GCC dollar bond issues to hit $37bn

DUBAI: Total US dollar-denominated bond issues from the six GCC countries are expected to hit $37 billion in 2013, dominated by sales from Dubai, according to a research report from Standard Chartered.

The estimated figure is slightly higher than the $34bn of total dollar issuance in 2012, the bank said.

“Contrary to the normal trend in which Abu Dhabi Inc dominates GCC issuance, we expect Dubai Inc to dominate this year,” the bank said, adding that Dubai names were expected to issue a further $5bn in the rest of this year.

The bank said its estimates did not take into account any potential issuance from regional telecommunications operators Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom) and Etisalat to fund a possible buyout of Maroc Telecom.

Global bond issues from the GCC this year are estimated to be five per cent higher year-on-year.

Much of that issuance has been dominated by Dubai, including a two-part $1.25bn issue by the government, a $1bn issue from state utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority , and $1.75bn from flagship airline Emirates in two separate sales.

Including bonds from Dubai-based banks, total year-to-date issuance from the emirate, which has benefited from a return of investor sentiment and an economic revival in some sectors, stands at $5.75bn.

Standard Chartered said it expected Abu Dhabi-related names to issue about $8.5bn, dominated by quasi-sovereign entities, potentially state investment fund Mubadala Development Company and Tourism Development Investment Company, which have not tapped markets recently.

The bank also predicted the Qatar sovereign would issue $4bn, nearly half of total anticipated issuance from that country. Qatar National Bank, the state’s biggest bank, issued $1bn on Monday in a swift one-day deal.

Batelco is meeting investors this week for potentially its first international bond deal. Investors have indicated appetite for the deal will be buoyed by the opportunity to buy into a rare GCC corporate credit.

Gulf Daily News, April 24,2013