Barclays Capital eyes US$ 41 billion worth of MidEast deals

Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC, is eyeing a share of three of the Middle East's project finance opportunities worth an estimated US$ 41 billion and spread across the GCC and North Africa.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  March 24, 2002

Barclays Capital, the investment banking division of Barclays Bank PLC, is eyeing a share of three of the Middle East's project finance opportunities worth an estimated US$ 41 billion and spread across the GCC and North Africa.

"There is no shortage of opportunities in the region's project finance market and Barclays Capital will be looking to play a leading role in most of them," said Elie Khouri, Chief Executive Officer, Barclays Capital, and Middle East & North Africa. "They include the Umm al-Nar (IWPP) in Abu Dhabi, on which requests for proposals are due to go out to developers by the end of March.

"Among the other target projects in the Gulf is the Dolphin gas pipeline from Qatar to the UAE - on which Credit Suisse First Boston is the client's financial adviser - the third and fourth trains at Qatar's Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company (Rasgas, and the first of what may be a series of gas-to-liquids (GTL) schemes in Qatar."

His remarks followed the publication of MEED magazine's league table, according to which Barclays Capital is the leading international arranger of GCC project and asset-backed corporate finance. Barclays Capital was propelled to pole position by a series of successful deals including its role in the US$ 1,385 million conventional debt for Abu Dhabi's Shuweihat power and water desalination project.

Khouri said that Barclays Capital raised US$ 2.6 billion last year for four Middle East schemes for which it worked as one of the lead arrangers. These included Shuwaihat, the Ras Laffan power scheme, the fourth phase of the Fertiliser Company in Qatar and the Suez and East Port Said power stations in Egypt.

Khouri said that Barclays Capital is keeping a close watch on the Saudi gas initiative, which will require a minimum investment of US$ 25 billion in gas extraction and downstream sectors.

Barclays Capital is currently working on a US$900 million leasing venture project for Saudi military in Riyadh, one of the largest deals of its kind involving foreign banks in the Kingdom.

Qatar is another GCC market Barclays Capital will target over the next few months according to Khouri. "Qatar's five GTL proposals put the country's project stream over the next few years up to US$ 15 billion."

The company was recently selected, as advisor for Egypt's US$ 800 million wireless local loop project that will be carried out on a revenue-sharing basis between Telecom Egypt and the Raneen Consortium, is testimony of the bank's strong North African presence.

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