The government of Oman sold a $500 million six-year sukuk in a private placement. The profit rate is set at 3.5%, the amount will have to be repaid in three equal instalments after four, five and six years. Oman's first Ijara format five-year sukuk worth RO 200 million ($520 million) was issued in October last year and received strong orders. The government which is facing a widening fiscal deficit has been adopting several measures tide over the falling revenue from lower oil prices. Recently, the government raised a $2.5 billion two-part bond and a $1 billion loan from banks. This was the first international bond issue in two decades by the Sultanate.
S&P Global Ratings expects Sukuk issuance will remain muted over the next 6 to 18 months, with total issuance of US$50 bil to US$55 bil in 2016. The ratings agency explained that plummeting oil prices have not boosted sukuk issuance despite some commentators' expectations. Instead, total issuance actually dropped in 2015 compared with the previous year. S&P Global Ratings Global head of Islamic finance Mohamed Damak said while governments affected by the price drop are looking to spending cuts, their financing needs remain significant. At the same time, he believes the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme and the entrance of a few new issuers to the Sukuk market will continue to support issuance volumes.
Maxis Broadband, a unit under telecommunications group Maxis, is planning a sukuk issuance to raise as much as MYR10 bn for acquisitions and capital expenditure. CIMB Investment Bank is the sole principal adviser and sole lead arranger for the programme, while CIMB Islamic Bank is the shariah adviser for the programme. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has issued a MYR350 mn ($86.6 mn) sukuk for project financing and other development activities. IDB president Ahmad Mohamed Ali said the successful issuance of sukuk in Malaysian Ringgit is a testimony to the increasing interest for sukuk.
Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has felicitated Wapda and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) for the Rs 100 billion agreement of 16 banks under Shariah compliant facility for Neelum Jehlum Hydro Power (NJHP) project. There was a long delay and the cost of project escalated up to Rs 414 billion from initial estimates Rs 84 billion. PIAF chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that now a ray of hope appeared for the completion of the project. He said this is the biggest ever funds mobilisation for a public sector entity in which 16 local banks participated. The issuance of Sukuk worth Rs 100 billion for NJHP would go a long way in arranging funds for other hydropower projects.
In #Malaysia Danajamin Nasional is guaranteeing a 17-year sukuk murabahah programme amounting to RM300 million for Chellam Plantations. The first tranche of the programme amounting to RM150 million with a tenure of up to 17 years, was issued and subscribed last Friday. Funds from the sukuk issuance will support Chellam Plantations’ new planting in Kalimantan and expansion in Indonesia. Proceeds from the sukuk will also be used to refinance its outstanding borrowings and finance its capital expenditures. Joint lead arrangers of the transaction are RHB Investment Bank and OCBC Al-Amin Bank.
Sarawak Hidro, the state-owned developer of Malaysia’s biggest hydropower project, plans to offer 5.5 billion ringgit ($1.3 billion) of sukuk without a government guarantee. The electricity generator is weaning off government guarantees to ease the nation’s fiscal burden. Sarawak Hidro’s plant on Borneo island is part of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s $444 billion development plan to become a developed economy by 2020. Malaysia aims to cut its ratio of debt to gross domestic product to 45% by 2020, from 54.5% at the end of last year.
Le Sénégal a lancé cette semaine son deuxième emprunt obligataire sous la forme de sukuk. L’opération consiste en la levée de 150 milliards de F CFA (228,6 millions d’euros), à travers l’émission de 15 millions de parts d’une valeur nominale de 10 000 F CFA, sur le marché financier de l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA). La période de souscription de cette levée de fonds s’étend sur un mois (du 20 au 19 juillet). Elle offre une marge annuelle de profit de 6 % avec une maturité de 10 ans.
Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Company (Pvt) Limited has entered into a financing agreement amounting to Rs 100 bn with a consortium of 16 banks led by National Bank of Pakistan for raising funds through one of the largest Shariah-compliant facility. The financing is based on Diminishing Musharika structured by NBP Aitemaad. The Sukuk is structured with a tenor of 10 years and is backed by the sovereign guarantee from Government of Pakistan.
NJHPC mandated National Bank of Pakistan to act as Mandated Lead Arranger for arrangement of up to Rs 100 billion through issuance of rated, secured and privately placed Sukuks to partially finance the construction of strategically important 969 MW hydel power project located in District Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir. For this financing, a signing ceremony was held on Wednesday here and attended by President & CEO NBP Syed Iqbal Ashraf, Chairman Wapda Zafar Mahmood, member finance Wapda Anwaar ul Haq, CEO NJHPCL Lieutenant General Muhammad Zubair and other presidents and senior officials of all the 16 participating financial institutions.
