Standard Chartered in London has been sounding out banks to join its latest loan for Angolan oil company Sonangol. The bank itself has refused to comment, but one banker approached says that the deal is pretty “structure-light” and is being presented as a receivables purchase, “whereby the SPV borrower buys export receivables from Sonangol EP, collects the eventual export proceeds (via an un-charged collection account presumably with StanChart) and then repays the lenders. However there is no assignment of the receivables purchase agreement between the SPV and Sonangol, nor is there any ring-fencing of the export receivables at any stage”.

Effectively the SPV pays from general liquidity, says the source. He adds: “There is however a full payment guarantee from Sonangol EP, and various covenants for both borrower and guarantor.”

The US$500mn loan is said to be 100 months in tenor and priced at Libor plus 1%. The source adds: “Sonangol doesn’t really need the funds, and with the light structure, it looks like an exercise in testing the market – how far and unsecured can Sonangol go Standard Chartered itself will announce details in January.