Saudi Arabia meeting investors to issue the country’s first international bond

Saudi Arabia’s officials are meeting investors this week to gauge appetite for the country’s first international bond, a potential multibillion-dollar issue aimed at strengthening the kingdom’s finances strained by low oil prices, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The first meeting takes place in London on Wednesday and concludes next week in Boston and New York, according to bankers involved in the roadshow.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Citigroup, HSBC and J.P. Morgan are the joint global coordinators for the potential offering, which is expected to exceed $10 billion in size.

The money raised from the planned bond sale will help shore up the Saudi government’s coffers, which have been depleted as a result of the plunge in oil prices.

The kingdom has traditionally generated the bulk of its income from exporting oil but with energy prices down by more than half since mid-2014, the Persian Gulf country is reining in spending to plug a budget deficit that reached a record $98 billion last year.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Finance on Monday said it has enlisted international and domestic banks to help arrange a series of meetings with potential investors. The kingdom will decide on the timing of the bond sale depending on market conditions, the ministry said.

In June, Saudi Arabia revealed that it has hired J.P. Morgan, HSBC and Citigroup to help sell its debut international bond.

Media reports outlined that Qatar in May sold $9 billion worth of bonds, while Oman raised $2.5 billion and the emirate of Abu Dhabi preceded them with a $5 billion bond sale.