Tunisian firms prepare to issue Islamic bonds

Tunisian firms are preparing to issue Islamic bonds as the government finalises rules covering the sector, creating a new funding option for companies in an economy buffeted by labour unrest and militant attacks. Best Lease aims to raise up to 30 million dinars ($15.6 million) to finance its growth, with Banque Zitouna and El Wifack Leasing also considering sukuk issues. State-owned electricity and water utilities may follow suit, while national carrier Tunisair could tap the market later after clearing legislative hurdles. The government is also preparing to issue its first sovereign sukuk this year. Meanwhile, the IDB is helping to establish an Islamic microfinance institution in Tunisia.