Arab Petroleum Investments Corp hires banks for dollar sukuk

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Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), a multilateral development bank based in Saudi Arabia, has hired banks ahead of a potential US dollar denominated sukuk.

The potential bond sale, expected to take place next week, is the latest in a string of bond deals in the Gulf, as companies follow the region’s governments in tapping the international debt markets.

The planned five-year sukuk would be the company’s second Islamic debt sale after a $500 million five-year sukuk issuance in 2015.

APICORP, wholly owned by the 10 member-states of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting countries (OAPEC), has also raised two Formosa bonds - debt issued in Taiwan - over the past two years.

It sold a $300 million five-year bond in 2016 and, just a few weeks ago, a $105 million five-year bond. Both transactions were led by Credit Agricole CIB.

APICORP will start meeting fixed income investors in Riyadh on Thursday, and then will hold meetings in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday and in London on Monday and Tuesday next week.

The planned bond is expected to be of benchmark size, which is usually upwards of $500 million.

The bond’s pricing will take into account a series of comparable deals, including APICORP’s sukuk due in 2020, but also the recent five-year bonds issued by Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, considering that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are two of APICORP’s three largest shareholders together with Kuwait, one source close to the matter said.

APICORP, created by OAPEC in 1975 to provide financing options to the Arab energy industry, will tap the international debt markets at a busy time for Gulf issuers. But it is likely to attract strong demand from Islamic accounts that can only invest in Islamic paper.

Bahrain’s Oil and Gas Holding Company is expected to complete on Wednesday a 10-year benchmark conventional bond, and Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC is also expected to announce the launch of a project bond soon likely to be around $3 billion.

APICORP, rated Aa3 by Moody’s, has hired Bank ABC, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, KFH Capital and Standard Chartered Bank as joint lead managers and bookrunners for the planned deal.

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