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Stanchart CEO sees rise in bond issues before yearend
Investor demand could drive new issuances from Gulf; No plans to shift HQ from London; No impact of regional unrest on bank's ME operations
May 24, 2011 2:03 by Reuters
The Gulf Arab region could see up to 20 bond issues over the next six months, Standard Chartered’s top executive for the region said on Monday, buoyed by global demand for emerging market debt.
After a slow start to the year, primary issuance from the Gulf region is showing signs of a pickup, with Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) both printing Islamic paper last week.
Emirates, the Arab world’s largest carrier, kicked off investor meetings on Monday which could be followed by a potential dollar-bond.
“If I were to say how many bonds could get done generally in the market over the next 6 months, maybe 10 to 20 in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region,” V. Shankar, the lender’s global chief executive for non-U.S. operations, said at a conference.
“There is huge demand, and I think what is happening is that emerging market bonds are becoming kind of staple stuff for fixed income investors…,” he said.
Standard Chartered was an arranging bank on the SIB issue, which raised $400 million in a 5-year bond earlier this month, and in May, helped arrange a $1.5 billion dual tranche bond for Abu Dhabi investment vehicle Mubadala.
But the lender, which has been expanding operations and physical presence in the Middle East region, has no plans to shift headquarters away from London, Shankar said.
“There is no intention at this point in time to move.”
Standard Chartered has previously said its rationale for keeping its headquarters in London is weakening as UK banks face being at a disadvantage to rivals on taxes. Shankar also said that the regional political upheaval had not made an impact on the bank’s operations.
“A large part of our business, 70 percent, in the Middle East region is UAE-centric, and the UAE continues to do very well. We are not impacted and we do well,” Shankar said. (Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Writing by Rachna Uppal; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)