Zain Saudi refinances $600m loan secured two months ago
Telecommunications operator Zain Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would save 175 million riyals ($46.7 million) by using a Chinese bank to refinance a 2.25 billion riyal loan that it had secured just two months ago.
The new, $600 million loan was signed with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; it has a two-year maturity with an option to extend by one additional year. The company said the savings on the new loan would come from better terms and the conversion of Saudi riyals to U.S. dollars.
In early June, Zain Saudi had signed a 2.25 billion riyal loan refinancing with four local banks: Arab National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Gulf International Bank and Samba Financial Group.
ICBC, China’s largest bank by assets, has been expanding aggressively in the Gulf, where it does not face the same liquidity pressures as local rivals, which have been grappling with slowing deposit growth due to low oil prices.
In June, ICBC lent $1.5 billion to state-controlled utility Saudi Electricity Co.