Saudi Arabia’s ministry of finance has inked a US$3bn untied loan agreement with nearly a dozen international banks and the Republic of Korea’s official export credit agency (ECA).

Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure) will provide insurance cover for the total transaction, which aims to boost Korean exports to the Middle Eastern country.

Crédit Agricole CIB acted as exclusive ECA co-ordinating bank, structuring and documentation bank, agent, as well as bookrunner and mandated lead arranger (MLA) for the deal.

Banco Santander, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale all participated as bookrunners and MLAs, while BNP Paribas, BBVA and SMBC Bank International acted as MLAs.

Citibank and JP Morgan were two other original lenders, with both serving as lead arrangers on the agreement.

Fahad A. Al-Saif, CEO of the National Debt Management Center, which represented the ministry in the deal, notes that the long-term financing will be used for strategic government projects in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan.

Saudi Vision 2030 is a comprehensive programme to diversify the country’s economy away from its current dependence on oil and develop public service sectors.

Al-Saif adds that the new deal is expected to lead to meetings between service providers from South Korea and the owners of major Saudi projects, “with the aim of securing financing on these projects”.

This is the second ECA-backed facility that the Saudi ministry of finance has secured, having inked a loan in July 2020 with Euler Hermes, HSBC and Crédit Agricole CIB worth US$258mn for the procurement of buses from Germany.

Speaking about the latest agreement with K-Sure, Crédit Agricole CIB’s global head of export finance, André Gazal, says: “We are very excited to have led this milestone transaction, providing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ministry of finance with its largest ever ECA loan and only its second so far.”