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Majid Al Futtaim clears decks for sukuk programme

S&P assigns ‘BBB' rating to issue

Gulf News

Dubai: Majid Al Futtaim Holding, or MAF, has set up a $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) Islamic bond, or sukuk, programme, paving the way for the company to raise cash to boost liquidity and better manage its debt, according to its base prospectus.

Arrangers and dealers for the trust certificate issuance programme include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank, MAF said in its base prospectus, dated January 6, posted on the London Stock Exchange.

The establishment of the sukuk programme clears the way for MAF to proceed with its plans to raise at least $350 million via a five-year, benchmark-sized Islamic bond issue.

A senior MAF executive said in November that the sukuk proceeds will be used to pay down debt-mainly to build liquidity and manage liability as it replaces secured debt with unsecured debt.

MAF, a privately-owned property, hospitality and retail group active in the Middle East and North Africa, said in July it was keen on issuing bonds once market conditions improved, even after raising $1 billion in mid-2011 via a club fin-ancing deal that was to be partly used for refinancing an existing facility and to boost the group's liquidity.

In June 2011, it established a $2 billion global medium term note programme but has yet to issue any bonds as part of it.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has assigned its ‘BBB' issue rating to MAF's $1 billion trust certificate programme which is unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by property company Majid Al Futtaim Holding.