NBAD eyes 5-year dollar bond, may price Monday

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By Rachna Uppal / Reuters

DUBAI: National Bank of Abu Dhabi is eyeing a return to global debt markets with a five-year dollar bond which could raise up to $750 million and may price as early as Monday.

The lender is targeting a maximum deal size of $750 million at slightly tighter guidance of 195 basis points over midswaps, lead arrangers said, but final pricing could fall between 190 to 200 bps.

Initial guidance for the bond, which would be issued under the bank’s $5 billion program, was 200 basis points over midswaps.

NBAD, 70.5 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government and the largest bank by market value in the United Arab Emirates, held investor meetings in Switzerland and Britain in February.

The lender issued $20 million in a private placement in September at 4.8 percent, but Chief Executive Michael Tomalin has repeatedly said NBAD would jump back into global debt markets if a window opens up.

Earlier this year, NBAD’s Qatari counterpart, Qatar National Bank priced a five-year $1 billion at a spread of 235 basis points over midswaps, for a very similar rated credit.

Traders expected pricing on NBAD’s bond to tighten further ahead of launch.

“On paper, they (NBAD and QNB) are very similar, but ground realities differ, and investors perceive Abu Dhabi and Qatar differently,” said one regional fixed income trader.

Another trader earlier said NBAD was a very safe name in the market, and pricing “may even get tighter.”

Barclays, HSBC, UBS, and NBAD itself are bookrunners on the latest deal.

Regional issuers will be buoyed by improving market sentiment concerning the euro zone debt crisis as well as strong investor demand for top-rated Gulf paper demonstrated by previous issues this year.

Abu Dhabi’s five-year credit default swaps, or the cost to insure against default, stood at around 118 basis points levels on Friday from nearly 130 basis points at the beginning of the month, according to Thomson Reuters data.


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