Tuesday 6th October 2015
NEWS TICKER: Tuesday, October 6th: Vistra (UK) Limited ('Vistra') is pleased to announce the appointment of Barry Gowdy as Director, effective 1st October. Gowdy joins Vistra from RBC Wealth Management, where he was responsible for the firm's UK property trust clients – According to NIBC the labour market report for September is one indicator that US economy is losing momentum. It is a view reflected by the weakening of business confidence surveys and a more moderate pace of job growth over the last few months. Although not related to the problems that have engulfed emerging markets over the last summer,, it appears that US businesses have on average accumulated too much in inventories. The number of non-farm payrolls increased by only 142k, whereas 200k was expected and the August reading was revised downwards from 173k to 136k. Additionally, underlying figures indicate that a relatively strong boost in the number of jobs in the public sector camouflaged the weakness in private sector job gains. Market participants were probably also intrigued by the slow rate of hourly wage (earnings) growth. These stayed flat in September compared to August, while the annual rate of wage growth stayed at 2.2%, in line with the annual rate in between 2.0 and 2.5% range this year - Global Jet Capital, a provider of financing solutions for large-cabin, long-range private jets, has agreed to purchase the aircraft lease and loan portfolio of GE Capital Corporate Aircraft in the Americas representing approximately $2.5bn of net assets. Shawn Vick, executive director of Global Jet Capital says, “We are investing heavily in growing the business both organically and through strategic acquisitions such as this one with GE. This is a prime example of our industry expertise and investment capital coming together to evaluate and identify an opportunity to expand the business in a disciplined, carefully measured way.” The price point of the aircraft range between $25m and $75m on average, and corporate users and high net worth individuals will seek competitive financing solutions rather than allocate their own cash resources which are better invested in their own businesses - Gresham Computing plc, a provider of real-time financial transaction control and enterprise data integrity solutions, today announced the appointment of Damian Canning as Sales Director for North America. Based in Gresham’s New York City office, Canning will be responsible for continuing the strong growth of Gresham’s Clareti Transaction Control (CTC) platform in North America - Spending on food, entry fees, insurance and entertainment over the three day Eid al-Adha festival, some 300,000 Saudis spent SAR400m ($107m), according to local press reports. Bahraini officials report higher than usual tourist inflows and spending. Roughly 50% of those who checked in the kingdom’s hotels were nationals of member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, enjoying Bahrain’s more relaxed ambience - The Philippine unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc said on Monday it was looking to launch a long-delayed initial public offering (IPO) sometime next year, and may sell even more than the minimum requirement of 10 percent of common stock. "We're getting ready for it," Shell Philippines Country Chairman Edgar Chua told reporters on the sidelines of a Shell event. "We've discussed it with the (Philippines Department of Energy), it's just a question of timing." Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp, which operates one of the country's two refineries, is required under a nearly two-decade local law to conduct an IPO. The company had previously cited unfavourable market conditions and the need to upgrade its local refinery in deferring a share sale. Shell's refinery upgrade is underway and could be completed hopefully by the middle of November says a Shell spokesman - European regulators have approved the London Stock Exchange's plan to link the operations of LCH.Clearnet and EuroCCP to offer investors more choice for clearing their trades on the UK bourse. The link is set to begin October 26th - The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 58.1 points or 2.08% higher to 2851.25, taking the year-to-date performance to -15.27%. The top active stocks today were SingTel, which gained 2.81%, DBS, which gained 2.36%, UOB, which gained1.64%, OCBC Bank, which gained2.05% and CapitaLand, with a 2.49%advance. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index gained 1.45%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index rose 1.04%. - Morningstar has downgraded the Aberforth UK Small Companies fund to a Morningstar Analyst Rating™ of Silver. The fund previously held a Gold Rating. Samuel Meakin, manager research analyst at Morningstar, said: “Following a recent Morningstar Analyst Ratings meeting, we have moved the Aberforth UK Small Companies fund to a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver. The fund was previously rated Gold. Whilst we still hold the fund in high regard, the recent and upcoming changes to the management team have slightly reduced our level of conviction. Andy Bamford, one of the fund’s six managers, is set to retire at the end of this year; he follows David Ross, who retired in 2014.” - Rubicon Minerals Corporation (TSX: RMX)(NYSE MKT: RBY) was asked by Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) on September 30th to temporarily suspend mill operations at the Phoenix Gold Project) to treat elevated ammonia levels, discharge sufficient water from the tailings management facility (TMF), and to upgrade the TMF, under specific timelines. It also ordered Rubicon to undertake other operational and reporting obligations, including construction upgrades to the TMF. The company has been utilizing alternative technologies to address the ammonia levels in the TMF - LIFE, the global diaspora organisation of Lebanese finance executives says it has signed an academic partnership with Cambridge Judge Business School, the business school of the University of Cambridge – Figures shows that the United Kingdom’s HMRC collected a record £7.5bn in stamp duty from residential property transactions in 2014/2015, up from £6.45bn the previous year and from £4.9bn in 2012/2013 and the total tax collected from home buyers in the UK has grown by 165% over the last six years alone. Transactions in London contributed the most residential stamp duty revenue at just over £3bn, followed by the South East at £1.6bn and between 2008/2009 and 2014/2015, stamp duty revenues in London have grown by 248%, compared to around 158% in the East of England and 140% in the South East. The latest analysis reports from both Knight Frank and Savills look into the effect of this on the prime market in London and both conclude that the stamp duty changes introduced last December are still having an effect on sales 10 months on.

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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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