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The Maldives Follows its Maiden US$200m Hybrid Sukuk in March 2021 with a US$100m Tap Issuance in April in a Further Bid to Diversify its Sources of Public Debt Funding

Mahe – Following the issuance of its maiden sovereign 5-year US$200 million Sukuk Al Ijara/Murabaha in March 2021, the Government of Maldives returned to the international Sukuk market with a US$100 million tap issuance of the March transaction, on 26 April 2021.

Like the first issuance, the tap offering was also issued through Maldives Sukuk Issuance Limited (MSIL), a special purpose vehicle owned by the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of The Republic of Maldives, under the recently established US$1 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme. 

A tap issue is a procedure that allows borrowers to sell bonds/Sukuk or other short-term debt instruments from past issues, using the same documentation as before. They are issued at their original face value, maturity and coupon rate, but sold at the current market price.  

The maiden 5-year Sukuk was priced at a profit rate of 9.875% per annum paid semi-annually. The US$100 million tap issuance was priced at a profit rate of 10.5% per annum.

The Maldives Ministry of Finance had mandated Emirates NBD Capital, HSBC and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector funding arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, to arrange the tap issuance.

The proceeds from both issuances will go towards the settlement of tender offers for the Government’s 2022 Treasury bonds. The issuance is part of the Government’s efforts to diversify its sources of public debt finances. In the past it was heavily reliant on China for financing, especially infrastructure, under the previous administration of President Abdulla Yameen. His successor President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has admitted that his government is still establishing the true extent of Maldives’ debt exposure to China.

Moody’s Investors Service assigned a B3 rating to the Sukuk certificates, which the rating agency says mirrors the Government of Maldives’ current issuer rating. In its rating rationale, Moody’s stressed that the Maldives’ B3 issuer rating “is supported by healthy economic growth prospects and a competitive tourism sector. However, the ongoing shock from the global coronavirus outbreak has led to a material slowdown in economic growth given the economy’s reliance on tourism.

“Twin fiscal and current account deficits and a ramp-up in debt with the planned implementation of large public-sector infrastructure projects have resulted in increased government liquidity pressures and external vulnerability risks, which have been exacerbated by the outbreak and weaker government revenue intake amid depressed tourism activity. Further credit challenges stem from weak institutional capacity and significant exposure to environmental risks.”

Both the maiden and tap Sukuk issuances are listed on Nasdaq Dubai and Euronext Dublin.  

Indonesian Government Raises IDR20.27 Trillion (US$1.42bn) Through Four Rupiah-denominated Sukuk Auctions in April 2021 as Aggregate Funds Raised in January-April 2021 Totals IDR88.27 Trillion

Jakarta – The Government of Indonesia continues to consolidate its role as one of the most proactive repeat issuers of sovereign domestic Sukuk in the market through four auctions during the month of April 2021.

The Department of Islamic Financing at the Directorate General of Budget Financing and Risk Management, Ministry of Finance of Indonesia, in fact raised a total IDR20.27 trillion in April, with an aggregate total raised for the first four months in 2021 amounting to IDR88.27 trillion.

The Government of Indonesia is a prolific issuer of domestic Sukuk and demand from local institutional investors is robust. The total bids for the April auctions amounted to IDR49.27 trillion compared with the bids in March amounting to IDR50.10 trillion, IDR26.11 trillion in February and IDR60.72 trillion in January 2021.

The April 2021 issuances comprised four auctions of Sovereign Shariah Securities (SSS) or Sukuk Negara, including two Greenshoe Options of the SSS, through the auction system of Bank of Indonesia.

The auction held on 6 April 2021 of Sovereign Shariah Securities raised IDR7.345 trillion comprising six tranches with tenors of 6 months, 2 years, 4.5 years, 13 years, 16 years and 25 years. The tranches were priced at a coupon rate at discount, 6.5%, 6.125%, 6.375%, 6.1% and 7.75% respectively. Total incoming bids for the auction amounted to IDR14.5591 trillion.

