Debut Dubai bond finally set for launch

09 May 2003
The long-awaited debut bond issue by the government of Dubai is close to being launched, bankers involved in its underwriting say. The anticipated AED 1,500 million ($408.7 million) worth of paper will have a tenor of five years.

'There have been delays, there have been setbacks, but it is really moving now,' says one of the five lead managers. 'Roadshows will be staged in Dubai in mid-May and the bond will be placed before the end of the month.'

The five lead managers - which will also fully underwrite the issue on a pro-rata basis - are Emirates Bank International, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, National Bank of Dubaiand Standard Chartered Bank.

'Discussions are still ongoing over pricing, but there will be some determination to get it inside the similar issue by Emirates,' says one of the bankers. The five-year Emirates instruments - the debut local currency issue by a local institution - were priced at 70 basis points over Emirates interbank offered rate (Ebor - MEED 13:7:01).

The government of Dubai has earmarked the proceeds of the imminent bond to help meet the costs of the IMF/World Bank meetings due to be held in the emirate in September.

'There has been a lot of discussion over how to encourage an active secondary market in the instruments,' says a Dubai-based banker. 'Of course there is no way to ensure it and, given the comparatively high liquidity levels and the comparatively thin trading in the Emirates issue - which this will look very similar to, it might be difficult.'

Like the Emirates issue, the Dubai bonds will not be rated.

ABN Amrohas been involved in providing advice to the government of Dubai (MEED 31:1:03).

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