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Capital Markets

Abu Dhabi: State fund ponders bond issue

Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi state investment fund, is considering launching its debut bond soon following a successful deal by the government last month. Details are scarce but the company has hired Citi, Goldman Sachs and RBS to arrange meetings with investors in the US and Europe.

The bond would be part of a bigger medium-term note programme for Mubadala as it seeks to diversify its funding strategy.

A deal would be a further sign of Abu Dhabi’s attempts to develop its capital markets. Last month, in a rare outing, the government placed $3 billion-worth of five-year and 10-year bonds that garnered huge support. Orders for the transaction reached $11.8 billion, with investors especially attracted to the five-year tranche. Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan acted as lead advisers.

The deal was the first part of the government’s $10 billion MTN programme. Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, the emirate’s finance department undersecretary, says the bonds will set a fresh benchmark and build out a yield curve for other institutional and corporate borrowers. The government stresses that the money raised would be used to diversify Abu Dhabi’s economy and not to support heavily indebted Dubai.

The five-year tranche was priced at 400 basis points over treasuries, while the 10-year was launched at 425bp over. That amounted to a spread tightening of 25bp and 12.5bp respectively from initial price guidance, leading some investors to drop out.

US and European funds took the vast majority of both tranches, with the latter accounting for the biggest chunk of the five-year bond with 49% and the former dominating the 10-year with 57%.

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