As the referendum on whether to leave or remain in the European Union looms in the UK, voices are getting louder, particularly in the country’s financial industry that it would not necessarily be a good idea to vote for a Brexit. Since the weight of the UK in the global financial market is substantial – the financial sector of the City of London has a 20% share in the global market for trading foreign securities and a sizeable part of it depends on the UK’s access to the internal EU market – such a strong position would be certainly threatened.
This could have serious impact on the growing role of Islamic finance in Europe which is entrenched in the UK and from there makes its way into the continent. Since the 1990s, when the first mortgages in the UK were set up in line with Shariah law, the country has aggregated the most advanced experience in Shariah-compliant finance in the Western world. Corporate sukuk followed a decade later, and in 2014, the UK became the first country in the EU to issue some sovereign sukuk and listed them on the London stock exchange. From then on, Islamic finance steadily entered the rest of Europe.
Issuance of Sukuk is up all around the world, up on last year, due to current economic factors and the goodwill for the instrument among global investors
The good news on the Sukuk front is continuing. The proportion of Sukuk bond issuance hit a record in the first quarter of 2016 in the main markets for this form of finance, said Fitch Ratings. According to Fitch’s data, there is a clear upwards trend in use of Shari'ah-compliant borrowing as more countries create legal frameworks to support issuance and as issuers try to attract a broader investor base, including Islamic finance investors.
Total new Sukuk issuance in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Singapore and Pakistan was around $11.1 billion in the first quarter of 2016, with a maturity of 18 months. Issuance was up 22% from the fourth quarter of 2015 and 21% from a year earlier, while non-Sukuk bond issuance of $17.1 billion was down 23% quarter on quarter and 45% year on year. Sukuk represented 39.3% of total bond and Sukuk issuance in these countries during the quarter—the highest proportion in the past eight years.
Highlights and Performance
Bloomberg Malaysia Sukuk
Bloomberg Malaysia Sukuk Ex-MYR Total Return and Dow Jones Sukuk Total Return indices ended relatively flat at 103.9 (+0.02%) and 159.8 +0.01%) respectively, with yields tightened marginally by 0.6bps to 2.470%. Combined with the Fed‘s dovish meeting (June 15), uncertainty over the Brexit referendum jitters (June 23) and mixed signals from China over slowing economy bring the risk-adverse sentiment. The top performers over the week were INDOIS 3/26 and GS 9/19, which moved -11bps to -13bps; while the underperformers were dominated by banking papers — EIB 1/17, Noor Bank B3T1 and DIB B2T1 which widened 12bps each.
Bank Indonesia cuts key policy rates by 25bps in a surprise move, with the BI rate, deposit facility rate and 7-day reverse repo rate now stand at 6.50%, 4.50% and 5.25% respectively. In addition to the rate cut, BI also raised the minimum threshold on loan-to-funding ratio to 80% from 78%. Indonesia risk premiums widened 1.5bps to 196.0bps.
A Riyal denominated Sukuk has been issued by the Saudi International Petrochemical Company. The company announced the successful completion of the issuance amounting to SAR 1.0 bn on June 16, 2016. The Sukuk was priced at 235 bps over six months SAIBOR for tenor of five years maturing on June 16, 2021. Riyadh Capital and NCB Capital helped to arrange the private issuance.
In the hard currency space, the Commercial Bank of Qatar issued a Eurobond which achieved the tightest spread for a MENA financial institution this year, conventional or Sukuk.
Whilst the issuance was not a Sukuk, demand for bond indicates strong investor appetite, a good sign of market demand which is likely to be tested with several large planned issuances post Ramadan. Most eagerly anticipated is a potential sovereign issuance by Saudi Arabia, as well as by Aramco, the Saudi national oil giant.
RAM Ratings has collaborated with Saturna Sdn Bhd to examine the similarities and explore the potential convergence between Islamic finance and sustainable and responsible investing. SRI has become increasingly more important in line with rising awareness about the environment, social and governance issues among regulators and investors.
The growth of SRI assets has been gathering momentum, having expanded from $13.3 trillion in 2012 to $21.4 trillion in 2014 and outpacing the growth of global professionally managed assets with a record expansion of 61 per cent.
The embodiment of SRI with the principles of fairness, equality and ethics reflects the same philosophies as those of Islamic finance, said RAM Ratings. In fact, the overlapping core values between Islamic finance and SRI could offer a solution vis-a-vis penetrating the conventional market and providing the impetus to mainstream Islamic finance. Furthermore, linkages with the Sukuk market may effectively build up a sustainable sukuk supply base, which will have a tremendous multiplier effect on staging Islamic finance’s next phase of growth.
