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Qtel's debut bond sale oversubscribed eight times

$1.5bn bond sale attracts bids exceeding $13bn, scheme will help refinance existing debt

State-controlled Qatar Telecommunications Co (Qtel) said on Wednesday its $1.5bn debut bond sale was more than eight times oversubscribed, as bids exceeded $13bn.

"Following considerable interest from investors globally the issue was significantly oversubscribed and we have been able to issue the notes at attractive pricing levels," Qtel Chairman Abdullah Bin Saud Al-Thani, said in a company statement.

Qtel's bond sale, part of a $5bn global medium term note programme to partly be used to refinance existing debt, follows the government's $3bn benchmark bond launched in early April.

State and corporate issuers in the energy-exporting Gulf region have raised more than $7 billion by issuing bonds over the last three months and are eyeing further sales as demand rises for high-rate emerging market debt.

Qtel, via its Qtel International Finance Ltd arm, sold $900m in five-year notes at a yield spread of 415 basis points over comparable US treasuries and a $600m in 10-year notes at a yield spread of 435 basis points over Treasuries.

Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and RBS were lead managers on the deal.

Qatari state-affiliated firms are eyeing between $3bn and $4bn in bond sales this year to refinance debt and finance new projects as spreads narrow, Abdul-Rahman Al-Shaibi, a member of Qatar's State Finance Policy Committee told Reuters on Sunday.

Qtel said last week that of two loan facilities totalling $5bn, one would mature in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the other in the third quarter of 2012. (Reuters)