Exclusive: Aramco pipeline investors to refinance loans with bonds next year
By Yousef Saba and Saeed Azhar
DUBAI (Reuters) – EIG Global Energy Partners will lead a still-unknown consortium to issue billions of dollars in bonds through two or three transactions to replace bank debt backing an investment in Saudi Aramco’s oil pipeline assets, two sources said.
The Washington, DC-based company’s consortium will issue bonds to replace $ 10.5 billion in so-called base funding arranged by Aramco for potential suitors to take the 49% stake, the sources said.
The $ 12.4 billion deal, announced last Friday, gives the EIG-led group a stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines, which is entitled to 25 years of tariff payments for oil transported through the oil pipeline system. ‘Aramco which crosses the largest exporter of rough in the world.
The core funding backing the deal had a five-year maturity and an option for a one-year extension, the sources said.
The GIE will replace the full amount with long-term bonds on two or three bond deals, they said.
The first bond issue will likely take place in the first quarter of next year and the full refinancing will be done within two years, the sources said.
The equity portion of the $ 12.4 billion deal was $ 1.9 billion and the rest was core funding, one of the sources said.
The EIG is in talks to sell part of the equity part to investors, including the Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala, Chinese investors, pension funds in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as a small portion to US pension funds, the source added.
Mubadala said he was reviewing the deal.
EIG is a Washington, DC-based investment firm that has invested more than $ 34 billion in energy and energy infrastructure projects around the world.
EIG did not comment beyond its statement last week that the transaction is expected to close shortly, subject to customary closing conditions, including any required merger checks and associated regulatory approvals.
Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
HSBC was EIG’s financial advisor and Latham & Watkins was legal advisor, the statement said.
EIG has invested in a gas pipeline project with LNG producer Cheniere Energy, oil and gas producer Aethon Energy and last year took a majority stake in Limetree Bay Ventures, an oil refinery and terminal in the Caribbean.
The Aramco pipeline deal closely mirrors infrastructure deals signed over the past two years by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), which has raised billions of dollars through asset leasebacks. of gas pipelines and oil.
A consortium that took a stake in ADNOC’s gas pipelines also refinanced bank debt with bonds in two transactions in October and February.
(Reporting by Saeed Azhar and Yousef Saba; editing by David Evans)