(Adds no comment from GIP)
By Stephen Jewkes and Davide Barbuscia
MILAN/DUBAI, April 20 (Reuters) - A consortium of bidders including U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is in talks with banks for an $8 billion loan to back their investment in Abu Dhabi National Oil Co’s (ADNOC) natural gas pipeline assets, three sources said.
The talks with banks had been going on for weeks and it was not clear when the deal would be finalised, particularly amid challenging market conditions and plunging oil prices, said one of the sources.
The consortium of bidders included GIP, Brookfield Asset Management and Italian infrastructure firm Snam, said the sources, with one of them adding GIP would have by far the biggest stake in the consortium.
GIP, ADNOC, Snam and Brookfield declined to comment on the financing discussions, which were first reported by Bloomberg.
More than 20 banks were involved in the discussions, one source said.
BlackRock, along with buyout firm KKR & Co, last year bought a 40% stake in ADNOC Oil Pipelines for $4 billion, as the Abu Dhabi oil giant creates investment partnerships to raise cash in an era of lower oil prices.
ADNOC hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Mizuho last year to arrange the lease of its natural gas pipeline assets, which had a value estimated at up to $15 billion, sources told Reuters at the time.
Last year’s KKR and BlackRock investment was funded through the firms’ infrastructure funds and financed by a syndicate of banks.
Additional reporting by Dahlia Nehme in Dubai; editing by Nick Macfie