Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank may sell a benchmark-sized Tier 1 capital-boosting sukuk after announcing plans to meet fixed income investors, joining a raft of issuers from the United Arab Emirates taking advantage of benign markets.
The unlisted Islamic lender, owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, has chosen itself as well as Citigroup, Emirates NBD, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered to arrange roadshows, a document from leads said on Thursday.
A benchmark-sized, U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk offer with a perpetual lifespan may follow the investor meetings, subject to market conditions, the document added. Traditionally, benchmark size is understood to mean at least $500 million.
Al Hilal joins a growing pipeline of UAE borrowers looking to access the capital markets ahead of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which starts at the end of June.
Favourable market conditions have pushed borrowing costs to record lows, with foreign investors eager to put money into Gulf assets at a time of turmoil in other emerging markets.
Abu Dhabi telecommunications operator Etisalat sold a $4.3 billion, four-tranche bond on Wednesday, setting one record as the region’s biggest corporate issue ever and another for the cheapest pricing. Also on Wednesday, Emaar Malls Group issued a debut sukuk which secured cheap pricing thanks to strong investor demand.
Other UAE borrowers in the process of completing capital market transactions include ports operator DP World – expected to sell a $1 billion convertible bond on Thursday – and National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah, which aims to issue a debut bond next week.
Al Hilal will meet investors in the Middle East on June 15 before moving to Hong Kong on June 17, followed by Singapore on June 18. After a day in London on June 20, roadshows end in Switzerland on June 23, a separate document from leads showed.
Should Al Hilal print a sukuk after the meetings, it will be the lender’s second-ever Islamic bond. Last October, it priced a $500 million, five-year sukuk, which was trading on Thursday at around 92 basis points over its Z-spread.
It will be the third perpetual Tier 1 sukuk issue from the Gulf region. The previous two deals have come from Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank.
Al Hilal’s capital ratio was 13.17 percent on Dec. 31, 2013, according to its annual report.