Khazanah debuts ethical Islamic bonds with annual sales planned

Malaysia’s state-owned sovereign wealth fund is about to test appetite for the nation’s first socially responsible Islamic bonds and plans to issue such debt annually. Khazanah Nasional Bhd will start marketing as much as RM150 million (US$42 million) of the seven-year sukuk today, Chief Financial Officer Mohd Izani Ghani said. The offering will fund 20 schools in Malaysia, he said, adding that future sale options may include healthcare and affordable housing. The SRI sukuk will pay fixed, periodical profit rates throughout the bond’s term, with principal repayments linked to the individual school’s performance in terms of the quality of education provided, said Izani. Before maturity, the profit rate will be adjusted lower, he said. The “step-down yield” could be 100 basis points below the coupon rate.