Majid Al Futtaim eyes $500 mn Egypt loan, sources say

DUBAI/LONDON — Dubai-based developer Majid Al Futtaim has picked two Egyptian banks to arrange a loan worth around US$500 million to fund construction of its Mall of Egypt project, three sources with knowledge of the move told Reuters.

The developer, the sole franchise of Carrefour in the Gulf, has chosen Banque Misr and National Bank of Egypt as lead arrangers for the deal, two of the sources said.

The cash will be used to fund the group’s Mall of Egypt, a 160,000-square-meter site in Cairo that will be one of North Africa’s largest shopping centers.

A proposal is expected to be sent to other banks in the next two weeks, once final decisions over the transaction structure have been made. Commitments in dollars and Egyptian pounds are likely to be permitted, the sources said.

Interest in the deal is likely to be restricted to local and regional banks as many internationals have restrictions on lending into Egypt following political unrest there.

“I don’t see MAF going outside the local banks. There aren’t a lot of banks outside Egypt that are going to put money on the table right now,” said one of the sources — a London-based banker, speaking on condition of anonymity.

MAF wasn’t immediately available for comment. MAF Chief Executive Iyad Malas told Reuters in October it was talking to local banks about securing 13-year finance to fund a new mall in Egypt.

The Mall of Egypt loan had been earmarked for early 2011 but the political unrest resulted in the plans being postponed, a separate source at an international bank said.

MAF has two malls, three hypermarkets and some supermarkets in Egypt.

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