Bank Austria Creditanstalt (BA-CA) has been mandated by the Societatea Nationala de Gaze Naturale Romgaz SA to arrange a three-year amortising US$60mn syndicated term loan facility. BA-CA has been appointed as mandated lead arranger. The tenor of the transaction is three years with an amortising structure after a one-year grace period. It is planned that the transaction will be guaranteed by the Republic of Romania .
Romgaz is the dominant Romanian natural gas producer. Its main business focus is the exploitation, production and underground storage of natural gas. In 2002, Romgaz has been the largest producer and supplier of natural gas in Romania, covering 45.6% of the domestic market. The company is owned 100% by the Romanian state through the Ministry of Economic and Commerce. Romania has the largest natural gas market in CEE. The country enjoys a high level of gas penetration and has natural gas reserves for another 25 years of extraction.
The margin will be 175 bp pa. The facility will be used to finance the import of natural gas to be supplied to the borrower. This loan is a “new financing”.
The Republic of Romania is rated by S&P BB- with a positive outlook; B1/Stable by Moody’s and BB-/Stable by Fitch. The prospect of EU accession in 2007 has promoted political consensus, and strengthened the reform-oriented forces in Romania .
Together with HVB Group, BA-CA is the leading arranger of syndicated loans in Central and Eastern Europe (first quarter 2003). In the region CEE, BA-CA is operating the largest network with 900 outlets in 11 countries. Some 18,000 employees serve more than 3.5mn customers. In Romania , BA-CA is represented by its subsidiary HVB Bank Romania . With total assets of €548mn, HVB Bank Romania is the sixth largest Romanian bank. The bank has six branches in the biggest cities of the country.
In the first half of 2003, Bank Austria Creditanstalt significantly improved its results compared with the previous year, despite a persistently difficult environment. Net income after taxes and minority interests rose by 47% to €202mn (first half of 2002: €137mn). Operating profit increased by 64% to €315mn (2002: €192mn). Business in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) developed very favourably. Net income before taxes generated by this business segment was €90.7mn, the return on equity exceeded 20%.