Saudi Arabia meets 2018 external funding needs with $2bn new sukuk

Issuance comprises a mudaraba agreement plus a murabaha facility that would trade commodities with a special purpose vehicle

In this March 9, 2018 photo, general view showing Riyadh city taken from Mamlaka tower, a 99-story skyscraper, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
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Saudi Arabia has raised $2 billion in new sukuk, completing its external funding requirements for 2018.

The transaction is the kingdom's second international sale of sukuk after a $9bn issue last year.

The bond sale was "part of the Ministry of Finance's commitment to the development of the Shariah-compliant debt capital markets," the country's debt management office said in a statement on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, acting through the Ministry of Finance, started marketing the notes with an initial price guidance of around 145 basis points over mid-swaps.

The price guidance was tightened to a final spread of 127 basis points over mid-swap, equivalent to a 4.3 per cent yield, signalling wide investor appetite for the deal.

Orders topped $10bn, the Saudi debt management office said.

Citi, HSBC and JPMorgan coordinated the transaction, and worked as joint lead managers together with BNP Paribas, Mizuho and Samba Capital.

The structure of the sukuk is the same one adopted for the 2017 issue, comprising a mudaraba agreement, a form of Islamic investment management partnership, plus a murabaha facility that would trade commodities with a special purpose vehicle.

The paper is due to settle on Septtember 19 and matures in January 2029, Reuters said.


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The government has raised a total of $52bn in international notes, both Islamic and conventional, since it started tapping the international debt markets in 2016 as part of its efforts to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

In April the government sold $11bn in conventional notes - an amount which covered the country's hard currency funding needs for 2018, the head of the Saudi debt management office said.

The news comes the day after Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (Apicorp) said it would issue three bonds in the range of $500 million to $750m each next year, as the multilateral development bank owned by the 10 members of Opec looks to expand its regional portfolio to include more renewables.

"We will continue utilising the $3 billion sukuk and going to the market for more on that and also the conventional [market]. Ballpark range of each issuance would be around $500m to $750m until we mobilise the full programme," said Apicorp chief executive Ahmed Attiga, told The National.

Apicorp established the sukuk programme in 2015 to diversify its funding sources. The Riyadh-headquartered lender will go ahead with one issuance from the sukuk programme, two from conventional and will also target smaller “bilateral issuances”, said Mr Attiga.