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Capital Markets

Innovations in Islamic Finance 2015: UK

£200 million sukuk

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Advisers: Barwa Bank, CIMB, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Standard Chartered, Linklaters, Clifford Chance

Sovereigns from countries without an Islamic majority in Asia, Africa and the eurozone all made their debuts in the sukuk market last year, often seeking to proof their potential as a hub for Islamic finance.

But it was the UK that beat the others – Hong Kong Luxembourg, and South Africa – becoming the first sovereign outside the Islamic world to issue a sukuk, with a £200 million ($300 million) five-year deal, priced flat to gilts, on June 25.

The deal boosted the prestige and visibility of the Islamic finance industry globally – as well London’s prestige and visibility as a financial centre.

Yet this sukuk has much more than symbolic importance. It lays the foundations for more sukuk issuance by UK companies. It also helps local Islamic banks’ liquidity management options, with the issuer making sure a good chunk of the deal (ultimately just under 40%) went to UK investors. With the deal more than 10 times oversubscribed, the biggest allocations after the UK went to the Middle East (37%) and Asia (24%).

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