Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 5 June 2020

FAB raises Dh3bn through bond issuances in three days

The UAE's largest lender raised Dh2.15bn through a debut sterling bond and Dh860m through its first Kangaroo bond in over five years

FAB maintained a strong balance sheet amid challenging market conditions. Chris Whiteoak / The National
FAB maintained a strong balance sheet amid challenging market conditions. Chris Whiteoak / The National

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE's biggest lender by assets, raised Dh3 billion in two separate bond issuances over three days.

The lender issued a three-year, £450 million (Dh2.15bn) bond, which is the first and largest issuance in sterling from a financial institution in the region, as well as a A$350m (Dh860m) five-year Kangaroo bond, its first in Australia since 2014.

“FAB’s ability to tap both the UK and Australian markets in the same week underlines the success of FAB’s funding strategy, with our first sterling bond representing another significant milestone for the bank," said André Sayegh, deputy chief executive and head of corporate and investment banking at First Abu Dhabi Bank.

"Both transactions are consistent with our strategy to diversify our investor base whilst raising cost-effective liquidity and funding."

FAB was created through the merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank in 2017. Last month, the lender reported a 4 per cent increase in profit for 2019 of Dh12.5bn as operating profit rose by the same amount to Dh20.2bn. By the end of the year, it had assets of Dh822bn.

The lender said the UK bond was 2.8 times oversubscribed and priced at 95 basis points over UK treasury bonds. The Australian five-year bond was a floating rate note priced at 110 points over the country's three-month bank bill swap rate. Both bonds will be listed on each country's relevant exchanges.

"The strong levels of demand demonstrate the trust and confidence that global investors place in FAB, which is underpinned by our solid fundamentals, diversified funding base, robust liquidity and market-leading credit profile and ratings,” Mr Sayegh said.

The bank also issued a $500m sukuk last month, for which the order book topped $1bn.

The amount of bonds and sukuk issued by sovereign and corporate entities in the Gulf last year was up 24 per cent to $114.17bn, according to a report published this month by Kuwait Financial Centre, Markaz. Almost $40bn of this, or 35 per cent of the total, was raised by firms in the region's financial sector.

Global sukuk issuance rose 6 per cent in 2019 to $42.2 billion as the range of issuers and investors broadened, according to Fitch Ratings.

Updated: February 16, 2020 07:51 PM



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