Innovations in Islamic Finance 2015: IIFIm/Gavi
The immunization sukuk $500 million
Advisers: Barwa, CIMB, NBAD, NCB, Stanchart; Allen & Overy, Slaughter and May
Backers of Islamic finance often try to argue that Shariah compliance contributes to a broader social good. That’s not always an easy claim to make, but this deal showed Islamic finance contributing in a useful way.
The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) is a multilateral created to provide predictable and long-term funding for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which seeks to bring health and immunization programmes to young children in 70 of the world’s poorest countries.
The idea of the sukuk was to raise funding, diversify the investor base, and create a benchmark in sukuk without compromising on the pricing available in the conventional world. It achieved this impressively, pricing at just 15 basis points over dollar three-month Libor, a rate 4 bps inside IFFIm’s previous three-year conventional bond, despite the deal size having been increased from a planned $300 million. Moreover, since conventional funding had chiefly come from the west, the fact that 89% of the sukuk went to Middle Eastern and Asian investors was a useful diversification: in fact, 85% of the order book came from new, and primarily Islamic, investors.