Gulf Finance House (GFH) yesterday announced that its USD 1 billion medium term sharia'a compliant Sukuk issuance programme (EMTN) has been assigned an investment grade credit rating (BBB-) preliminary rating by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services.
The rating is in line with GFH's corporate rating given by Standard and Poor's, and was one of the first given to an Islamic Investment Bank in the world.
The Sukuk issue, which has a tenure of five years and is being jointly arranged by Dresdner Kleinwort and HSBC, is GFH's first Sukuk issue. The launch of the Sukuk closely follows the Bank's recent announcement of the offer price range (US$ 2.50 - US$ 3.00 per share) of its Global Depository Issue as part of its plans to list on the London Stock Exchange. The Sukuk issue is in line with GFH's business strategy unveiled last quarter to use its balance sheet more effectively in order to generate better returns to its shareholders.
Commenting on the Sukuk, Mr. Esam Janahi, Chief Executive Officer & Board Member of GFH, said: 'Buoyed by continued excellent financial performance, including a 27 per cent rise in net profit in the first quarter of 2007, GFH has been exploring several short and medium term options for diversifying its funding base to optimally support its significant expansion plans, as was outlined in its recently unveiled mid-term growth strategy. This US$ 1 billion Sukuk programme is one such initiative that will help GFH's expansion plans. GFH plans to make a dual listing of the Sukuk in Bahrain.'