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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Nasdaq Dubai helps on Tunisia sukuk

The financial exchange has joined a taskforce for the Tunisian Islamic bond issue.
Members from Bourse de Tunis are part of a task force helping Tunisia with capital-raising through Islamic bonds. Anis Mili / Reuters
Members from Bourse de Tunis are part of a task force helping Tunisia with capital-raising through Islamic bonds. Anis Mili / Reuters

Nasdaq Dubai has joined a Tunisian government task force to prepare the North African country for its first sukuk ­issuance.

The move comes a month after the signing of an agreement between the exchange and Bourse de Tunis for future collaboration on listings and Islamic finance solutions.

Nasdaq Dubai said yesterday that the task force is considering commercial, legal and regulatory issues to help the country create a solid framework for capital-raising through selling Islamic bonds to domestic and international investors.

The task force includes Tunisian members from the head of government’s office, the ministry of finance, the ministry of development, the central bank, financial market council and Bourse de Tunis.

“The task force will work speedily and thoroughly to help us create robust infrastructure for sukuk issuance that will give the government and Tunisian private sector a valuable new tool for raising capital,” Bilel Sahnoun, the chief executive of Bourse de Tunis, said in a Nasdaq Dubai statement. “Tunisia’s entry into the sukuk sector will promote international and domestic investment and confidence in our economy that will help to fund our national growth and development.”

Lamia Zribi, the country’s finance minister, said in January that Tunisia planned a sukuk issuance of about US$500 million this year, as part of about $2.85 billion in external financing for the year.

“Tunisia’s commitment to issuing sukuk will play an important role in the continuing global expansion of the sector, as more countries and more investors make use of its benefits as an effective Sharia-compliant capital markets tool,” said Hamed Ali, Nasdaq Dubai’s chief executive.

Nasdaq Dubai, at the Dubai International Financial Centre, is two-thirds owned by the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the onshore bourse. Nasdaq Dubai has 63 sukuk listings with a total nominal value of $51.6bn, while the DFM has three listings with a value of $2.15bn, making Dubai the world’s largest sukuk-listing venue by value, according to Nasdaq Dubai.

Globally, the market for sukuk is expected to remain stable this year at between $60bn and $65bn, S&P Global Ratings said in January.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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