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Etisalat picks banks for bond issue

etisalatEtisalat has added four banks to the list of bookrunners for its potential debut bond, which could include dollar and euro-denominated paper of up to 12 years duration, banking sources said on Monday.

The mainly state-owned company added Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Morgan Stanley, National Bank Of Abu Dhabi and Natixis as passive bookrunners, three sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the information is not public.

They join Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and RBS, who are acting as the main bookrunners for the deal and were confirmed by the company last week.

Proceeds from the bond sale would be used to repay short-term debt under Etisalat’s 3.15 billion euro ($4.3 billion) multi-currency loan used to fund its purchase of Vivendi’s 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, finalised last month.

The banks acting as the main bookrunners take charge of running the bond sale to investors, with passive banks in a more advisory role. Sources had told Reuters last week that Etisalat could add passive bookrunners to the deal.

Etisalat, rated Aa3/AA-/A+ by the main credit rating agencies, began meeting fixed-income investors on Sunday in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and will head to Asia and Europe in the next few days. Final meetings are scheduled for London on June 9 and 10, at which point the maiden offering from Etisalat is expected.

The group is planning to split its potential bond deal into four separate sections across two different currencies, two separate sources briefed by the company told Reuters.

It may issue bonds of five and ten years duration denominated in U.S. dollars, as well as in euros with a lifespan of seven and 12 years, they said, also speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company confirmed last week it could issue bonds in dollars and/or euros. But its plans are subject to market conditions and so the structure of the deal could change by the time it finalizes the transaction.-Reuters