EDF banks struggle to share loan risk -paper

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PARIS, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The seven banks guaranteeing a loan to help French power company EDF finance the takeover of British Energy are struggling to find additional banks to share the risk, Les Echos reported on Tuesday.

EDF last month launched an 11 billion pound ($17.9 billion) loan backing the 12.5 billion pound acquisition with BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Calyon, HSBC 005.HK, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Capital and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi. The loan was conservatively structured with short-term maturities and generous pricing after EDF's bid was recommended by British Energy's board in September.

But the banks are having difficulty finding other institutions to take on parts of their portions of the loan, the newspaper reported, citing several unidentified sources.

"Notably, there's a lack of banks to take smaller pieces in the order of 100 million pounds ($162.3 million)," the paper quoted one source close to the matter as saying.

The seven banks would likely have to hold on to their portions of the loan for longer than expected, the paper said, adding that the bankers were not alarmed by the development and that the loan was not at risk.

"The syndication has not started badly," the paper quoted a banker as saying. "It is slower than we would have wanted, but it is not under threat. Two-and-a-half weeks ago we were asking ourselves questions, but today there's no longer cause for panic." (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by David Holmes)

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