Qatari telecom firm Ooredoo has secured a positive rating of A+ for its $1.25bn five-year Islamic bond (sukuk) from UK-based rating agency Fitch.
The rating follows the announcement of the sukuk at the end of November. It is the first Islamic bond raised by the company and will be used to refinance old debt.
It was the second sukuk to be raised by a Gulf company within a week, proceeding by a matter of days a $750m, five-year, non-convertible sukuk issued by Abu Dhabis Aldar Properties.
Fitch said that Ooredoos rating reflects the relatively positive outlook for the company, with the agency saying that companys revenue will continue to grow at rates in excess of current western European companies operating in Qatar.
It does note that the company will have to face the challenge of increasing competition and maturing mobile markets.
Fitch also states that Ooredoos operations in emerging markets outside the Gulf could expose the country to greater political risks that could affect growth.
Around 30 per cent of Ooredoos earnings are generated from Gulf markets in Qatar, Oman and Kuwait. The rest is derived from Indonesia, Iraq, Algeria and Tunisia.
Currency fluctuations and access to cash at the operating subsidiaries in some weaker-rated countries could also prove challenging under adverse political circumstances, Fitch notes.
Ooredoo is eying further expansion in the emerging markets having won a telecoms license in Myanmar. Fitch says the new investment is unlikely to have an impact on its rating.