The auction held on 7 April 2021 – an Additional Sovereign Shariah Securities (Greenshoe Option) – raised IDR2.655 trillion comprising five tranches with tenors of  2 years, 4.5 years, 13 years, 16 years and 25 years. The tranches were priced at a coupon of 6.5%, 6.125%, 6.375%, 6.1% and 7.75% respectively. Total incoming bids for the auction amounted to IDR3.3896 trillion.

The auction held on 20 April 2021 of Sovereign Shariah Securities raised IDR7.365 trillion comprising five tranches with tenors of 6 months, 2 years, 4.5 years, 16 years and 25 years. The tranches were priced at a coupon rate at Discount, 6.5%, 6.125%, 6.1% and 7.75% respectively. Total incoming bids for the auction amounted to IDR17.9094 trillion.

The auction held on 21 April 2021 – an Additional Sovereign Shariah Securities (Greenshoe Option) – raised IDR2.635 trillion comprising four tranches with tenors of  2 years, 4.5 years, 16 years and 25 years. The tranches were priced at a coupon of 6.5%, 6.125%, 6.1% and 7.75% respectively. Total incoming bids for the auction amounted to IDR3.4128 trillion.

ICIEC Provides US$50m Export/Import Credit Insurance to BADEA to Assist the Latter’s Participation in African Trade Syndication

Jeddah – The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), the export credit and investment insurance agency of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, provided US$50 million in insurance coverage to the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) in April 2021.

The Bank Master Policy (BMP) provided by ICIEC assists BADEA’s participation in syndication with ICIEC’s sister entity, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the trade fund of the IsDB Group, and BMCE Bank of Africa.

The intended syndication is to provide financing to the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID). The financing will facilitate the import of strategic goods from Arab countries to member states of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States), strengthening the strategic South-South cooperation between Arab and African countries.

This transaction marks the first Islamic BMP signed between ICIEC and a Multilateral Development Bank (MDB).

“ICIEC is delighted to be signing our first BMP transaction for this seminal collaboration,” stated Oussama Kaissi, CEO of ICIEC. “The catalytic impact of the larger syndication is one of the main driving factors behind ICIEC’s participation. ICIEC and BADEA’s involvement has increased the availability of financing to EBID to not only facilitate the importation of strategic goods to ECOWAS countries but also support the business and growth of Arab exporters and enhancing strategic trade relations within the OIC – a foremost priority for ICIEC in light of the trade shocks presented by the pandemic.”

IILM Continues Consecutive Monthly Short-Term Sukuk Issuance with US$1.1bn Three-Tranche Offering in April as 4-Months 2021 Aggregate Tops US$5bn

Kuala Lumpur – The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) continued its short-term Sukuk issuance calendar with its fourth monthly auction in April 2021. The auction raised US$1.1 billion through the issuance of short-term Sukuk across three different tenors.

The transaction comes under IILM’s US$4.0 billion short-term issuance programme. The Corporation held an auction on 13 April 2021 for the three series of issuances, priced by the market as follows:

  1. US$400 million of 1-month tenor certificates at 0.33%
  2. US$450 million of 3-month tenor certificates at 0.36%
  3. US$250 million of 6-month tenor certificates at 0.40%

This follows the three-tranche issuance of short-term securities in March 2021 totalling US$1.4 billion. This brings the total Sukuk issued by the IILM in the first four months of 2021 to US$5.0 billion.

“The start of the second quarter,” said Dr Umar Oseni, Chief Executive Officer of IILM, “has seen improved investor sentiment on the back of a more optimistic outlook for 2021 based on revised growth rates. High bid-to-cover ratios demonstrate sustained demand for the IILM’s short-term Ṣukuk amidst increase in supply of long-term Ṣukuk since the beginning of April. We are pleased to conclude our fourth auction for the year at competitive all-in profit rates.”

The competitive tender resulted in significant interest from GCC and Asia-based Primary Dealers as well as other jurisdictions, with a strong final orderbook in excess of US$1.76 billion, representing an average oversubscription rate of 1.6 times.

