Saudi Arabia is expected to raise several billion US dollar sukuk across five and 10-year tranches. The notes will be in a hybrid mudaraba-murahaba format, a structure in essence already trialled by Saudi Aramco for a riyal-denominated sukuk. The kingdom is rated A1 by Moody's and A+ by Fitch. The banks running the deal are BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and NCB Capital. The national oil company Saudi Aramco raised SR11.25bn riyals in order to diversify its revenues impacted by low international oil prices. The floating rate local currency sukuk has a seven-year maturity and offers 25bp over the six-month Saudi Arabian Interbank Offered Rate.
Saudi Aramco is paying a significant premium to the government and to its previous borrowing in its first sukuk sale. Aramco is offering 7-year, riyal-denominated sukuk at 25 basis points (bps) over the six-month Saudi Arabian Interbank Offered Rate (SAIBOR). The private placement, part of a 37.5 billion riyal ($10 billion) Islamic bond programme, could be as large as about 6 billion. It is expected to take place early next week. Riyadh is restructuring the company and its regulatory environment to make Aramco attractive as an investment. But major decisions on the company's structure and its post-IPO dividend policy have not been announced. Alinma Investment, HSBC Saudi Arabia, NCB Capital and Riyad Capital are the joint lead coordinators. They are joined by GIB Capital, Samba Capital and Saudi Fransi Capital in dealer roles.
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.
In the face of plummeting oil prices, Saudi Arabia has announced an economic strategy to shake off Saudi overreliance on fossil fuels. In the 'Saudi Vision 2030' Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman proposed changes to generate $100 bn in additional non-oil revenue by 2020. In order to do that, the 30-year-old monarch plans to restructure Saudi Aramco, the state oil company. Less than 5% of Aramco’s stake would undergo an initial public offering, with an expected value of $2 trillion. The ownership of the rest to the company would be transferred to Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund (PIF). Prince Mohammed also called for the private sector to grow to 60% from the current 40%. Government services like education, health care and airports will be transferred to the private sector. As the country adjusts to the transition, economic growth is expected to slow as private sector expands.
Saudi Arabia is considering offering shares in the largest oil company in the world, Saudi Aramco, in an initial public offering (IPO) which may mean that assets of about 3.63 trillion US dollars will be accessible to citizens and investors. Saudi Aramco yesterday confirmed that it had been considering various options to provide the opportunity to a large segment of investors via an IPO in the finance market. The company said in a statement that it is studying two scenarios to present its shares for an IPO; the first is to sell an appropriate share of its assets directly, and the second is to offer a package of major projects for the IPO in several sectors, particularly the refining and chemicals sector. In addition to this, Aramco could sell about 5% of its assets which amounts to about 181.5 billion dollars in the stock market.