Petroliam Nasional Raises $2.68 Billion In Debt Sale

Petroliam Nasional Bhd., the Malaysian state owned oil company, almost doubled its sale of bonds to $2.68 billion, a record for an Asian company, to help pay for overseas expansion plans from Chad to China. Petronas is looking to expand abroad as oil and gas reserves in Malaysia dwindle. It also has almost five billion dollars of debt that it needs to refinance, with about $3.6 billion due in 2008. Appetite for Malaysian debt is growing after credit rating companies said they are reviewing the nation for a possible upgrade because of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's success in getting companies to repay their debts. Malaysia forecasts economic growth will accelerate to three and a half percent this year from 0.4 percent during 2001, increasing its demand for energy. “Things are going their way economically,” said Jason Carley, head of Asia-Pacific credit research at Merrill Lynch & Co. “and Petronas is benefiting from that.”

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