The IILM is a regular issuer of short-term Sukuk across varying tenors and amounts to cater to the liquidity needs of institutions offering Islamic financial services. “Based on our indicative issuance calendar, the IILM envisages issuing in excess of USD1.0 billion short-term Sukuk for nearly every month in 2021. As we look towards 2021 with headwinds including uneven economic recovery, renewed lockdowns and rising debt burdens from government policy responses, we stand ready to collaborate with our shareholders, Primary Dealers, investors and industry partners towards fostering a resilient and sound Islamic liquidity management ecosystem.” added Dr Umar.

The IILM’s short-term Sukuk programme is rated “A-1” by S&P with current outstanding issuance size amounting to US$3.51 billion. According to the IILM, the primary dealers that participated in the auction conducted under the competitive bidding of the Bloomberg AUPD Platform included Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank; Barwa Bank; Boubyan Bank; CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad; First Abu Dhabi Bank; Kuwait Finance House; Macquarie Bank; Maybank Islamic Berhad; Qatar Islamic Bank; and Standard Chartered Bank.

 

Saudi Fintech Platform Tamara Launches Shariah-compliant Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) Schemes 

Jeddah – Tamara, the first Saudi Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) Fintech platform, has launched two Shariah-compliant BNPL related services which will be audited by Bahrain-based Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB).

“Tamara always aim to be compliant with all Sharia’s roles to be the perfect payment solution in the region for customers and merchants. We have assigned Shariyah Review Bureau to review and certify two products – BNPL 30 days and BNPL in 3 Installments,” said Tamara in a statement in April 2021. The payment solution is available to online stores in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where consumer preference is shifting towards digital purchases especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

In April Tamara closed one of the largest Series A funding round in MENA of US$110 million led by Checkout.com. The investment will help Tamara expedite its expansion across the GCC by the end of 2021 and the greater region thereafter.

Founded in 2020, by serial entrepreneur Abdulmajeed Alsukhan and his partners Turki Bin Zarah and Abdulmohsen Albabtain, Tamara was the first BNPL firm to be enrolled in the Sandbox programme of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA). Since then, it closed a round of US$6 million in seed funding in January 2021, which was also considered the largest seed round in Saudi Arabia, five months after its official launch in September 2020.

The startup has quickly established itself as a market-leader in Saudi and successfully landed some of the most popular brands in Saudi such as SACO, Whites, Nejree and Nice One. The company also expanded its services to UAE with prominent partners like Namshi and Floward. Tamara was also able to launch its mobile consumer app along with its in-store service with multiple local partners. The $110M cash injection (debt and equity) will be used by the company to scale its team, open new countries in the GCC and fund the distribution of its BNPL product.

Tamara claims it is Saudi Arabia’s fastest-growing BNPL provider, with its user base up 180% month-on-month and transaction volume growing 170% month-on-month on average over the last six months. According to Tamara, the BNPL market is expected to grow 400% reaching an estimated US$680 billion in transaction volume globally by 2025.

Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, Tamara’s Co-founder & CEO, stressed that the “region and the world need payment solutions that are transparent and customer-oriented. We offer our customers an alternative to credit cards and Cash on Delivery (COD). Our solution also increases our merchant partners’ efficiency as well as their customer satisfaction.”

Sebastian Reis, Executive Vice President at Checkout.com, maintained that Tamara has rapidly proven itself to be a natural leader in the BNPL space. “Our investment in Tamara will help the team realise their vision and expand rapidly, driving greater conversions for retailers and offer more flexibility for consumers,” he added.

 

Rawabi Holding Completes Fourth Series of Sukuk Issuance with SAR500m Offering in March 2021

Al Khobar – Rawabi Holding Company, a leading provider of products and services to the oil and gas industry, successfully closed a SAR500 million Sukuk at end March 2021 – the fourth issuance under the company’s updated SAR2.5 billion Trust Certificates Programme.

