Reuters

DUBAI, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Kuwait's Equate Petrochemical <IPO-EQUP.KW> is expected to launch in the first quarter, and potentially as soon as this month, a U.S. dollar sukuk issue, sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

The potential sukuk issue would be part of the company's $2 billion sukuk programme, and would follow Equate's debut $2.25 billion conventional bond sale last October.

The petrochemical producer, a joint venture involving Petrochemical Industries Co and the Dow Chemical Co, has not officially appointed banks to manage the sukuk sale, but the banks which led Equate's previous bond transaction are very likely to arrange the new deal, the sources said.

Telephone calls to Equate's offices in Kuwait seeking comment were not answered.

The company's $2.25 billion bond, consisting of a $1 billion long five-year bond maturing in 2022 and a $1.25 billion 10-year bond, was arranged by Citi, HSBC, JP Morgan and NBK Capital.

In June 2016 Equate took out a $5 billion syndicated loan, while in 2015 it raised $6 billion of bridge financing, which was mostly used to pay for the acquisition of the petrochemical company MEGlobal from Dow Chemical. The $6 billion loan was arranged by Citi, HSBC, JP Morgan, Kuwait Finance House and National Bank of Kuwait.

Kuwait Finance House, a sharia-compliant lender, could be involved in Equate's sukuk issue alongside its international relationship banks, said one source.

In December, Moody's gave a Baa2 rating to Equate's sukuk programme, which matches the issuer rating of Equate itself. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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