Saudi Arabia's Bank Al Bilad has received regulatory approval to issue a capital-boosting sukuk worth as much as 2 bn riyals ($533.3 m), it said in a bourse statement on Sunday.
The issue will enhance its Tier 2, or supplementary, capital and last for 10 years, although the bank has the option to redeem the sukuk after the fifth year, according to the filing.
Sources told Reuters last month that Bank Al Bilad, one of the smaller lenders in Saudi Arabia, had chosen HSBC's local unit to arrange the Islamic bond offering. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals)
In a statement to the Tadawul, Saudi International Petrochemical Company announced the successful completion of a Shari’ah-compliant Sukuk issuance amounting to SAR 1.0 bn on 16 June 2016.
The Sukuk was priced at 235 bps over six-month SAIBOR for a tenor of five years maturing on June 16, 2021.
Eng. Ahmad Al-Ohali, Chief Executive Officer of Sipchem, commented that the successful completion of its second Sukuk offering will provide funding for general corporate purposes (including, without limitation, the repayment of any financial obligations). He expressed his appreciation to all who participated in the success of the Sukuk offering especially Riyad Capital and NCB Capital for their efforts in successfully managing the private issuance.
In a separate statement to the Tadawul, Sipchem also reported that with reference to the announcement to the market dated 12 May 2016 regarding the company’s intention to exercise its right of early redemption of its Mudaraba Sukuk with an aggregate amount of SAR 1.8 billion maturing on 6 July 2016, Sipchem successfully completed the early redemption of the Sukuk in full on 15 June 2016.
The country’s leading Sharia-compliant lender, Qatar Islamic Bank now controls more than 43.5% of the Islamic banking market share in Qatar and 11.5% of the overall market. The quality of its customer service, portfolio of products and services, solid financial performance and measured approach to growth have also contributed to it recently adding the ‘Best Bank in Qatar’ honor from Euromoney to its list of awards. Group CEO Bassel Gamal explains QIB’s winning formula, its dedicated support for SMEs, and the opportunities Islamic finance holds for clients and investors.
What are the main opportunities in Islamic finance in Qatar?
Islamic finance has recorded many significant achievements over the last few years as it continued to strengthen its capabilities and grow by providing the products and services, as well as the capacity, to structure and finance major infrastructure projects in Qatar, in line with the country’s National Vision 2030.
On the demand side, the institutional demand for high quality liquid assets are expected to keep sukuk demand high. As we get closer to the deadline of Basel III implementation, the lack of liquidity management instruments in Islamic finance is pushing this issue to the forefront.
Among the global economic developments, one positive driver for sukuk issuance could be the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing that might prompt some European investors to take positions on higher-yielding but riskier emerging-markets assets such as sukuk. Negative interest rates in Europe and Japan also are likely to attract investor of Gulf sukuk issues.
In 2015, the market saw $11.3 bn (17% to the total) in sukuk issuance for liquidity management purposes. The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp. alone issued $6.4 bn and is actively working on providing solutions to the market. Other stakeholders such as sovereign and central banks are now conscious of the role they have to play. In 2015, the market also saw another $4.9 bn issued in form of capital-boosting sukuk by financial institutions in the GCC and Malaysia.
Plans by the Philippines to sell Islamic bonds could open a new source of financing for the incoming government of Rodrigo Duterte. Governments across Asia are increasingly viewing sukuk as a viable funding option, with Hong Kong open to tap the market for a third time while Sri Lanka and the Maldives consider debuts. A sukuk from these debutante countries could widen the Asian market that is dominated by sovereign deals from Malaysia and Indonesia. The Duterte government would have to work on a legal framework to facilitate sukuk, which could prove difficult in a busy agenda. Ashraf Mohammed, Assistant General Counsel of Asian Development Bank, said despite the concerns, interest is growing in the region to use Sukuk for infrastructure financing.
Conyers advised DP World on the recent establishment of a sukuk program comprising up to US$3 billion of sukuk certificates to be listed on the Nasdaq Dubai, as well as the successful first drawdown of US$1.2 billion thereunder. Linklaters advised the joint lead managers and bookrunners, who included Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Emirates NBD, First Gulf Bank, J.P. Morgan Securities, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Société Générale. Fawaz Elmalki and Oliver J. Simpson of Conyers’ Dubai office advised on the matter.
The worst time for global markets may be the best time for Hong Kong’s government to carry out its planned third Islamic bond sale. Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management says the time is ripe for a sukuk. The yield on the city’s five-year Shariah-compliant bonds sold in September 2014 has fallen 32 basis points to 1.56% since February. Sales of dollar sukuk are at an all-time high for this time of year, suggesting there’s appetite for an issue by Hong Kong, rated AAA by S&P Global Ratings.