Diplo­matic cri­sis sinks re­fi­nanc­ing deal

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Da­vide Bar­bus­cia and Tom Finn

THE RE­FI­NANC­ING of a $1 bil­lion (R13bn) loan by Doha Fes­ti­val City, a re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity com­plex in Qatar, has been in­def­i­nitely post­poned as a diplo­matic cri­sis de­ters re­gional banks from do­ing new Qatari busi­ness, bankers said.

The re­fi­nanc­ing, co-or­di­nated by Doha-based in­vest­ment bank QIn­vest, was mar­keted ear­lier this year to both Qatari and re­gional banks, in­clud­ing in­sti­tu­tions in the United Arab Emi­rates.

It was to have been larger in size than the orig­i­nal loan – per­haps around $1.2bn, bankers said.

But Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplo­matic and trans­port ties with Qatar on June 5, ac­cus­ing it of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism, and the pro­posed deal has been put on hold, the sources said. Two Qatari bankers in­volved in the deal said that the diplo­matic cri­sis was the main rea­son for the deal be­ing post­poned, as it had re­duced banks’ ap­petite for the trans­ac­tion.

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