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Monday, 2 July 2007

Syndicated Islamic lease finance facility - Structured vessel financing for Topaz

Topaz Energy and Marine Ltd., one of Dubai's leading oil and gas services companies, announced that it had concluded a US$ 50 million syndicated Islamic lease finance facility with Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of Scotland and First Gulf Bank. Under the terms of the agreement, the facility will be used towards the construction of eight special purpose ice class work barges which will operate in the north Caspian region of Kazakhstan. Commenting on the agreement, John Iossifidis, Regional Head of Client Relations, Middle East and Pakistan, Standard Chartered Bank said, "This shari’ah compliant facility was structured innovatively and it gives Topaz total flexibility. Standard Chartered is at the forefront of structured vessel financing and we are pleased to have concluded this transaction with one of the world's leading marine vessel owners and operators.” The agreement will strengthen still further Standard Chartered’s relationship with Topaz. In March last year, the two parties agreed to a long term loan facility of US$ 30 million for the finance the construction of a 60 metre, 7,500 BHP anchor handling vessel. “Our team has considerable expertise and experience in vessel financing throughout the Middle East and as such we were able to recognise the strong industry fundamentals and structure the facility accordingly,” he added. Concurring, Pramod Balakrishnan, Chief Financial Officer, Topaz, stated, “The depth of Standard Chartered's maritime knowledge was key to their understanding of our specific requirements. They have provided us with a tailored finance facility, which complements our business strategy.” The deal will further enhance Topaz’s operations in the Caspian region and follows a significant contract win by subsidiary BUE Kazakhstan, who announced in April that it had secured a contract with Italian oil major Agip worth up to US$ 350 million. Topaz ranks amongst the world's leading owners and operators of offshore vessels with operations in the Caspian Sea, Arabian Gulf and South East Asia. - (Albawaba, 1 July 2007)

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