Oman Said to Plan Dollar Bond Sale Return With Tap of June Issue

  • Sultanate expected to revisit Eurobond issue in benchmark size
  • Nation raised loan, private sukuk besides dollar bonds in 2016

Oman is planning to sell more of the dollar-denominated bonds it issued in June, according to two people with knowledge of the deal, as the Gulf nation looks to shore up state finances pressured by low energy prices.

The potential tap of bonds due 2021 and 2026 will be of benchmark size, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The sultanate issued $2.5 billion in June; benchmark typically means at least $500 million. The sale may come as soon as this month, one of the people said.

Any fresh debt would be the latest in a series of issues by the largest Arab oil producer that’s not an OPEC member. Oman, rated one level above junk by S&P Global Ratings, borrowed $1 billion through international loans at the start of 2016 and also privately placed dollar-denominated Islamic bonds, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.

Governments across the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are seeking funds from the international debt markets to help mitigate the impact of lower oil prices on state finances. Oman posted a deficit of 2.5 billion rials ($6.5 billion) in the first five months of the year, compared with a deficit of 1.6 billion rials a year earlier, according to the most recent data from the central bank.

A spokesman at the country’s Ministry of Finance didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

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