South Africa Hires Three Banks for Debut Sukuk Offering

South Africa said it appointed BNP Paribas SA, KFH Investment and Standard Bank Group Ltd. to arrange a debut sukuk sale of at least $500 million. Investor meetings will reportedly run from Sept. 8 to Sept. 12 in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. A sukuk issue may follow but the timing will depend on market conditions. South Africa is looking to issue a benchmark-size sukuk. Former South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan earmarked $1.5 billion of foreign issuance over this and the next two fiscal years in his February budget, including a sukuk of as much as $500 million. Standard & Poor’s cut South Africa’s rating to BBB-, on par with Russia and Brazil, in June, with a stable outlook. Fitch Ratings has a negative outlook on its BBB assessment, the second-lowest investment grade.