This latest issuance follows the SAR583 million (US$155.44 million) Sukuk in September 2020, preceded by two successful Sukuk offerings since the Programme was established in March 2020. AlBilad Capital, Alinma Investment Company, Riyad Capital and Samba Capital & Investment Management Company acted as joint lead managers and bookrunners for the Fourth Series Sukuk issuance.

Ahmad Al-Shubbar, Vice President, Treasury & Strategy at Rawabi, stressed that “following the successful issuance of three series totalling almost SAR1.16 billion under the Sukuk Programme in 2020, we believed the Fourth Series is even more successful where we attracted a total order book of approximately SAR1.72 billion against the planned issuance size of SAR 500 million for the Fourth Series.”

The investors base is well diversified and largely consists of fund managers, high net worth individuals, government agencies and insurance companies, “thus accomplishing our primary aspiration in establishing the Sukuk Programme which is to diversify our funding sources away from the traditional bank financing as well as garnering significant participation from non-bank investors in the Sukuk Programme.”

The Sukuk Programme, he added, plays an integral role in helping Rawabi to diversify its funding sources, ensuring that the Company is well-positioned to execute its ambitious growth strategy going forward. “We are delighted to receive such a strong endorsement from capital markets investors, recognizing Rawabi’s unique position to capitalize on its leading position in the regional oilfield services industry,” he said.

Rawabi provides oilfield, marine construction, industrial maintenance, general contracting, wireless solutions, electric, dredging and reclamation, offshore, and heat-treating services to the Upstream, Downstream and Midstream sectors in the Oil & Gas industry. Additionally, the group operates a large fleet of Offshore Service Vessels and Jack-up Barges in the MENA, Europe, North and South America and Far East.

Capital Intelligence Ratings assigned a first time issue rating of ‘saA-’ with a “Stable” outlook on the Saudi Arabia National Scale to this fourth issuance. The rating is driven by CI’s assessment of the fundamental credit strength and general repayment capacity of Rawabi.

Fitch Ratings Projects Ongoing Sukuk Issuance Momentum in 2021, Albeit Subject to Extraneous Factors Including the Impact of Rising US Treasury Yields on Fixed-income Markets.

Dubai – Fitch Ratings in its Q1/21 Sukuk Report projects that sovereign Sukuk issuance momentum going forward is likely to be driven by the need to diversify funding and meet upcoming maturities, along with intact investor appetite.

“Although less pandemic-related support, economic recovery and higher oil prices could result in lower financing needs for sovereigns, we expect one-off or infrequent issuance to support 2021 volumes,” added Fitch. 

The Sukuk market, however, is also affected by emerging market and global trends, including the impact of rising US treasury yields on fixed-income markets.

Total global outstanding Sukuk reached US$715.2 billion in Q1/21 – 3% higher than Q4/20, based on Bloomberg data. Sukuk issuance with a maturity of more than 18 months from the GCC region, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan was US$9.9 billion in Q1/21, similar to Q4/20. The volume of Fitch-rated Sukuk reached US$119.1 billion at end-Q1/21, about 30% of which is estimated to mature in 2021-2023.

But there are several extraneous market factors also to consider going forward. These according to Fitch include:

i) Recent regulatory changes in the UAE, including the requirement of implementing AAOIFI Standard 59. Additional dissolution triggers in new international Sukuk documentation, including tangibility and delisting events, and new put options, may affect the liquidity, credit profile and ratings of mainly non-sovereign issuers. As the UAE is a key Sukuk hub, the changes slowed issuance, both locally and internationally.

ii) In Q1/21, Sukuk pricing compared to that of bonds continued normalising to pre-2020 levels. During normal market conditions, Sukuk and bonds prices are strongly correlated.

iii) With the cessation deadline for the main US dollar Libor benchmarks extended from end-2021 to June 2023, transition risks for floating-rate Sukuk will be reduced as the extension gives an extra 18 months to incorporate fallback language and allow more Sukuk to mature. However, 92% of US dollar Sukuk are fixed-rate and unaffected by the transition.

