After Gulf aid, Bahrain’s oil company tries again to tap debt markets

Nogaholding tried to raise international funds in April but the deal was delayed



Bahrain’s state-owned oil company plans to issue international bonds, in the first foray by a Bahraini entity into the international debt markets since the government got an aid package from its Gulf neighbours earlier this month.

Nogaholding, the investment arm of Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority, tried to raise international funds in April, but that deal was delayed, partly by emerging-market weakness and partly by investor doubt Bahrain could repay its debt.

The company has now hired banks to arrange a series of fixed-income investor meetings before a planned sale of six- and 10-year US dollar-denominated bonds, a document issued by one of the banks showed.

The government of Bahrain, hit hard by a slump in oil prices, has increasingly relied on external funding to refill its state coffers, but in March it had to cancel a planned sale of international conventional bonds as investors demanded higher yields.

An agreement signed earlier this month with Gulf allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for a $10bn aid package tied to fiscal reforms has averted the risk of a credit crunch.

Read: Bahrain to receive up to $2bn in first slice of Gulf aid

Nogaholding, rated BB-(minus) by Fitch, has mandated BNP Paribas, Citi and JPMorgan as coordinators and Bank ABC, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, National Bank of Bahrain, Société Générale and Standard Chartered Bank as joint lead managers for the planned transaction, the document said.

Company representatives will meet investors in London and the United States starting on October 26, according to the document seen on Wednesday.