Posted on : Mon, 22 Feb 2010

Doha, Qatar – February 22, 2010: QNB (Qatar National Bank), Qatar’s leading banking institution, served as the Mandated Lead Arranger and Coordinating Bank in a term loan facility of multi-currency USD 275 million involving United Arab Shipping Company’s acquisition of three new A13 container vessels by Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Korea during a signing ceremony held in Dubai 21 February 2010.

The deal represented an important cross-border GCC transaction as several other Gulf banks were involved, including Burgan Bank S.A.K. (Kuwait) The Commercial Bank of Qatar Q.S.C and Doha bank as Lead Arrangers and Al Khaliji Commercial Bank Q.S.C as Arranger. QNB is also the documentation Agent, Facility Agent, Security Agent and the Account Bank while BNP Paribas (Switzerland) is the Structuring Bank.

Mr. Abdullah Al-Khalifa, General Manager, Corporate Banking, of QNB commented about the deal, “This facility shows the vital strategic importance of United Arab Shipping Company. QNB has had a long-standing relation with UASC that dates back to 1979. We are pleased to be a strategic partner and to act as the Mandated Lead Arranger and Coordinating Bank in successfully arranging for this milestone cross-border multi-currency transaction in GCC”.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Jørn Hinge, President and Chief Executive Officer of UASC, said “With this facility, UASC will finance three of the nine A13 type container vessels currently on order. We at UASC recognize the effort to conclude this senior facility by leading banks from the GCC as a token of trust in UASC’s solid foundation, sound performance and strong future prospects within the current challenging market environment. By the time the entire new building order is delivered, UASC will have substantially increased its fleet capacity and achieved greater economies of scale. The A13s will significantly improve UASC’s cost-base to enable the company to compete head-to-head with other industry majors. This, together with planned network enhancements, increased investment in IT systems, and efficiency improvement measures, will reconfirm the company’s leading position in the region. Moreover, we are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability as we bring among the world’s most environmentally friendly container vessels into service”.

QNB is also known for advocating environmentally-clean policies and technologies and that was manifested in the fact that the vessels bought by UASC were amongst the “greenest” ships available in the market since they will be equipped with the latest Waste Heat Recovery technology which reduces Carbon Dioxide emissions and helps protect the environment.

QNB is one of the fastest expanding banks in the region with presence in 22 countries including five GCC nations (Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and United Arab Emirates). It has worked relentlessly to facilitate the integration of the Qatari economy and GCC countries through numerous business transactions. The Bank has a proven record in structuring deals, knowledge of the market and funding capacity.

During 2009, QNB participated in major transactions amongst which being the Joint Lead Manager for the State of Qatar sovereign bond issue that totaled $7.0 billion which was very well received demonstrating the strong fundamentals of Qatar and its economic prospects.

In another major transaction, QNB was appointed as the General Financial Adviser and one of the initial Mandated Lead Arrangers to Qatar Telecom (Qtel) $1.5 billion credit facility to refinance a previously existing facility that matured in November 2009. The oversubscribed transaction was one of the largest credit facilities and the first Forward Start Facility executed in the GCC region in 2009.