Unicorn Investment Bank (Unicorn), the Bahrain-based financial services group, announces the successful close of a US$450 million 5-year Sukuk on behalf of Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company (Dar Al-Arkan), a leading residential real estate developer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Sukuk, which offers a yield of 11%, will be used to finance the company’s current and future development projects.
The Sukuk marks the first international issue out of the GCC region in 2010 and was jointly lead managed by Unicorn, Deutsche Bank Securities and Goldman Sachs International, who were also the joint bookrunners. Unicorn was the Shari’ah advisor to the transaction.
The Sukuk attracted significant interest from investors in the GCC, Europe, Asia and the United States, with Dar Al-Arkan opting to close the issue at US$450 million. As the first 144a issue by a company in Saudi Arabia, the landmark Sukuk made it possible for US investors to directly participate in a Saudi Arabia issue for the first time.
Commenting on the successful close of the transaction, Ikbal Daredia, Head of Capital Markets, Institutional Banking and Treasury at Unicorn, said: “We are pleased at the positive response that we received from the international financial community, particularly given recent events in both the GCC region and Europe and the prevailing uncertainty in the international capital markets, which resulted in a particularly tough environment. We have seen several bond issues pulled in recent weeks both within and outside the GCC, and our ability to successfully close this transaction affirms the strength of Dar Al-Arkan’s business model and the company’s strong growth prospects.”
Majid Al Sayed Bader Al-Refai, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, of Unicorn, commented: “The success of this Sukuk issue given the adverse economic climate both regionally and internationally is a testament to investor confidence in both Dar Al-Arkan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Unicorn is proud to have brought this transaction to the market, and we look forward to continuing to play an important role in the development of the Islamic capital markets.”
Moody’s Investor Service has assigned a provisional rating of ‘Ba2’ to the Sukuk, while Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service has assigned a provisional rating of ‘BB-‘ to the issue. Moody’s has also assigned a Ba2 rating to Dar Al-Arkan, the largest developer in Saudi Arabia by market value. Moody’s noted that the Ba2 rating is one of the highest industry ratings; the mean rating of global homebuilding companies is Ba3. The Ba2 rating also positions Dar Al-Arkan well above regional peers in the GCC countries.
The Sukuk, which will be issued through the Dar Al-Arkan Sukuk Company II, marks Dar Al-Arkan’s fourth Sukuk issue to date. The company previously issued two international Sukuk with a total value of US$1.6 billion in 2007. The company also raised 750 million Saudi Riyals (US$200 million) through a locally issued Sukuk in May last year.