 20 per cent of the world's extractable crude deposits, also plans to spend almost $400bn in the next five years on infrastructure and other development projects, according to official estimates.

 

halsayegh@thenational.ae