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Debt capital markets: NBAD takes convertible step

The UAE capital markets received a boost last month when National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) issued a Dh2.5 billion ($680 million) tier 2 convertible bond through a private placement. It is the first time this type of hybrid security has been issued in the UAE.

The deal provides tier 2 capital to the bank and gives bondholders the right but not the obligation to convert the bonds into shares at a preordained price.

Local investors were the bonds’ biggest buyers, accounting for 70% of the paper. Another 4% was placed with Gulf investors outside the UAE, while the rest was bought by non-Gulf accounts, predominantly in Europe. With the dirham pegged to the dollar at a rate of 3.67, the bond has minimal currency risk for international investors.

The convertibility option is a stepped price structure and kicks in at the end of the second year if the bank’s share price is at least Dh42. After that the price structure is Dh47 at the end of the third year, Dh52 at the end of the fourth and Dh57 at the end of the fifth.

In the money

The bank’s current share price is Dh44, which means investors effectively have an “in-the-money option”, according to Richard Amos, general manager, investment banking, at the bank. If investors do not convert, the security is a normal 10-year bond, which the issuer can call after five years. “The bond has to run for five years,” says Amos.

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