Sukuk

Fixed Income market seen as important to Gulf growth

Sean Davidson wrote on 13 February in Business 24/7 about the importance of an active sovereign bond market to strengthen Gulf monetary policies allowing for an integrated market for local currency government bonds where the central, local and forweign banks, individuals and other institutional investors can participate - a matter which plenty of economists agree to.

The UAE government has indicated plans to issue conventional bonds and sukuk in the near future with maturities of up to 30 years.

Islamic Securitization - The Right Way Forward?

Heiko Hesse, Andreas Jobst and Juan A. Sole published on RGEmonitor on 13 February an analysis regarding Islamic Securitization and the grown interest for Islamic finance during the financial crisis.

Islamic finance is driven by the general precept of extending religious doctrine in the shari’ah to financial agreements and transactions. Predatory lending, deteriorating underwriting standards, and a series of incentive problems between originators, arrangers, and sponsors, of which all have infested the conventional securitization process, belie fundamental Islamic principles.

The article linked in the source relates the characteristics of this form of securitization to calls for enhanced disclosure and standardization, ratings agency reforms, and better transparency of origination and underwriting practices in conventional structured finance. In particular, it assesses the potential of conflicts of interest (which became apparent in the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis) to contaminate the integrity of the securitization process if it were conducted in compliance with shari’ah principles.

Yields in the Gulf rising strongly

Soren Billing reported on 10 February in Arabianbusiness that credit default swaps for Mideast lenders have risen substantially led by Bahrain, spreads have widened by 174.2 basis points (bps) in the last three months, followed by Saudi Arabia (114.8 bps), Abu Dhabi (96.7 bps) and Qatar at (70 bps), Corporates in the region have been hit even harder. The CDS spreads on Dubai based companies range between 600 bps and 1,100 bps, which is significantly higher than on Abu Dhabi based corporations, which range between 250 bps and 400 bps. The yield on Nakheel’s Sukuk that matures on Dec. 14 this year reached 41.9 % from 27.7 % a month ago.

Western companies looking to Sukuk

Cecilia Valente and Frederik Richter reported 10 February on Reuters, that Western companies, especially in the UK and France, are considering issuing Sukuk to tap Middle Eastern investors.

PLUS plans RM 1 bn Sukuk sales to pay debt, fund projects

PLUS Expressways Bhd, Malaysia’s largest toll-road operator, plans to sell RM 1 bn, 5-year Sukuk to help repay maturing debt and finance expansion projects. Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd supports the sale of the Sukuk. The company aims to raise RM 350 mn in the coming months to refinance debt maturing in June and to raise another RM 200 mn in the second half of the year to fund a road project in Indonesia.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank bolsters Tier 1 capital with government funds

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is issuing a Tier 1 capital Sukuk to the government of Abu Dhabi, raising AED 2 bn (USD 545 mn). The issuance of the Sukuk was approved by ADIB's board of directors on 3 February 2009, and will be subject to obtaining shareholder approval. The Sukuk will pay an expected return at a rate of 6 % per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears from (and including) the issue date for a period of 5 years, and thereafter at a rate, reset and payable semi-annually in arrears, reflecting the initial margin above the then prevailing six month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate.

Tirad Mahmoudis the Chief Executive Officer of ADIB.

Noor Islamic the UAE's top lead arranger in 2008

Noor Islamic Bank topped the 2008 Bloomberg list of leading Sharia’ah compliant Lead Arrangers in the UAE and ranked third on the list of leading Islamic finance Book Runners in the country in its first year of operation.

Hussain Al Qemzi is the CEO of Noor Islamic Bank.

Law firm Ashurst announces formation of Islamic finance restructuring team

Ashurst has formed a multidiscipline team of lawyers from across its global network to assist clients with Islamic finance restructuring and Sharia compliant distressed financings. This comes as a result of increasing client demand for assistance with Sharia compliant transactions and investments that require restructuring due to current market conditions.

Moody`s may downgrade Dubai companies and related Sukuk

Moody's may downgrade its debt and Sukuk ratings of six Dubai companies, including DP World and Emaar Properties by as much as two notches each following a review in the coming weeks.

In addition to Emaar and DP World, Moody's said it was reviewing ratings of DIFC Investments, Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA).

Emirates NBD launches Sukuk fund

Emirates NBD has launched a fund to take advantage of the high yields currently available in Sukuk following the steep price declines in Q4 2008 caused by the wider turmoil in global financial markets. The Shari’a-compliant Fund targets annualized returns of c.12% over the next four years.

Jamal Bin Ghalaita, General Manager of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates NBD, sees Sukuk as undervalued after panic selling last year.

Minimum investment of USD 25,000 for individual investors and USD 1,000,000 for institutional investors. The secondary sukuk market is difficult to access but, by investing through the Fund, investors benefit from scale, diversification, and the skills of expert fund managers. Should the Fund meet certain return targets, the Fund will be called and gains will be locked in for investors.

BNP Paribas Investment Partners launches Sukuk Fund

BNP Paribas Investment Partners currently manages about half a billion USD in Sharia compliant assets and targets according to the chief executive MENA Tariq Al Samahiji to multiply this amount. The bank currently offers equity Sharia management and has recently started marketing its first Islamic bond or sukuk fund.
Al Samahiji expected the sukuk fund to attract investments from institutions and wealthy individuals, but stressed BNP would not market the fund to the retail market.

