DUBAI, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The Kingdom of Bahrain is in talks with lenders for an Islamic bond, or sukuk, which is expected to be issued in the first quarter of 2017, banking sources told Reuters.
No banks have been appointed yet to arrange the debt transaction, the bankers said on condition of anonymity because the information has not been made public. The size of the debt issuance will be a minimum of $500 million, one of the banking sources said.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Finance was not available for immediate comment.
The Kingdom has some $5 billion-equivalent in debt maturing in 2017, mostly consisting of short-term local currency treasury bills. It has no U.S. dollar bond expiring next year, Thomson Reuters data shows.
Bahrain’s latest U.S. dollar debt issuance was in October, when it sold a $2 billion bond comprising a $1 billion sukuk and a $1 billion conventional bond.
The $1 billion long seven-year sukuk, maturing in February 2024, carries a 5.625 percent coupon rate, while the conventional bond, with a 12-year maturity period, was issued with a 7 percent interest rate.
The bonds were arranged by Bank ABC, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered.
Bahrain is rated BB by S&P and BB+ by Fitch.
Editing by Jason Neely