Bloomberg Businessweek

Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank Raises $500 Million From Islamic Bonds

Government-owned Al Hilal Bank PJSC raised $500 million from the sale of perpetual bonds. The Shariah-compliant securities, which don’t mature, will pay a coupon of 5.5 percent. Pricing was tightened from an original guidance of about 6 percent as bids of about $5 billion were received. Al Hilal Bank, Citigroup Inc., Emirates NBD Capital Ltd., HSBC Holdings Plc, National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC and Standard Chartered Plc managed Al Hilal’s bond sale. The lender has the fifth-highest investment grade rating at Moody’s Investors Service.

Goldman Sachs to Advise Bank Asya on Qatar Stake Sale Talks

Asya Katilim Bankasi AS (ASYAB), the Turkish banks in talks to sell a stake to Qatar Islamic Bank, has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS:US) as exclusive financial adviser on the deal. The Istanbul-based lender said in March that it was in exclusive talks with QIB for a strategic partnership, while the Doha-based bank said it was interested to take a stake in the lender. Bank Asya, in today’s filing, didn’t give more details. Bank Asya fell 2.9 percent to 1.66 liras at 10:35 a.m. in Istanbul. It’s gained about 14 percent this year.

Turkey Wants More Bank Entrants as Acquisition Field Narrows (1)

Turkey’s Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said the government wants more foreign lenders to apply for operating licenses as the country’s pool of potential bank acquisition targets shrinks. The focus on licenses comes after Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. announced last month that it was buying Tekstilbank AS and Qatar Islamic Bank said on March 26 that was nearing the end of exclusive talks to buy a stake in Asya Katilim Bankasi AS. (ASYAB). While the acquisition field narrows, Turkey’s regulator said it will look favorably on applications for banking licenses as the government encourages foreign investment.

Dubai Sells First Bonds in 15 Months With $750 Million Sukuk (3)

Dubai tapped capital markets for the first time in more than a year with the sale of $750 million of 15-year Islamic bonds as the emirate seeks to pay debt and finance its budget amid a property-market recovery. The Dubai government’s securities will reportedly price to yield 5 percent. The price Dubai paid for the sukuk indicates a significant improvement in the credit quality. The sale comes after Abu Dhabi agreed last month to roll over $20 billion of debt for five years, helping push Dubai’s credit risk to 165 basis points on April 4. Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB), Emirates NBD Capital Ltd., HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC and Standard Chartered Plc managed the sale.

Saudi Arabia’s Algosaibi Calls Meet on $5.9 Billion Default (3)

Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co. invited creditors including BNP Paribas SA (BNP) and Standard Chartered Plc to discuss claims on $5.9 billion of debt as it seeks to recover from the Middle East’s biggest default. The Saudi Arabian company will outline proposals aimed at achieving a comprehensive settlement with more than 70 creditors at a May 7 meeting in Dubai. The company didn’t give further details on the proposed terms. Banks rejected an original debt restructuring proposal from Algosaibi four years ago. Algosaibi hired Simon Charlton, former head of forensic services in the Middle East for Deloitte LLP, as chief restructuring officer and Ben Jones, also from Deloitte, as chief financial officer last June to restructure its operations.

Yale Grad Trusts in Bank of Baghdad to Help Deliver Returns

According to Grant Felgenhauer, a portfolio manager at Euphrates Iraq Fund, the opportunities offered by Iraqi equities overshadow anything else in the world today. Felgenhauer returned 28 percent last year with bets on Iraqi shares such as Bank of Baghdad, compared with a 9.5 percent decline for Iraq’s ISX General Index. That helped make New York-based Euphrates the fourth-best performing emerging-market fund managing more than $50 million in 2013. Iraq is drawing investors from specialized hedge funds to global banks including Citigroup and Standard Chartered as the oil-rich nation rebuilds 11 years after the U.S.-led invasion. The economy will expand 6.3 percent this year and crude production is estimated to rise to 9 million barrels a day by 2020.

Aston Martin Owner Said to Cut Debt as Creditors Accept Deal (1)

Investment Dar Co. will reduce borrowings after creditors holding 30 percent of its debt signed up to a new loan deal backed by assets including luxury carmaker Aston Martin. The lenders to the Kuwaiti company agreed to a cash payment totaling 5.7 percent of their debt and a portion of a new Islamic loan equal to about 44 percent. While the new deal represents a writedown of 50 percent it gives creditors more security over the assets. Nine assets will back the new facility, with Investment Dar’s 34 percent stake in Aston Martin the most significant. Creditors not taking the offer retain their claims under the approved restructuring plan. Lenders who have taken the settlement will become 15 percent shareholders in the company holding the assets, while the new $437 million Islamic loan will be repaid through unscheduled asset sales and has a tenor of up to seven years.

Saudi Arabia's Affordable Housing Shortage

After years of giving away land to citizens, the Saudi Arabian government is left with almost no space of its own to develop in urban areas. That will delay building as the government chooses between buying back city plots whose price has been inflated by speculation or paying a premium to build in the desert. Saudi authorities plan to address the lack of available urban land as part of a national housing strategy that includes measures to combat land speculation and incentives to build. To meet its affordable housing needs, Saudi Arabia must either build in the desert or force urban landowners to develop their empty lots.

EFG-Hermes Takeover by QInvest Mired in Delays as Deadline Nears

The takeover of EFG-Hermes Holding SAE (HRHO), Egypt’s biggest investment bank, by Qatar’s QInvest LLC is mired in delays almost a year after the transaction was agreed. The deal is set to expire on May 4 unless it receives a so- called no objection from Egypt’s regulator on the transfer of its assets to Qatar. The terms of the deal include a four Egyptian pound per share dividend once it is complete. However, EFG-Hermes’s co-chief executives are defendents on charges of illicit gains. Therefore, it is expected that the deal will not go through before the lawsuit is finalized.

Dana Gas Completes Restructuring Sukuk Owned by BlackRock

Dana Gas PJSC completed restructuring its $920 million of Islamic bonds after reaching an agreement to pay twice the average yield on emerging markets corporate sukuk. Bondholders, some of which are BlackRock Inc (BLK) and Ashmore Group Plc (ASHM), will be paid $70 million in cash. The remaining Shariah- compliant debt will be split into convertible bonds and an ordinary sukuk of equal value worth $425 million. The profit rate of the five-year convertible bonds will be as high as 7% and the profit rate of ordinary sukuk 9 respectively.

Gulf Sukuk Beat Loans for First Time Since 2006: Islamic Finance

The sales of Persioan Gulf Sukuk are notably higher than Shariah-compliant loans in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. This has not happened since 2006. The reason pointed out is that borrowers seize on tumbling yields to finance roads and airports. The sukuk sales in the GCC are almost four times larger this year, to a large extent due to the sales of Saudi Arabian state-run Civil Aviation Authority and of the Qatari government. Compared to that, Shariah-compliant loans show a growth of only 57%.

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Turkish Sukuk Gains Momentum as Airline Readies Debut Sale

Turkey's Islamic bond market continues to improve after government sold its first lira-denominated sukuk. Major domestic companies are now considering the issuance of their own corporate bonds. The government's sukuk has also lured Middle East investors aiming to diversify their portfolios which could drive the sales of Sukuk-compliant products on Turkish market.

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