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Emirates NBD mulls sukuk

Abdul Basit / 29 November 2011

DUBAI - Emirates NBD, the UAE’s largest bank by assets, plans to explore opportunities for selling dollar-denominated Islamic bond, or sukuk, for the first time and its size is expected to be decided in the next 15 days, chief executive officer Rick Pudner said.

The bank is considering a five-year security and will look at markets where there is demand, Pudner told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference on Monday.

“…. Like everyone, we are looking at the opportunities in the sukuk arena and we are just reviewing our options,” he said, adding: “We are looking at five-year but the size we are not sure. We will determine that over the next week or two weeks.”

Emirates NBD could mandate banks as early as this week, Reuters said quoting four banking sources. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said ENBD has drawn up a shortlist of seven or eight banks from which it will select the institutions which will manage the sale. This list includes National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Standard Chartered, HSBC, Citi, Royal Bank of Scotland and ENBD itself. “We have not mandated any banks yet,” Pudner said. “There were quite a few issues recently so we have decided to wait a little bit and see what the right timing is for going into the market,” he added.

Sukuk sales in the Gulf countries rose to $1.75 billion so far this quarter, the highest amount since the three months ended June 2010. Two banks in the UAE alone raised $1 billion as this month Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank sold $500 million of five-year dollar-denominated sukuk, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank issued $500 million of sukuk, and within the region Bahrain issued $750 million in seven-year Islamic notes earlier this month.

The global economic slowdown and concerns over some European countries’ debt crisis have delayed bond plans by several regional issuers earlier this year.Separately, Pudner said the bank expects credit growth to be between 3 per cent and 4 per cent next year.

“We haven’t seen any guidance yet. Maybe we will get some in the near future,” he said responding to a question regarding sanctions on Syria by the Arab League.—abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com

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