Italy’s SACE could back $1.6 bln in debt to Saudi Arabia
Italy’s export credit agency SACE plans to back $1.6 billion in loans to Saudi Arabia over the next 12 to 18 months, Reuters reported, citing SACE chief executive Alessandro Decio.
SACE’s current portfolio in Saudi Arabia amounts to around $640 million.
Fully owned by the CDP Group in Italy, SACE opened its Dubai office in 2016 as a hub for the Middle East and North Africa region.
“One of the objectives of this mission in the region is to spend some time with our prospective clients in Riyadh, and see if we can accelerate our operations there,” Decio said.
Export credit agencies (ECAs) offer loan guarantees, and at times direct financing to international buyers, to facilitate the export and supply of domestic goods or contractors.
ECA-backed debt financing has become relevant in oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as a decline in crude prices and tighter liquidity in domestic banks has prompted governments to seek alternative funding sources.
Last month, Saudi Arabia sent requests for proposals to banks for the refinancing of a $10 billion syndicated loan, new bond issuance, and for ECA-backed funding, the new agency said.
SACE, which is meeting prospective clients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia this week, is evaluating projects in the Middle East and North Africa worth about $15 billion, the report added.