DUBAI Feb 9 Creditors have agreed in principle
to Saudi Binladin Group’s (SBG) request for a two-year extension
on a 10 billion riyal ($2.7 billion) Islamic credit facility
used to pay for delayed building work at the Grand Mosque in
Mecca, sources said.
Reuters reported last month that SBG had asked a syndicate
of banks for the credit to be extended beyond its maturity at
the end of 2017 to the end of 2019.
This had now been agreed, subject to the signing of legal
documents, and should be finalised by March, one source said.
Another source described the deal as financially rewarding
for the creditors as SBG will continue to pay interest
throughout the period of the extension.
The loan will now have a similar timeframe for the
completion of the mosque project, which has been delayed to
allow the Saudi government to defer some of its spending plans.
SBG, which due to historically close ties to the government
has emerged as one of the heavyweights of the kingdom's
construction sector, and the Ministry of Finance were not
immediately available for comment.
The company has been involved in many major infrastructure
developments in recent years, but like other contractors it has
been hit by a stalling of projects and delayed payments as the
government has curbed spending due to weaker oil prices.
Dubai Islamic Bank was the lead bank on the
facility, with the other banks mainly United Arab Emirates-based
including Emirates NBD and Noor Bank, the sources
said, with one adding that Ajman Bank, Union National
Bank and Mashreq were also involved.
(Additional reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Alexander