Wednesday 27th May 2015
NEWS TICKER: TUESDAY, MAY 26th: The National Settlement Depository (NSD), Russia’s central securities depository, today announced that Alexander Nazarov has been appointed director of research and development Department. Nazarov will be coordinating the issues of product range development and NSD service improvement. His new responsibilities will also include developing the company’s correspondent and international relations - The UK’s Personal Finance Society (PFS) has called for greater control of non-regulated savings and investment activity, by bringing it under ‘the same umbrella’ as regulated advice. PFS chief executive, Keith Richards, said there needs to be greater clarity in the mind of consumers, on the distinction between regulated investment advice and non-regulated activities. The value of bridging loans written in the year ended March 2015 have grown by almost a half on last year’s results, according to Association of Short Term Lenders ASTL's quarterly figures - The UK’s Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) has revealed in its quarterly figures that £2.35bn worth of loans were written by members in the year ended March 2015, where the overall loan book expanded by 43%compared to the same period in 2014. While bridging loan applications are still increasing with a 29% year-on-year rise, the figures showed that the pace has slowed from 63% growth. A 19% drop from Q4 2015 to the first quarter of this year was also highlighted, albeit “not considered to be a concern” – According to press reports, Richard Pyman has taken a leave of absence from his role as Chief Executive Officer at Shawbrook Bank due to illness. Pyman, who was appointed as CEO of the challenger bank in April 2014 after joining the group two years before, is taking temporary leave from his role after following medical advice. Pyman’s leave of absence was announced just as the group released its Q1 2015 results; and the bank began to bed down the proceeds from its early-April IPO, which raised £90m. Tom Wood, the lender’s Chief Financial Officer, will be filling in for Richard during his absence as interim Chief Executive Officer, while still continuing his normal role with support from Stephen Johnson - Cordea Savills, the international property investment manager has sold Erneside Shopping Centre, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland on behalf of a corporate pension fund client for £34.25m. The 163,000 sq ft shopping centre comprises 34 retail units and 666 car parking spaces. It is located in the centre of Enniskillen, the largest town in the region, and the dominant retail location. The centre, which is more than 97% let by floor area, is anchored by Marks & Spencer and Next which is currently being extended to include both their fashion and homeware formats. The asset was acquired by the Fund in 1995 and has evolved with two comprehensive phases of extension and remodelling in 1998-2000 and 2006-2008 -

Investors pile into Islamic bonds

Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Investors pile into Islamic bonds April and May looked to be banner months for sukuk. Two deals, one from the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and the other, from Banque Saudi Fransi, the Saudi lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, marked two rare but popular US dollar denominated issues which were highly prized by investors. The benchmark deals helped underscore growing investor appetite for Islamic bonds. http://www.ftseglobalmarkets.com/

April and May looked to be banner months for sukuk. Two deals, one from the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and the other, from Banque Saudi Fransi, the Saudi lender part-owned by Credit Agricole, marked two rare but popular US dollar denominated issues which were highly prized by investors. The benchmark deals helped underscore growing investor appetite for Islamic bonds.

Saudi Fransi, Saudi Arabia’s fifth largest bank, launched $750m five-year Islamic bond mid-month at par amid strong investor demand for the issue in mid-May. The issue is the bank’s first sukuk sale under a recently-established $2bn debt programme. The sukuk came in at a spread of 185 basis points (bps) over midswaps, at the lower end of its ­indicated range. Initial price guidance was 200bps over midswaps. The deal was heavily oversubscribed, attracting investor orders worth $4bn, under­scoring growing investor appetite for sukuk issuance. The sukuk carries a profit rate of 2.947%. Citi, Deutsche Bank and Credit Agricole were arrangers on the deal.

The deal marks the second dollar denominated sukuk emanating from the Kingdom so far this year. Saudi Electricity’s $1.75bn sukuk, issued three weeks earlier, raised the bar with some $17.5bn in investor orders.  The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), which is rated A1/AA-/AA- all Stable, is the largest utility in the GCC. The issue was made up of a five year $500m tranche and a $1.25bn ten year element. The ­transaction was led by Deutsche Bank and HSBC marked the inaugural ­international sukuk issuance by SEC and the largest international debt capital markets issuance out of Saudi Arabia for some years. The issuer also wanted to achieve a long tenor bond supported by a diversified investor base, which the arrangers helped secure after a comprehensive global road show. The dual-tranche Sukuk transaction was well received globally and generated a large order book with over 440 investors placing orders.



Shortly after the issue the SEC’s chief executive Ali Al Barrak explained, “The sukuk issue is important to us for strengthening our funding mix, accessing longer-tenor financing, broadening our investor base and helping us become more in line with our global peers while supporting SEC’s capital expenditure requirements.”

Saudi Arabian dollar-denominated bonds come to market relatively infrequently, and attract substantial demand when they do; illustrating that Gulf issuers are benefiting from their own economic micro-climate and are providing something of an oasis for investors starved of comprehensive corporate issuance opportunities. 

Investor appetite for the deals was marked and might just be a sign of a growing preference for Islamic instruments. The evidence is still thin: however Banque Saudi Fransi’s existing $650m conventional bond, which carries interest of 4.5% and matures in 2015, was bid at just over 103.97 in the second week of May, to yield about 2.8%, coming under some selling pressure ahead of the new issue.

Also in mid May Islamic Development Bank (IDB) enhanced the size of its medium term notes (NTN) ­programme from $1.5bn to $3.5bn, which will be issued in both London and Kuala Lumpur. The IDB’s forthcoming medium term sukuk (which is expected to range between five and seven years) will be issued under this programme sometime in June and is expected to raise between $750m and $1bn. Funds will be used to provide blended credits in support of capital goods projects in member countries. IDB, which is AAA-rated, priced a $750m five-year sukuk last May at a spread of 35bps over midswaps to yield 2.35%. According to local Saudi press reports, the sukuk will be 144a-compliant and, therefore, open to investors from the United States; though the IDB did not respond to questions about its forthcoming issue. 

Elsewhere, bond traders expect the first restructuring of an Islamic bond.  United Arab Emirates’ Dana Gas, the Sharjah-based energy company, is expected to restructure its $920m sukuk in coming weeks as investor concerns have heightened over the ability of the utility to meet its payment ­commitments. Up to now no Islamic bonds have been renegotiated though there have been examples of outright defaults (in both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait).

Dana has reportedly hired Blackstone, Latham Watkins and Deutsche Bank to advise on the various options for repaying the sukuk. The company is “committed to finding a consensual solution that is equitable to all stakeholders”, it said in a statement to the Dubai stock exchange.

Meantime, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) says its monthly issue of the short-term Islamic leasing bonds, Sukuk Al-Ijaara, has been oversubscribed by 175%. Subscriptions worth BD35mwere received for the BD20m issue, which carries a maturity of 182 days. The expected return on the issue, which matures in mid-November 2012, is 1.34%.

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