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Abu Dhabi’s UNB may raise debt to repay $1B loan

UNB roadshows in Asia and Europe this week as its $1 billion loan matures in end of this year. Bank plans to open a branch in Kuwait this year.

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September 26, 2011 2:31 by



Abu Dhabi lender Union National Bank , may raise medium-term debt to partly repay a $1 billion term-loan maturing in December, its bond prospectus showed.

The bank, which held roadshows in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on Sunday for the potential benchmark dollar-bond issue, ahead of investor meets in Asia and Europe, is testing market appetite for regional debt amid a charged global economic backdrop.

UNB, jointly owned by the governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, signed a $1 billion syndicated five-year loan facility with regional and international banks in December 2006.

The syndication was done at a margin of 27.5 basis points over the three-month London interbank offered rate.

“This syndicated loan is due for repayment in December 2011, which the issuer intends to repay from its normal cash flows and/or may partly raise medium-term liabilities, should it be required based on suitable terms and market conditions,” the prospectus, dated Sept. 22, said.

Two bankers who attended the roadshows in Abu Dhabi said proceeds from any upcoming bond could be used to partly repay the December maturity.

The prospectus for the bank’s $3 billion bond programme states only that all proceeds are for general corporate purposes.

UNB was not available for comment.

The bond would be the first international issue from the Gulf Arab region since Abu Dhabi-based lender First Gulf Bank sold $650 million of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, end-July.

A pipeline of bond issues from the region has been held up by global volatility, in particular euro zone sovereign debt woes, leading borrowers to adopt a wait-and-see approach and to wonder about the eventual cost.

UNB also plans to open a branch in Kuwait this year, its second foray into Gulf Arab markets, according to the prospectus. It has received approval from the Central Bank of Kuwait.

Globally, UNB has a branch office at the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and a representative office in Shanghai. (By Stanley Carvalho; Additional reporting by David French; Editing by David Hulmes)



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