Darakhim Sukuk Basket presented in Kazakhstan

Caspionet reported on 28 January, that Darakhim Sukuk Basket have been presented in Kazakhstan. It is expected that insurance companies, unit investment funds and pension funds will become the chief buyers of the new investment offer. Basically, they represent the companies of the Middle Eastern states, so they are issues of the central bank of Bahrain, the government of the Arab emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. It is expected that the profitability will amount to 10 % at a minimum with a circulation period of 3 years.

PT Bank Negara Indonesia to sell sukuk in Malaysia

Business Times reported on 30 January PT Bank Negara Indonesia, the nation’s third-largest state financial services company, plans its first Islamic debt sale in Malaysia, president director Gatot Suwondo said.

Plans are about USD 50 mn, with a 5-year and 10-year maturity if the pricing is attractive.

Turkey sovereign bond sales quarter of expectations

Nevzat Devranoglu and Thomas Grove reported on 28 January on Reuters that theTurkish Treasury sold only a quarter of an expected YTL 1.89 bn in its first issue of an income-indexed bond, considered a type of Islamic bond, as it attempts to boost capital inflows by tapping the Gulf region.

Indonesia sets coupon rate for retail sukuk

Indonesia has set a coupon rate of 12 % for its first 3-year retail Sukuk, which is due to be issued on Feb. 25 according to the ministry of finance.

Gatehouse Bank plc announces the establishment and first issue under the Milestone Sukuk platform

Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the establishment of a USD 1 bn Sukuk programme by Milestone Capital PCC ("Milestone"). Gatehouse Bank is the Arranger and Dealer of the Milestone programme as published in a press release via Zawya on 27 January.

The first Sukuk issue under the Milestone platform was successfully completed recently. The Milestone programme is listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange and certificates issued under the programme are entered into the Euroclear and Clearstream clearing systems, with BNP Paribas Securities Services acting as common depositary. Milestone Capital PCC is a Jersey based orphan Protected Cell Company, designed to allow the efficient creation of new, segregated, bankruptcy remote cells. Each cell has the ability to issue a diverse range of Sukuk certificates, which is proving very appealing for issuers and investors alike.

David Testa is the CEO of Gatehouse. Ashurst LLP is the legal advisor to Gatehouse Bank on the transaction.

2008 Sees Worst Decline in Sukuk Market, Improvement in Islamic Syndicated Lending, Says IFIS

IFIS published a report on 24 January discussed on Albawaba that Sukuk or Islamic bond markets have witnessed a dramatic decline during 2008, especially during the 4th Quarter, which was the lowest since 2002, and 2008 was a worse year for sukuk than both 2006 and 2007 with no issuances even of a Dollar Sukuk and the total amount dropping to only USD 584 mn in Q4 2008. South East Asia was more severely impacted than the GCC in 2008, with issuance falling by 76% down to USD 6.57 bn for the entire year. The decline in the GCC was quite severe as well, however, with issuance falling to USD 9.06 bn, a 51% drop. The global total for sukuk issuance, USD 15.77 bn, was 66% lower than the figure for 2007. This is the first year on year drop in sukuk issuance since the year 2000.

Islamic syndicated lending expanded from USD 19.6 bn in 2007 to USD 27.2 bn in 2008, a 32% increase. But as with credit markets worldwide, Islamic syndicated lending froze almost completely in Q4 2008.

Moody's may downgrade Alaqaria rating

Tradearabia reported on 22 January that Moody's Investors Service has placed the A2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings for Qatar Real Estate Investment Company (Alaqaria) under review for possible downgrade. The moves comes following the new Qatari government directive to merge Alaqari with Barwa Real Estate Company. Moody's has also placed the $300 million Trust Certificates (sukuk) issued by Qatar Alaqaria Sukuk Company (QASC) under review.

Turkey: Treasury to issue non-interest bonds

The Treasury of Turkey announced it will sell bonds linked to income at four state enterprises. The Treasury will issue the bonds in Turkish Liras and dollars Jan. 28 after collecting bids Jan. 26 and 27. The total issuance will be YTL 1.89 bn, or USD 1.15 bn. The papers will be linked to income at four state enterprises, namely oil company TPAO, the state stationary office DMO, the government-run airports authority DHMI and the coast safety authority, or KIYEM. The Treasury statement did not clarify whether the new revenue-index bonds were compliant with Islamic investment principles. Last month, Selim Ye?ilba?, the head of the international finance markets department at the Turkish Undersecretariat of Treasury, said to Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review the new borrowing method would be "based on rent certificates."

Sukuk market struggles

Shanthy Nambiar and Aloysius Unditu reported on Bloomberg on 21 January about the outlook of the Sukuk market. A long line of sovereign and corporate issuers in GCC and Asia are delaying their issuance due to market constraints.

The average extra yield on corporate and government sukuk above the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, is now 11.1 %, up from 1.9 % a year ago, according to HSBC-DIFX indices. That spread widened to a record 11.9 % in December, compared with 6.97 % for non-Islamic bonds in the Middle East.

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