ABU DHABI Oct 10 Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim
Holding, sole franchisee of hypermarket chain Carrefour
in the Gulf, is to set up a sukuk programme as market
volatility continues to thwart its plans for a conventional
issue, an executive told reporters today.
MAF completed roadshows for an offering from its $2 billion
medium term notes programme in June but chose not to issue a
bond because of unfavourable market conditions.
"The next building block is to add a sukuk programme, the
sukuk market is more stable," Daniele Vecchi, senior vice
president, group treasury, at MAF, said on the sidelines of an
Islamic finance conference.
"We will start working on it fairly soon," he added.
Vecchi also confirmed the company still planned to tap the
conventional market when conditions permitted.
"We are ready if the market is ready. Right now the
liquidity position of the company is strong and there's no
pressure to issue bonds. Markets are still volatile."
MAF raised a $1 billion loan in July to help repay debt and
provide the company with additional funds after its bond issue
MAF is planning to expand its Carrefour franchise to Iraq
and Lebanon in the next year, taking the total number of MENA
states in which it operates to 13.
"We are planning Carrefour openings in northern Iraq this
year and Lebanon next year," Vecchi said.
However, MAF's development activity in Syria and Egypt had
been curtailed by the political unrest in the two countries this
"The country is recovering but not fully recovered," Vecchi
said of Egypt. "Business is quite strong and we are assessing
In a supplement to its MTN programme, filed on 29 September
with the London Stock Exchange, MAF said that it had slowed down
the pace of investment in both countries during 2011.
"The progress of these projects will be determined on the
basis of political developments as well as on the basis of the
projects' ability to meet the Group's own risk management policy
and investment criteria," it said.
(Reporting By Stanley Carvalho; Writing By David French;
Editing By xx)