Emirates, the world's biggest airline by international traffic, has hired 10 banks including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and JP Morgan to prepare for the possible sale of a benchmark Islamic bond.
The Dubai government-owned carrier mandated Citi and Standard Chartered Bank as global coordinators and joint lead managers to arrange a global investor roadshow starting on March 8, Emirates said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, BNP Paribas, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and Noor Bank will also be part of the procedure.
"A benchmark Sukuk (Islamic bond) issue, the proceeds of which to be used for general corporate purposes, may follow subject to market conditions," Emirates said. This typically covers working capital and aircraft financing; a benchmark issue normally refers to $500 million.
Emirates had agreed to buy 40 Boeing 787s valued at $15.1 billion in list prices at the Dubai Airshow in November last year followed by a $16bn deal for 36 Airbus SE A380 superjumbos in January. The carrier will join a host of regional issuers tapping the debt market after Sharjah and Oman already raised funds from bonds this year.
The roadshow will kick-off on March 8 in London, followed by meetings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on March 11, Hong Kong on March 12 and ending in Singapore on March 13, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The dollar-denominated, 10-year sukuk will follow depending on market conditions, the source said.
Emirates has tapped the debt market with four issuances since 2011, raising $3.65bn, over half of which has been in sukuk.