Luxembourg will start meeting investors in the next two months to drum up support for a debut sale of shariah compliant bonds as sukuk sales surge worldwide.
The country, which has an AAA credit rating at Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, is planning to become the second non-Muslim nation to issue a sovereign Islamic bond after the U.K. raised 200 million pounds ($335 million) in June. Ministry of Finance officials will meet investors in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia from the end of September to promote the proposed sale, according to an e-mailed statement Aug. 7.
Borrowers from Hong Kong to South Africa are considering selling sukuk to tap into the Islamic segment, where almost $27 billion of bonds were sold this year compared with about $21 billion for the same period in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Investors placed orders for more than 10-times the amount offered by the U.K.
Issuing a sukuk, which pay returns on assets to comply with Islam’s ban on interest, would help Luxembourg diversify its status as a financial center and develop new skills to help it stand out from other European hubs, according to the finance ministry’s website. The ministry is planning to use three government buildings as assets in the deal, it said.
Officials will visit the U.K., Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to market the bond to local institutions, according to the e-mailed statement.-Bloomberg