January 7, 2020 / 12:49 PM / 18 days ago

Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat hires banks for dollar sukuk

DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has hired banks to arrange fixed income investor meetings ahead of a potential issue of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk, or Islamic bonds, a document by one of the banks leading the deal showed.

The fund has picked Citi (C.N), Gulf International Bank, HSBC (HSBA.L), National Bank of Bahrain NATB.BH and Standard Chartered (STAN.L) for meetings in London, Asia and the Middle East, starting on Thursday.

A seven-year issuance might follow, subject to market conditions, the document said.

The deal could be the first international debt sale by a Gulf borrower this year.

The regional debt markets have weakened following last week’s killing by a U.S. drone of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, which has sparked fears of a military conflict in the region.

But a sukuk issuance might not be seen as a real test for regional issuers’ ability to access international debt buyers despite market volatility, as sukuk generally benefit from large pent-up demand from regional Islamic investors.

Mumtalakat, rated BB-(minus) by Fitch, raised $600 million in sukuk last year, having obtained orders of around $4 billion for the debt sale.

Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; editing by Nick Macfie

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