UAE to issue dollar-denominated sovereign bonds

Both the 10-year and 30-year tranches will be of benchmark size, Ministry of Finance says

The UAE raised $4 billion last year through the issuance of multi-tranche sovereign bonds. AFP
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The UAE will issue dual-tranche, US dollar-denominated sovereign bonds as part of plans to continue tapping into the debt market.

The bond package includes a 10-year tranche and a 30-year Formosa tranche, the UAE’s Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.

Formosa bonds refer to debt issued in Taiwan by foreign borrowers in currencies other than the Taiwanese dollar.

The 10-year tranche will be listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Nasdaq Dubai, and the 30-year tranche will be listed on the LSE, the Taipei Exchange and Nasdaq Dubai.

Each tranche will be of benchmark size, which generally means at least $500 million.

The Ministry of Finance did not provide details on the total amount it plans to raise through the issuance.

The UAE raised $4 billion last year through the issuance of multi-tranche sovereign bonds, marking the first time it issued bonds at the federal level.

The dollar bond package included conventional medium and long-term tranches with 10-year and 20-year tenures, as well as 40-year Formosa bonds that are a dual-listed.

The UAE plans to issue more dollar-denominated bonds in 2022, Younis Al Khoori, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Finance, said last year. Individual emirates are also free to issue debt to meet their own needs, he said.

The ministry has hired a group of banks to lead the latest deal including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, BofA Securities, Citigroup, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan, Mashreq Bank and Standard Chartered.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will also act as co-manager, it said.

The issuance of the bonds will be in accordance with Rule 144A / Regulation S under the Securities Act of the US, the ministry said.

The UAE federal government is rated "AA-" by Fitch, and "Aa2" by Moody’s Investors Service, with a stable outlook for the national economy.

"Aa2" is the third-highest long-term credit rating that Moody's assigns to fixed-income securities such as government bonds, denoting their low credit risk.

The UAE's economy is forecast to grow by 6 per cent this year on stronger oil sector growth, according to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

The Arab world's second-largest economy is expected to record 3.4 per cent growth in its non-oil gross domestic product in 2022.

Updated: June 23, 2022, 1:09 PM