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Al Baraka plans $200 million Islamic bond sale

Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered have been named advisors.

September 22, 2010 2:50 by

Bahraini Islamic lender Al Baraka will launch a $200 million Islamic bond sale this year to fund expansion in France, its chief executive said.

Proceeds from the sukuk will be used to set up branches in France, Adnan Yousif told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference on Wednesday.

“We are thinking to expand in France next year. The number of branches will not exceed five. It is the right time to open subsidiaries in Europe. The sukuk will be issued by the end of the year, maybe December,” Yousif said.

Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered have been named advisors, but lead managers have not yet been appointed, he said.

In August, the Turkish subsidiary of Al Baraka mandated banks for a $250 million sharia-compliant facility.

“It was 1.5 times oversubscribed. Appetite will come from local and international investors,” Yousif said.

Sukuk bonds are a flagship product of the Islamic finance industry, and France has been looking to keep up with Britain in attracting business in a fast-growing sector estimated to be worth $1 trillion.

France has been touting the possibility of issuing a one billion euro sukuk, but that has not yet materialised.

Yousif said he expected strong local and international appetite for sukuk in Turkey.

“In Turkey next year, there will be two or three issues of sukuk. I also expect Dubai to be starting to issue a new sukuk for their transactions, for example Nakheel . I anticipate sukuk to be issued for these companies. There will be corporate sukuk.”

“There will be a sovereign borrowing, I think that Bahrain is interested, and I believe also Dubai has the interest to issue sovereign sukuk,” he said.

The bank said it was expecting a merger of its Pakistani unit’s operations with Emirates Global Islamic Bank.

(Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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