Banque Saudi Fransi sets up $2bn Sukuk

The bank reported a ten per cent year-on-year rise in first quarter profit earlier this year.

Banque Saudi Fransi has established a $2 billion Islamic bond, or Sukuk, programme, a regulatory filing on the London Stock Exchange showed.

Citigroup, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and Saudi Fransi Capital are arrangers and dealers on the programme, the April 17 prospectus showed.

Earlier this month, the bank reported a ten per cent rise in first quarter profit on the back of improved operating income, beating analyst estimates.

Although domestic riyal-denominated Sukuk issuance has risen dramatically this year so far, with a mammoth $4 billion equivalent sale from General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), Saudi borrowers are not so active in global debt markets.

But many – especially investment-grade corporates – would find substantial demand. In March, Saudi Electricity Co reportedly received orders in excess of $15 billion for a $1.75 billion Sukuk issue.

HSBC in a recent report estimated Middle East Sukuk issuance in 2012 at over $14 billion, as investor demand and the relatively lower volatility of the asset class drive sales.