Oman seeks $2bln bridge loan, says source confirming LPC

The Gulf state was in talks with banks earlier this year about funding options

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. General view of old Muscat the day after Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said was laid to rest in Muscat, Oman, January 12, 2020.

Image used for illustrative purpose. General view of old Muscat the day after Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said was laid to rest in Muscat, Oman, January 12, 2020.

REUTERS/Christopher Pike

DUBAI - Oman is seeking a $2 billion bridge loan from international and regional banks, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday, confirming a report by LPC, a fixed income news service owned by Refinitiv.

The Gulf state was in talks with banks earlier this year about funding options, including a loan of about $2 billion, but discussions were put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis and plunging oil prices, sources previously said.

Discussions had now resumed, sources said on Friday.

Oman sent a request for proposals to banks in June for a $2 billion loan with a one-year maturity, which would be replaced by a bond issue, one source familiar with the matter said, confirming the LPC report.

Banks were expected to submit proposals this week, the source added.

A second source said loan talks had resumed without giving details.

Oman's Finance Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Oman, a relatively small crude producer and burdened by high levels of debt, is more vulnerable to oil price swings than most of its wealthier Gulf neighbours. It was downgraded in June by Moody's further into junk territory to Ba3 from Ba2, with the ratings agency citing risks related to Oman's financing needs and its diminishing buffers.

( Reporting by Davide Barbuscia and Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Edmund Blair) ((maher.chmaytelli@thomsonreuters.com;))

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