UAE to issue US dollar-denominated dual-tranche sovereign bonds

uae to issue us dollar-denominated dual-tranche sovereign bonds
© KARIM SAHIB The UAE raised $4 billion last year through the issuance of multi-tranche sovereign bonds. AFP

The UAE will issue dual-tranche US-dollar denominated sovereign bonds as part of plans to continue tapping the debt market.

The bond package includes a 10-year tranche and a 30-year Formosa tranche, the UAE’s Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Thursday.

Formosa bonds refer to debt issued in Taiwan by foreign borrowers in currencies other than the Taiwanese dollar.

The 10-year tranche will be listed on London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Nasdaq Dubai, and the 30-year tranche will be listed on LSE, Taipei Exchange and Nasdaq Dubai.

Each tranche will be of benchmark size, which generally means at least $500 million.

The Ministry of Finance did not provide details on the total amount it plans to raise through the issuance.

The UAE raised $4 billion last year through the issuance of multi-tranche sovereign bonds, marking the first time it issued bonds at the federal level.

The US-dollar bond package included conventional medium- and long-term 10- and 20-year tranches, as well as 40-year dual-listed Formosa bonds.

The UAE plans to issue more dollar-denominated bonds in 2022, Younis Al Khoori, undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance, said last year. Individual emirates are also free to issue debt to meet their own needs, he said.

The finance ministry has hired a group of banks to lead the latest deal including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, BofA Securities, Citigroup, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan, Mashreq Bank and Standard Chartered.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will also act as co-manager, the statement said.

The issuance of the bonds will be in accordance with Rule 144A / Regulation S under the Securities Act of the US, the ministry said.

The UAE federal government is rated AA- by Fitch, and Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service with a stable outlook for the national economy. Aa2 is the third-highest long-term credit rating that Moody’s assigns to fixed-income securities like government bonds, denoting their low credit risk.

The UAE’s economy is forecast to grow 6 per cent this year on stronger oil sector growth, according to Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. The Arab world’s second largest economy is expected to record 3.4 per cent growth in its non-oil GDP in 2022.

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