First Gulf Bank said yesterday it has mandated Citi, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered banks as joint lead managers for its five-year $500 million (Dh1.83 billion) sukuk issue.
"Proceeds from the sukuk are to be used for Islamic general corporate purposes and to fund the growth of the FGB's Islamic loan book," FGB said in a statement. "Subscription is set to begin on January 11," it added. Shabbir Malek, banking analyst at EFG-Hermes told Gulf News: "This shows that FGB is aiming to diversify its funding base and securing long-term US dollar funding to grow its loan book."
He added: "I believe it has the ability to secure the funding at a competitive rate. The market should have an appetite for the sukuk owing to the bank's low risk profile and its strong earnings metrics."
FGB's shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange closed 0.99 per cent higher yesterday at Dh15.20.
Last year, FGB's sukuk was six times oversubscribed by more than 200 investors worldwide. Of these, 46 per cent were Middle East-based, 24 per cent were from Europe, 24 per cent from Asia and 6 per cent from the US and other markets.
"The transaction was divided between banks [49 per cent], funds [39 per cent], retail [6 per cent] and insurance and pensions [6 per cent]," said FGB. The final price for last year's sukuk was set at 200 basis points above midswaps. The Regulated S Bonds are listed in London and retain a fixed profit rate of 3.797 per cent, per annum.
Established in 1979, FGB has shareholder equity of more than Dh25 billion, making it one of the largest equity based banks in the UAE.
It is the second time that First Gulf Bank has looked to tap Sharia-compliant investors since it set up the programme in July 2011.
In the same month, it printed a $650 million five-year sukuk at a spread of 200 basis points over midswaps with a profit rate of 3.8 per cent.
Earlier yesterday, Emirates NBD's Islamic unit, Emirates Islamic Bank, printed the first debt capital markets trade of this year. The bank issued a $500 million five-year sukuk priced at par with a 4.72 per cent profit rate at a spread of 350 basis points over midswaps.