Asian telecoms firm Axiata Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Axiata SPV2 Berhad, has established a multi-currency Sukuk Programme approved by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SCM). This is the Asia-Pacific region’s first internationally rated multi-currency Sukuk.
The Sukuk Programme, has an innovative structure which among other things, allows airtime vouchers, representing an entitlement to a specified number of airtime minutes on the mobile telecommunications network of subsidiaries of Axiata for on-net callsto be included as a trust asset.
The Sukuk Programme is based on the Shari’ah principle of Wakala and provides the flexibility of using Airtime Vouchers, Shari’ah-compliant shares, and lease assets, as well as Murabaha receivables arising from the sale of commodities as the underlying assets.
The structure for the Sukuk Programme, approved by the Central Shari’ah Committee of HSBC, is the first of its kind.
Dato’ Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Axiata said, “Axiata’s Sukuk Programme, the first multi-currency Sukuk programme by an Asian telecommunication company, is in line with Axiata’s commitment to support the Government’s ongoing initiatives and efforts in positioning Malaysia as an international Islamic financial centre.”
James Maclaurin, Group Chief Financial Officer of Axiata added, “Axiata has always been committed to actively manage its capital structure to ensure an ongoing robust and optimised balance sheet, with the ultimate aim of maximising shareholder returns.”
“Whilst Axiata has no immediate funding requirements, having the programme in place will enable the Group to remain nimble and able to move quickly in the event of any changes and demands of the marketplace. Ultimately, having the Sukuk Programme ready will allow Axiata to tap into the International debt capital markets in a timely and most cost efficient manner,” he added.
The Sukuk Programme represents a strategic move by Axiata to tap into the regional market to raise funds in the future, providing Axiata with greater avenues in meeting its funding requirements moving forward. In addition to being a multi-currency programme, the Shari’ah-compliant structure will allow Axiata to tap into a greater diversity of investors, which includes the Middle East, Asia and Europe.
CIMB Bank, HSBC Amanah Malaysia and Merrill Lynch (Singapore) are the Joint Lead Arrangers for the Sukuk Programme.
Axiata is one of the largest Asian telecommunication companies. Axiata has controlling interests in mobile operators in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia with significant strategic stakes in India and Singapore.
In addition, the Malaysian-grown holding company has a stake in mobile telecommunication operations in Thailand.
Meanwhile Securities Commission Malaysia names new Shari’ah Advisory Council members.
The Securities Commission Malaysia has announced the members of its Shari’ah Advisory Council (SAC) who will serve for a two-year period commencing 1 July 2012. The SAC is the central authority responsible for determining the Shari’ah principles of the Islamic capital market in Malaysia.
The SAC is a key pillar in the development of the Islamic capital market in Malaysia especially in facilitating innovation and ensuring a robust Shari’ah governance process.
The function of the SAC provides greater consistency and clarity to issuers, intermediaries and investors in the Malaysian Islamic capital market. The SAC also plays an instrumental role in strengthening the country’s position as a leading international Islamic financial centre.
Under the CMSA, the SAC is empowered to ascertain the application of Shari’ah principles on any matter pertaining to Islamic capital market business or transaction, and to advise the SC on any Shari’ah issue relating to Islamic capital market business or transactions.
The SAC is also empowered to provide advice to any person on Shari’ah issues relating to Islamic capital market business or transaction.