THE Kuching Port Authority (KPA) has secured a RM53.3mil fixed-rate term loan from Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd and Bumiputra-Commerce Bank Bhd to refinance its borrowings from Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP) taken in 1996.
The seven-year term loan has an annual interest rate of 5.9%.
According to KPA chairman Awang Bemee Pengiran Ali Basah, the refinancing will lead to total interest savings of about RM7.1mil.
The agreement for the loan, which was arranged by Utama Merchant Bank Bhd (UMBB), was signed in Kuching yesterday.
The signatories were Awang Bemee, UMBB chairman Vaseehar Hasan Abdul Razak, Alliance Bank senior general manager (corporate banking) Loh Kong Fatt and Bumiputra-Commerce Bank executive vice-president (business banking) Abu Bakar Buyong.
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications Tan Sri Alfred Jabu witnessed the ceremony.
Awang Bemee said yesterday’s agreement was KPA's second phase of borrowing to refinance the balance of the RM260mil loan it took from KWAP and Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial (Perkeso), which came with an annual interest rate of 9.5%, to part-fund the construction of its Senari deepsea port.
The first phase of the financial restructuring was carried out in December 2001 through the issuance of RM180mil Islamic bonds to repay KWAP and Perkeso.
“The issuance of the bonds has enabled KPA to reduce its financial burden substantially,” he added.
Awang Bemee said KPA was expected to handle 7.6 million tonnes of total cargo throughput this year compared with 6.8 million last year.
Vaseehar said the term loan was more than two times over-subscribed although only a few banks were invited to participate.