FILE PHOTO: Cars drive past the Qatar National Bank (QNB) building in Doha, Qatar June 11, 2017. REUTERS / Naseem Zeitoon

DUBA (Reuters) – National Bank of Qatar (QNB) QNBK.QA, the Gulf’s largest lender, plans to raise a $ 3.5 billion loan from a group of banks, four sources familiar with the matter said.

The planned transaction would refinance an existing $ 3.5 billion debt facility that the bank raised in 2017 and is due to mature in December of this year.

Two of the sources said HSBC would play a leading role in the deal. QNB did not immediately respond to a request for comment while HSBC declined to comment.

The new loan will be split into two tranches with maturities of three and five years, two of the sources said. “It will be at a tight price, despite the progressive content,” added one of them.

HSBC, along with other banks, has been involved in the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, which in 2017 severed diplomatic and transport relations with Qatar, accusing him of financing terrorism, an accusation denied by Doha.

The London-listed bank circumvented sweeping deals with Qatar in the aftermath of the diplomatic crisis and prioritized doing business in Saudi Arabia, where it has a strong presence, sources told Reuters.

Last year, however, HSBC was hired by Qatari port operator QTerminals to lead a $ 500 million loan, sources said at the time.

QNB’s $ 3.5 billion loan was one of the first such deals made by a Qatari state-owned company after the regional diplomatic crisis erupted.

The syndication included 21 international banks and the loan was fully guaranteed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and United Overseas bank.

Additional reports by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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