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Al Hilal Bank plans to issue sukuk

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank expects net profit growth of over 40 per cent this year as it prepares to make a debut sukuk issue in the fourth quarter, its top executive said yesterday.

Earlier this week, the five-year-old Islamic bank was assigned its first credit ratings: an A1 from Moody's Investors Service and A-plus from Fitch Ratings.

The bank plans global roadshows for investors ahead of its $500 million sukuk issue, which would aim to diversify its funding and liquidity management, Mohamed Berro said.

"There's a scarcity of sukuk in the global market and there is liquidity looking for such sukuk. This will be a flight to quality for investors."

Unlisted Al Hilal has picked Standard Chartered, HSBC and National Bank of Abu Dhabi to arrange the sukuk under its $2.5 billion bond programme.

Al Hilal is wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, an investment arm of the government of Abu Dhabi. Some Abu Dhabi entities have deferred bond issues in recent months because of volatility in global markets.

"If market conditions are fair, Hilal will launch the sukuk," Berro said.

The lender predicts growth of around 42pc in profits for 2013. It earned a net profit of 217m dirhams ($59.1m) in the first half of this year and expects around 440m dirhams profit for the full year, up from 310m dirhams in 2012, he said. "Our mid- and large corporate business and personal banking are the drivers," Berro said.



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