HSBC Bank (facility agent and bookrunner) and WestLB AG (documentation and bookrunner) as mandated lead arrangers have managed a successful general syndication where banks have been signed into a debut US$125mn five-year amortising syndicated term loan facility for Allana International in Dubai. Despite an oversubscription, the borrower elected not to increase the facility size. The facility was fully underwritten by HSBC and WestLB and pre-funded in December 2003.

There is a two-year extension option at the lenders” discretion.

Allana is the holding company for the International Foodstuffs Company group of companies (Iffco), which is one of the leading food manufacturing groups in the Gulf region. Iffco, which is headquartered in Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, was initially established as a trading house in 1975. Over the last 28 years the group has been transformed from a trading company to a highly successful, dynamic and well-integrated group of companies, which manufactures and markets a wide range of consumer food products.

Iffco’s business segments comprise food and beverages and non-food. While its primary market is the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, it also exports products to nearly 60 countries. Combined turnover in FYE2003 was US$380mn, of which 60% was export-based.

Arrangers were offered takes of US$15mn (Bank of Baroda, Sharjah), co-arrangers US$10mn (Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank; Bank of India, Singapore; Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, London; Persia International Bank; State Bank of India), lead managers US$5mn (Habib Bank; National Bank of Fujairah), and managers US$2.5mn (First Gulf Bank; Habib Bank AG Zurich).

The loan is for refinancing and general corporate purposes.