China Unicom prepares for debut loan financing

Bankers await with interest as mobile phone operator seeks to raise $1bn.

Banks are gearing themselves up to bid for the mandate to arrange a US dollar umbrella refinancing facility for China Unicom. This will be the first visit to the offshore syndicated loan market by China's second largest cellular operator.

Market rumours suggest the deal will be a minimum of $700 million with the borrower keen on raising as much as $1 billion if the appetite exists. No firm details have been finalised, but it is believed the structure will follow a three, five and seven tranche strategy.

This is one of the biggest facilities to come out of China this year although few market observers say the size will be a...

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