Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC (MAF), a UAE conglomerate with interests in property, hospitality, leisure and retail group across the region, yesterday announced that it raised $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) through a club financing deal involving several banks.
The company opted for bank funding deal after it suspended its plans raise funds through a bond issue. MAF, set up a $2 billion bond programme in June. Had the bond issue succeeded, it would have been the first pure corporate bond issue from Dubai following the Dubai World crisis in 2009.
"The fact that a firm of MAF's status could not tap the bond market at appropriate pricing indicates the level of uncertainty in the global bond markets," said a fixed income analyst.
Commenting on the club deal, Daniele Vecchi, Treasurer of MAF Holding LLC, said: "We are happy with the level of interest in MAF's credit profile and the successful closure of this important deal in the banking market. It has helped to lengthen the average maturity of our debt."
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Vecchi said MAF has not abandoned its plans for a future bond issue.
"To strengthen our financial profile further, we will continue to focus on diversifying our sources of funds and tapping the bond market continues to be a priority," he said.
The uncertainty around the European debt crisis had impacted international demand and pricing of MAF's bond issue.
Fixed income industry sources said the price guidance on the proposed bond issue was far wider than Dubai sovereign issue which was priced 370 points over mid-swaps.
"It appears that there was big mismatch between the company's expectations and the market's pricing," said a source.
Many issuers including Abu Dhabi's Dolphin Energy and the Tourism Development Investment Co have recently delayed bond sales.
Banks such as Barclays Bank, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Emirates NBD Bank and Standard Chartered Bank were the Mandated Lead Arrangers.
Other participants include Union National Bank, Arab Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Samba Financial Group, Mashreq Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, National Bank of Kuwait and AK Bank.
The transaction, which was oversubscribed, consisted of two tranches — a three-year revolver facility and a five-year term loan.
The proceeds will be used for early refinancing of the $1 billion syndication maturing in July 2012, which is currently 50 per cent utilised, and also for building the company's liquidity buffer in line with its internal policies.
The margin on the revolver part is 250 basis points above the London interbank offered rate (Libor), while the term loan carries 275 basis points above the benchmark rate,