Qtel mandates banks for bond

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has mandated six banks for a possible benchmark-sized dollar-denominated bond, lead arrangers said yesterday, in what would be the majority state-owned operator’s first bond sale since 2010.

Qtel picked Barclays, HSBC, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities, Mizuho Securities, Morgan Stanley and QNB Capital as lead arrangers and bookrunners for the deal.

Qtel has been raising stakes in its subsidiaries, taking advantage of the Gulf state’s healthy financial position at a time when other large telecom firms are shying away from deals. It increased its stake in Iraqi telco Asiacell and Kuwaiti affiliate Wataniya this year.

Benchmark-sized is typically at least $500 million, and the sale will be open to qualified institutional investors in the US as it will be 144a-compliant. The proposed bond will be issued by Qtel International Finance, a fully-owned subsidiary of Qtel, which will guarantee the new issue.

Roadshows kick off on Sunday in the UAE before meetings in London, Hong Kong, New York, Singapore and Boston, concluding on December 11.

Qtel, rated A by Standard & Poor’s, last tapped global debt markets in the fourth quarter of 2010 to raise $2.75 billion from a heavily-oversubscribed sale.