iv) There was a big rise of Green and Sustainable Sukuk (GSS), with the volume of outstanding Fitch-rated GSS, for instance, increasing by 31.7% in Q1/21 to reach US$11 billion, representing 9% of the total Sukuk portfolio.

v) Improving Issuer Outlook – the Sukuk market’s share of issuers with Stable Outlooks increased to 79% at Q1/21 (Q4/20: 76.6%). The Negative Outlook share fell to 21% (Q4/20: 23.4%). No issuers had a Positive Outlook. About 80.7% of Sukuk were investment grade and 19.3% were speculative grade.

 

Turkish Treasury Raises TRY1.361bn (US$161.4m) Through Local CPI Indexed and Gold-backed Sukuk Issuances in April 2021

Ankara – The Debt Office of the Turkish Treasury and Finance Ministry raised TRY1,361 million through CPI Indexed Lease Certificate issuance (Sukuk Al Ijarah) through a direct sale auction on 20 April 2021 of its latest fixed rate CPI Indexed lease certificates (Sukuk Al-Ijarah) offerings. The auction was conducted by the Central Bank of Turkey via AS (Auction System under Central Bank Payment Systems). The issuance has a tenor of 5 years maturing on 15 April 2026 and was priced at a fixed rental rate of 1.43% payable over a 6-month rental payment period.

The Turkish Treasury is a proactive issuer of lease certificates (Sukuk Al-Ijarah) as part of a wider universe of government fund-raising instruments which include bonds and Sukuk – leasing certificates/bonds, FC denominated issuances and gold-backed certificates/bonds. The usual mantra of the Turkish Treasury when announcing these auctions is “In order to increase the domestic savings, broaden the investor base and diversify the borrowing instruments, TRY denominated fixed rent rate lease certificates will be issue to the banks through direct sale method.”

In fact, the Treasury held two auctions of lease certificates during April 2021. Apart from the above auction, the Treasury on 14 April 2021 issued Gold-backed Lease Certificates (Sukuk Ijarah) with a tenor of 1,092 days maturing on 12 April 2024 priced at a Lease Rate of 1.15% payable over the 6 Month lease period.

The amount of gold collected, according to the Treasury, amounted to 9,827,000.00 grams of gold (1000/1000 purity) from institutional investors for issuance of an aggregate 9,827,000 gold lease certificates (at a nominal value).

The direct sale auction of its latest Gold-backed Lease Certificates (Sukuk Ijarah) offering was conducted by the Central Bank of Turkey via AS (Auction System under Central Bank Payment Systems). In 2020, the Treasury conducted six such gold-backed lease certificate auctions in January, March, April, May, July and October 2020 collecting a total 51,105,190.000 grams of gold (1000/1000 purity) from institutional investors for issuance of an aggregate 51,105,190 gold lease certificates (at a nominal value).              

All the lease certificates were issued by Hazine Mustesarligi Varlik Kiralama A.S., a special purpose vehicle wholly-owned by and on behalf of the Ministry of Treasury & Finance, the obligor. The Ministry of Treasury & Finance issues these gold-backed lease certificates “to diversify borrowing instruments, broaden the investor base and bring the idle gold into the economy.”

According to Turkish Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan “citizens are provided with a safe investment tool for gold savings. With the gold bond and gold-denominated lease certificate issuance through five banks, our citizens will win themselves and contribute to the economy.” Investors will be paid TL-denominated returns on a semi-annual basis indexed to the gold price. On maturity, according to the Treasury, investors may request the principal payment as 1 kilogram of gold bar (produced by refineries) or Republic Gold Quarter Coins printed by the Turkish State Mint.

