KUWAIT, (Reuters) – Qatar Telecommunications Co QTEL.QA (Qtel) said on Wednesday it planned to issue up to $5 billion in bonds partly to help refinance debts, including borrowings which will start maturing later this year.
The state-controlled company, which has about 30.4 billion riyals ($8.36 billion) in outstanding debts, said in a prospectus Qtel International Finance would issue bonds on its behalf in tranches, without giving details on the size.
State and corporate issuers in the oil-exporting Gulf region have raised more than $7 billion by issuing bonds in the second quarter — and are considering more sales this year as spreads narrow and demand rises for high-rated emerging market bonds.
“Notes will be issued in series. Each series may comprise one or more tranches issued on different issue dates,” Qtel said of its global medium-term note programme (GMTN).
“Net proceeds from each issue will be used by Qtel within the group for general corporate purposes, including, amongst other things, refinancing of existing indebtedness.”
Qtel said two loan facilities totalling $5 billion would mature in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the third quarter of 2012, Qtel said.
The company — with operations in Kuwait and other regional countries — named Royal Bank of Scotland as arranger for the notes, while Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas and QNB Capital were among dealers, it said.
Fitch Ratings assigned Qtel’s GMTN programme an A+ rating and Moody’s gave the issue a A1 rating.
The Qtel bond sales come after Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, and Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, raised $6 billion between them by issuing sovereign bonds in late March and early April.
Qtel said it had applied to list the bonds on the London Stock Exchange.