Dubai moves forward with bond debut

06 December 2002

The government of Dubai's plans for its debut bond are approaching fruition, bankers say, and an issue is likely to be staged by the end of January.

ABN Amro is acting as financial adviser to the government. Details of the issue are yet to be finalised, but bankers are expecting a five-year, local currency issue of AED 2,000 million ($545 million).

'This deal has been through a number of permutations and guises over recent months,' says an international banker interested in the transaction. 'The original hope was to do a proper dollar-denominated Eurobond, but they got stuck on the fact that Dubai is not a sovereign and they were unwilling to undergo the scrutiny of the ratings process.' The dirham bond will not be rated, bankers say (MEED 5:4:02, Cover Story).

A lead arranging group for the issue is expected to be formally mandated before the end of the year and is likely to be made up of Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, Emirates Bank Internationaland National Bank of Dubai. There is a possibility that National Bank of Abu Dhabimight also be included at the senior level.

At one stage in the bond's evolution, there was a possibility that it would be either fully Islamically structured or have an Islamic tranche. While bankers say this is looking less likely, if such a tranche were to be included Dubai Islamic Bankwould probably join the lead arranging group.

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