TURKISH TREASURY GOLD-BACKED LEASE CERTIFICATES

(SUKUK AL IJARAH) ISSUANCES January-April 2021

DATE

COLLECTED GOLD 1000/1000 GRAMS

NUMBER OF GOLD LEASE CERTIFICATES ISSUED

TENOR

MATURITY DATE

LEASE RATE (TERM)

LEASE PERIOD

22/02/21

27,954,525.000

27,954,525

1092 Days

21/02/24

1.15%

6 Months

22/03/21

10,472,375.000

10,472,375

1092 Days

21/03/24

1.15%

6 Months

14/04/21

9,827,000.000

9,827,000

1092 Days

12/04/24

1.15%

6 Months

SOURCE: Compiled by Mushtak Parker from data from the Debt Office Ministry of Treasury & Finance, Turkey April 2021

Note: The amount of Gold Lease Certificates issued is taken as 1000 for 1 gram collected gold from the issuances to individual investors and 1 for 1 gram collected gold from the issuances to institutional investors

TURKISH TREASURY TRY CPI INDEXED LEASE CERTIFICATES

(SUKUK AL IJARAH) ISSUANCES JANUARY to APRIL 2021

Date

Volume (TRY millions)

Tenor

Maturity Date

Rental Rate

Rental Payment Period

10/02/21

TRY1,468.13 million

2 years

08/02/23

6.95%

6 months

20/04/21

TRY1,361 million

5 years

15/04/26

1.43%

6 months

Source: Compiled by Mushtak Parker from data from the Debt Office Ministry of Treasury & Finance, Turkey   April 2021

 

ITFC Signs US$750m 3-Year Financing Agreement with Cameroon and Extends an Additional €98m Murabaha Facility to the Country’s Cotton Utility in April 2021

Jeddah – The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the trade fund of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, signed two financing agreements with the Government of Cameroon on 12 April 2021.

The first is a US$750 million three-year Framework Agreement, under which ITFC will provide Cameroon with an annual financing facility totalling US$250 million to support key sectors through integrated trade finance solutions.

The second agreement is a EUR98 million Murabahah financing facility to the state cotton company, Société de Développement du Coton (SODECOTON), to purchase vital agricultural inputs including pesticides, herbicides, cotton seed and soybeans.

According to ITFC, the US$750 million framework agreement will help Cameroon consolidate its economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, by facilitating the import of key commodities in energy, mining and health sectors including medical supplies, and will also support to the agriculture sector, with the export of commodities such as cotton and soya beans. In addition, the framework agreement will support the country’s local banks to boost the growth of small and medium sized enterprises and private sector development.

Sri Lanka’s Amana Bank Rewards Children’s Savings Accounts with Year-End Bonus to Encourage Parents to Nuture the Culture of Regular Savings for Their Children

Colombo – In another example of applying ESG, SDG and SRI principles to real economy banking, Sri Lanka’s premier Islamic bank, Amana Bank, has granted a year-end bonus to qualifying children’s savings accounts based on their track record in 2020.

The Bank, in which the Islamic Development Bank is the principal shareholder with a 29.97% equity stake, is part of an incentive-based strategy to encourage parents to nurture the habit of regular savings for and by their children by having a monthly standing order.

The scheme, launched in 2020, saw Amana Bank reward over 2,000 children’s savings account holders who received a minimum of 10 continuous monthly standing orders from the account of their parent or guardian with a bonus equivalent to their standing order amount up to Rs 2,000/-.

Arshad Jamaldeen, Amana Bank’s Head of Deposit Mobilization, stressed that “despite being a challenging time for many financially, our customers ensured their monthly standing orders for their children’s savings were active. We feel it is important to appreciate and encourage such parents with a year-end bonus to their children. Owing to the success of last year’s programme and to encourage parents to save more for their children, I am happy to inform that the Bank has increased the maximum Bonus value by 5 times, up to Rs 10,000/- for the 2021 Standing Order bonus promotion.”

In addition to providing a standing order bonus, as a measure to encourage parents to start saving for their children from an early age, Amana Bank also rewards a pre-loaded balance of Rs 1,000/- to all new accounts opened for children under the age of 2 years.

Amana Bank is the country’s first and only licensed commercial bank to operate under Islamic financial principles.

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