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UAE’s Bank of Sharjah Plans To Refinance $200m Loan In Q1 2015

UAE’s Bank of Sharjah Plans To Refinance $200m Loan In Q1 2015

The bank is yet to decide whether to raise the amount to $250 million and whether to extend the tenor on the new facility to three or four years.

Bank of Sharjah plans to refinance a $200 million two-year loan maturing next year, said the lender’s executive director, as the United Arab Emirates bank hopes to benefit from lower borrowing costs.

The refinancing should be completed in the first quarter of next year, with the bank still to decide whether to raise the amount to $250 million and whether to extend the tenor on the new facility to three or four years, Varouj Nerguizian, executive director and general manager, told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.

“We have a network of friendly banks that already have contacted us saying if you want to renew it we will,” he said.

“We are long in dirhams, short in dollars that’s why we do the syndication.”

Borrowers in the UAE have been using improved market sentiment towards the country and the high amount of cash in the local banking system to lower their borrowing costs.

Bank of Sharjah previously refinanced the loan in August 2013, with the facility priced at 125 basis points over the relevant benchmark – a 25 basis point discount to the previous facility, it said at the time. National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Commerzbank, First Gulf Bank and Wells Fargo provided the loan.

Profit growth for the bank was expected to pick up next year as provision levels eased, said Nerguizian.

The lender reported net profit of Dhs117.6 million($32 million) in the third quarter of the year, broadly flat from the same period a year ago. It contrasts with generally buoyant growth across the banking sector as lenders benefit from an improving domestic economy.

“We have been forced to provide more than necessary but I think we are out of that,” he said. “Next year we will see higher profits.”

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