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Emirates picks banks for bond issue

File picture of an Emirates plane.

Emirates airline, one of the Arab world's largest carriers, is looking at financing options, its president said on Thursday, after reports the company had mandated banks for a bond issue.

Government-owned Emirates was understood to have picked Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Morgan Stanley for a bond sale, IFR Markets, a unit of Thomson Reuters, reported on Thursday, citing bankers away from the mentioned lenders. "We are testing the waters to see if something like this would work," Emirates president Tim Clark said.

"It is an ongoing process and we do it all the time. There is no certainty whether or not a bond will be issued this year."

Sources told IFR that Emirates had been speaking to banks about fundraising options for the past couple of months and had decided to tap international debt capital markets.

One banking source told Reuters HSBC has been selected as one of the mandated banks, while another said Deutsche Bank had been involved in discussions with Emirates.

Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in November there were no plans to issue bonds or raise funds. This followed the announcement of a planned multi-billion dollar increase in its fleet to include 120 Airbus A380 superjumbos.

Emirates is Dubai's flagship company and one of the biggest contributors to a local economy.

The airline rivals longer established names for traffic between Europe and East Asia.

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