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

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

Kuwait’s Equate Petrochemical Co plans to issue 10- and 30-year US 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 percent on Tuesday from 2.8 percent 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 percent from 2.4 percent in the same period, Refinitiv data showed.

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

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