Brunei bank seeks $1.6-billion sukuk mandates

Brunei Darussalam’s only Islamic bank hopes oil industry investment will help stoke a sukuk market now dominated by government issuance of short-term Shariah-compliant bills. Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam is seeking to arrange as much as B$2 billion ($1.6 billion) of corporate debt in the next 12 months as companies seek to fund projects aimed at boosting crude oil output. Islamic banking assets total about $6.8 billion in the Southeast Asian sultanate, which funds investment largely with its oil wealth. Bank Islam currently supplies Shariah-compliant loans and a global corporate sukuk it was underwriting two years ago never came to fruition.While Brunei’s corporate sukuk has been in a lull, the formation of a central bank is a positive development for the market.