Angola’s state-owned oil producer Sonangol has secured a US$2.5bn loan from a large syndicate of international banks.

The finance was pre-funded by Standard Chartered in May and subsequently underwritten by Natixis, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi-UFJ (BTMU) who, along with Standard Chartered, each took a US$500mn slice.

The underwriters then put the transaction into general syndication which ended in the last days of August.

The second step of syndication attracted 19 banks from around the world, less than a year since Sonangol tapped the market for US$1.5bn. GTR can reveal that the loan is a receivables purchase agreement facility, priced at 350bps, with a five-year tenor.

Sonangol has been tapping the market annually for up to 20 years. Over this period, the pool of lenders has become broader and more diverse. On the transaction this year, there are Korean, South African, Austrian, Italian and Chinese banks – added to the traditional French, German and British.

Michel Jay, global head of energy and commodities structured finance at Natixis, tells GTR that banks are attracted to the Sonangol transactions because of the quality of the borrower, but also because of the knowledge that exists in the market as to how the deals will be structured.

He continues: “They introduced a lending structure in 2006 and it’s the same every year, a receivable purchase agreement that doesn’t change from one year to the other. People in the market know how it’s structured. Now there’s a good balance in terms of maturity, pricing and size. The five-year maturity is a good balance: it’s long enough for Sonangol and not too long for the banks. You can reach a large number of banks for who five years is acceptable. Pricing is similar to 2012. On the oil and gas syndication market, there haven’t been many good paper deals and there’s big demand. Sonangol is fitting well with the market this year.”

Jay expects the Sonangol facility to be the last jumbo oil and gas financing of 2014. He says: “The year to date has been good with a number of nice transactions. With four months to go we wouldn’t expect jumbo transactions, although at the same time last year we didn’t know we’d underwrite US$2bn-plus along with 13 other banks on the Rosneft acquisition. While the market is active I don’t see jumbo transactions. But a good year is a good mix of all sizes and types of transactions.”