October 10, 2017 / 10:12 AM / a year ago

Kuwait’s Warba Bank syndicating $250 mln Islamic loan - sources

DUBAI, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Warba Bank, a Kuwaiti sharia-compliant lender, is syndicating a $250 million debt facility, its first in the syndicated loan market, sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The financing is Warba’s latest fund-raising exercise after its issue in March of $250 million of Tier 1 sukuk, as the lender seeks to boost its capital ratios and improve liquidity buffers.

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Bank ABC, Boubyan Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank are leading the three-year deal, said one of the sources. The Islamic facility was launched to syndication last week, he added.

An executive at the bank was not immediately available for comment.

Moody’s on Tuesday affirmed Warba Bank’s Baa2 rating and maintained its outlook as stable, citing the “very high probability of government support in case of need”. The government of Kuwait has 31 percent direct and indirect ownership in the bank, Moody’s said.

Warba has participated as a lender in a number of U.S. dollar-denominated, sharia-compliant transactions in the region this year. These included a $25 million contribution as part of a $236 million Islamic loan to Turkey’s Ziraat Participation Bank, $50 million to a $400 million sukuk issue for Dubai’s Meraas Holding, and $80 million as part of a $300 million Islamic loan for Kuwait’s Aviation Lease and Finance Co.

Warba Bank’s profits improved in the first half of 2017, with profit attributable to shareholders up to 2.5 million dinars ($8.3 million) from 455,000 dinars a year earlier, as operating revenues climbed to 16.8 million dinars from 10.1 million dinars. (Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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