Copper firm Kaz Minerals has upped the size of a syndicated loan to US$1bn, having also extended its tenor and reduced its margin pricing.

The oversubscribed pre-export finance facility, which was increased from the existing US$600mn PXF signed in 2017, sees the number of lenders increase from 12 to 19 and the tenor extended by 3.5 years, from June 2021 to December 2024.

A spokesperson for Kaz Minerals tells GTR that the financing will be used for general corporate purposes, adding that because they had paid off half of the prior loan, it effectively provides the firm with a net increase of US$700mn in debt financing.

Meanwhile the margin pricing, which had previously been set at 3%, will initially be lowered to 2.5% above US dollar Libor, and will be variable, ranging between 2.25% and 3.50% above US dollar Libor. This will depend on the ratio of net debt to EBITDA and will be tested semi-annually.

The mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) for the pre-export finance deal include: Deutsche Bank, ING Bank, Société Générale, ABN Amro, Bank of China, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, ICBC London, Natixis and Sovcombank.

Lenders on the deal were: Bank of Montreal, DZ Bank, Intesa SanPaolo, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, HSBC, KFW Ipex-Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International and Citibank, with Deutsche Bank acting as the facility agent, and ING serving as the security trustee.

The financing follows a US$100mn credit facility agreement Kaz penned with Caterpillar Financial Services UK (Cat Financial) in November 2019.

Commenting on that deal, Kaz’s CFO John Hadfield said at the time: “This new credit facility provides additional liquidity and broadens our debt portfolio as we progress the construction of the Aktogay expansion project in Kazakhstan, which is due to commence production in 2021.”

The Kazakh copper producer, which focuses on large-scale, low-cost, open-pit mining, mainly operates in its home country, however it has been expanding its operations in recent years.

It commenced production at a mine in Kyrgyzstan in 2014, before acquiring the Baimskaya project in Russia in January 2019.