KERRY Holdings, controlled by Robert Kuok, has awarded a mandate to six banks to arrange a dual-currency loan facility worth US$300 million. The company said Deutsche Bank, Fuji Bank, J P Morgan Securities Asia, Paribas Asia, Societe Generale Asia and Sumitomo Bank would arrange the Hong Kong dollar-US dollar facility, which was fully underwritten. Kerry said about 85 per cent of the loan proceeds would be used to refinance secured term debt, and the balance would be used for general corporate requirements. The loan would mature in five years and included a put option at year three, allowing lenders the option of choosing to have the loan redeemed early. Up to 50 per cent of the facility amount could be Hong Kong dollar-denominated, and lenders could select US dollars and/or Hong Kong dollars when the loan was syndicated. Kerry said repayment would be in one lump sum at final maturity, and terms and pricing would be released when the syndication was launched. Kerry executive director Allan Ng said the facility represented the group's first major unsecured financing and would serve as a benchmark for future fund raisings. He said the group's leverage ratio had been kept at 'a comfortable level of 30 per cent'. The group was committed to growing core activities, and diversifying into major Coca-Cola bottling and edible oil production and distribution activities in China. It wanted to manage the corporate funding needs of the company's various businesses centrally at holding company level to meet the future funding requirements efficiently and improve the company's credit profile, Mr Ng said. Kerry is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kerry Group, a private company controlled by Mr Kuok and family interests. Kerry Group's activities include property, hotel ownership and management, warehouse operation, bottling and distributing Coca-Cola in China, financial services, commodity-trading and edible oils and grains business in China. It has media interests through stakes in South China Morning Post (Holdings) and Television Broadcasts.