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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 01/02/2014

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Other banks will be mandated closer to the time of the sale, the official said on Thursday, asking not to be named because the information isn't public. Linklaters LLP will provide legal support for the Islamic bond, or sukuk, including its tax and real estate implications, the person said. Shani Halstead, a spokeswoman for HSBC in London, declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the plan to sell 200 million (330 million) in securities that comply with Islam's ban on interest on October 29. The sukuk will help the UK establish itself as a global capital for Islamic finance alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, Cameron said in a speech at the time. The industry is growing 17 per cent a year and may be valued at 2.67 trillion by 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

The UK government has weighed the sale of sukuk since at least 2007. Robert Stheeman, chief executive officer of the Debt Management Office, said as recently as September that issuing Shariah-compliant debt would not be value for money. The sale of an Islamic bond takes "pragmatism and political will," Cameron said the following month.

The 1 billion sukuk due June 2018 from Islamic Development Bank, which has Moody's Investors Service highest rating at Aaa, had a yield of 1.68 per cent on Thursday. UK bonds due in July of the same year, rated one level below the Jeddah-based bank at Aa1, yielded 1.64 per cent as of 9am in London, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

In addition to acting as a bookrunner for Britain's sukuk, HSBC will provide financial advice to the DMO and the Treasury on the syndicated issue, the Treasury official said. The timing of the sale will depend on market conditions and the required preparation, the person said. A spokesman for Linklaters didn't immediately return calls seeking comment when contacted by Bloomberg News on Thursday.

Islamic bonds are typically backed by assets or cash flow. About 60 per cent of global sukuk is issued from Malaysia, according to the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre. Dubai is also seeking to become the capital of the global Shariah-compliant economy.

 






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