Business Times

S&P sees Malaysia leading sukuk

Malaysia is dominating global sales of sukuk in 2013 and Standard & Poor’s forecasts the trend will continue this year. Issuance in the Southeast Asian currency may account for more than 74 per cent of worldwide offerings, compared with 49 per cent in 2008. Global sales of Shariah-compliant notes, including government securities, may exceed US$100 billion in 2013 after rising 64 per cent to US$138 billion last year. Malaysia’s Islamic banking assets climbed 14 per cent last year to a record RM494.6 billion. Moreover, Shariah insurers, or takaful operators, saw assets rise 12 per cent to RM19 billion.

HSBC Amanah on rural expansion drive

Islamic banks in Malaysia and Indonesia are opening new branches in rural areas as they target the newly rich in Southeast Asia’s largest Muslim nations. HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd added 22 outlets in the last three years, bringing the total to 26 across the country. PT BRI Syariah, a unit of PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia, will set up 94 branches in 2013 to meet demand in smaller cities. The bank predicts its shariah-compliant savings will increase 73 per cent to a record 19 trillion rupiah (US$1.9 billion). Besides, increasing savings may help spur demand for sukuk as banks look to invest their funds and boost returns.

Paramount inks RM550m private bonds

Paramount Corporation Bhd (PCB) signed two private bond programmes worth RM550 million today with Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd, OCBC Bank and RHB Investment Bank. The deals consist of RM200 million Private Debt Securities programme, which allows PCB to issue RM200 million perpetual bonds, and a RM350 million Sukuk Ijarah Programme for PCB's unit, KDU University College Sdn Bhd. Group Chief Executive Officer Chan Say Yeong said the perpetual bonds provide PCB with access to capital to fund its growth plans, while the Sukuk will finance the building of the new KDU UC campus at Ultrapolis in Glenmarie, Shah Alam.

KDU unit to issue RM350m sukuk ijarah

The Paramount Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KDU University College, plans to issue Islamic medium-term notes (sukuk ijarah) of up to RM350 million in nominal value. Hong Leong Investment Bank, OCBC Al-Amin Bank and RHB Investment Bank are the joint principal advisers, arrangers and lead managers for the sukuk programme. The Securities Commission Malaysia had approved the issuance of the proposed sukuk programme via a letter on January 31.

Prasarana plans RM6b sukuk for projects

Syarikat Prasarana Negara plans to sell sukuk worth up to RM6 billion this year in order to fund infrastructure projects. Moreover, it is set to list its rail unit, Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd, on the local bourse by 2018 to mark further expansion in the company. The unit will be listed as soon as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail project is completed, which is scheduled for 2017.

UMW plans RM2b sukuk for refinancing

Malaysian car distributor UMW is going to launch a refinancing program worth 2 billion ringgit ($653 million) in order to refinance existing debt and fund investment. The 15-year plan will be arranged by Maybank Investment Bank and Standard Chartered

Malaysia takaful firms target Indonesia

Since Malaysian home takaful market is bound to tight rules, Islamic insurers direct their expansion towards neighbouring Indonesia aiming to tap three times faster growth. Great Eastern Takaful Sdn Bhd already has a facility in Jakarta and now intends to address low-income people in the region. Etiqa Takaful Bhd also plans expansion in Indonesia - it focuses on buying an Indonesian Islamic insurer.

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Strengthening the Islamic banking platform

Offers for strategic partnerships with foreign investors in plantation projects have been put up by Indonesian Islamic banks among which Bank Mandiri. This way, the Islamic banking platform shall be strengthened. Loan syndication for the purpose of financing medium and large scale projects is proposed. This kind of cooperation would result in an increase in the efficiency and better risk management as well as stronger Islamic banking.

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Liquidity management challenge

Mushtak Parker gave an interview on a series of topics, among wich the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM), education in Islamic finance, moving the industry to US$2 trillion (RM6.22 trillion), scholars on multiple boards, and the late Dr Zaki Badawi. Parker expressed his opinion that even though the establishment and goals of IILM are highly commendable, it lacks transparency. This leads to problems in its process of its conception and imediate operation. He fears that IILM will not adress liquidity management leaving thus the gap open.

Zurich interested in takaful

Zurich Financial Group Ltd shows strong interest in involving in the takaful business in Malaysia. Strategically, a takaful arm contributes to the bench strength and access to the increasingly appealing market. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely for Bank Negara Malaysia to issue new takaful licence since they issued new licences to four new players in 2009. The hopes lie in 2014 when the adoption of the Risk Based Capital framework by the takaful industry is expected.

Prasarana sells sukuk for 20pc less

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd is paying 20 per cent less to finance railway expansion than China, as sliding sukuk costs mean. In an interview yesterday the company’s finance director Mohd. Zahir Zahur Hussain said Prasarana RM1 billion each of 2022 and 2027 Syariah-compliant notes to yield 3.77 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively. The government’s debt clearing house website shows China’s Ministry of Railways issued 10-year non-Islamic bonds at a coupon rate of 4.68 per cent on Aug 21 and 15-year securities at 5 per cent.

OSK Investment eyes Islamic stockbroking

OSK Investment Bank plans to set up an Islamic stockbroking business and offer syariah equity-linked investments.

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.

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