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Islamic Banking and Finance

AMJ advises Oman Government on US$2billion international sukuk

Filed under AMJ Deals, AMJ News, Capital Markets, Islamic Banking and Finance, Sukuk

Oman's US$2billion sukuk

AMJ has advised the Government of Oman and the issuer, Oman Sovereign Sukuk Company, on the Omani law aspects of establishing an unlimited sukuk alijarah trust certificate issuance programme, and the debut US$2bn international sukuk issuance under the Programme. The Programme was listed on the Irish Stock Exchange in mid-May and followed by the US$2bn sovereign issuance which settled on June 1.

The sukuk facility, which has a seven-year tenor and profit rate of 4.397 percent, was effected under Rule 144A and Regulation S and listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.

The final order book was reportedly in excess of US$6.9 billion, more than three times the issue size, which demonstrates strong international demand for Oman’s high-yielding debt despite the country’s recent credit downgrade by Standard and Poor.

The transaction marks a number of firsts; the Programme is the first of its kind established by the Government; the sukuk issuance is Oman’s largest-ever; and the Sovereign’s first public offer of sukuk in the international market. The issuance marks Oman’s second foray into the international debt capital markets this year following a US$5 billion multi-tranche conventional bond sale in March upon which AMJ also advised. The funds raised by the two issuances are expected to meet a significant portion of the Sultanate’s requirements for 2017.

Mansoor Malik, managing partner, supported by senior Islamic Finance associate Asad Qayyum acted as Oman counsel to the Government and the issuer. Clifford Chance acted as international counsel. Alizz Islamic Bank, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered Bank were the sukuk book-runners.

In mid-2016, AMJ acted as sole counsel to the government on the Sultanate’s first international US$500 million sukuk issuance, which was privately placed. In two earlier ‘first of a kind’ transactions, AMJ advised the issue manager and joint lead managers on Oman’s debut US$648 million sovereign sukuk in 2015 and on Oman’s first-ever corporate issuance in 2013.

AMJ partners Islamic Finance Oman Forum 2017

Filed under AMJ News, Banking and Finance, Capital Markets, Islamic Banking and Finance

Mansoor Malik IFN

AAMJ partnered the Islamic Finance News in staging a successful second Oman Forum and Dialogue at the Grand Millennium, Muscat on March 7. The day-long event gathered over 150 industry players, legal experts and stakeholders from across the Middle East, Europe and Asia in an audience with the regulators to discuss trends in Oman’s fast-growing Islamic finance industry.

In the opening keynote address H.E Abdullah Salim Al-Salmi, executive president of the Capital Market Authority (CMA) announced that two private sector sukuk programmes totalling OMR 300million (US$ 780million), have received initial approval from the CMA. These sukuk programmes are the ‘first of a kind’ under Oman’s new sukuk regulation and come as the government is contemplating a second international sovereign issuance.

In a second keynote, H.E Hamoud Sangour Al Zadjali, the executive president of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) expressed satisfaction with the pace of development in the Islamic finance segment. In the short span of four years, the combined assets of Oman’s Islamic banks and windows had reached OMR 3billion, representing a 10% market share, by the end of December 2016.

AMJ’s managing partner, Mansoor Malik, shared his insights on Islamic finance regulatory frameworks in two expert panel sessions. He stressed the need for the industry and regulators to embrace alternative investment products in order to maintain the positive growth trajectory of the Shariah compliant segment and create a vibrant and sustainable market. Malik recently advised on the Sultanate’s international US$500 million sukuk, which was privately placed and settled on 14 July 2016, as well as the sovereign’s debut sukuk and preceding corporate sukuk, the first of its kind in Oman.

AMJ’s banking partner, Marcus Pery, participated in the Forum’s closed-door dialogue on developing Oman’s Islamic financial markets, between industry experts and CMA and CBO representatives. Senior associate, Asad Qayyum delivered a workshop to students on legal and regulatory issues in Islamic finance.

For more information, contact Bernadette Bhacker-Millard

IFN Islamic Finance Forum returns to Muscat

Filed under AMJ News, Capital Markets, Central Bank of Oman, Islamic Banking and Finance

AMJ is partnering with the IFN for this major event in the Islamic finance sector calendar in Muscat on March 7, 2017.

With keynote addresses by H.E Abdullah Al-Salmi, Executive President of the Capital Market Authority and H.E Hamood bin Sangour Al Zadjali, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, the Forum will provide an opportunity for industry players to gain insight into Oman’s Shariah-compliant capital raising and investment space as well as to network with other executives and leaders from government, industry and institutions.

This 2017 Forum builds on the success of the inaugural seminar last year which brought together more than 120 senior industry players from across the GCC with 26 domestic and international speakers. It will include an audience with the regulators and expert panel discussions on legislative and regulatory developments in the Islamic finance space as well as the outlook and prospects for Oman’s fast fund management industry, more sukuk issuances and cross border deals

For more information, contact Bernadette Bhacker-Millard

AMJ advises on Oman’s international sukuk issuance

Filed under AMJ Deals, Capital Markets, Sukuk

Oman Islamic finance - sukuk regulation

AMJ acted as sole Omani Counsel to all the parties on the Oman government’s recent US$500mn sukuk issuance. The sovereign sukuk issuance, Oman’s first US dollar-denominated sukuk issuance, was privately placed by Oman Sovereign Sukuk S.A.O.C, a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Oman and wholly owned by the Government of Oman.

The certificates were priced with a profit rate of 3.5% per annum, payable semi-annually. As in the case of Oman’s debut sovereign sukuk, the certificates are based on an al-Ijarah structure. The tenor is 6 years with maturity date of July 14, 2022.

Standard Chartered Bank acted as lead manager and placement agent for the issuance and Deutsche Bank as the certificate-holders’ agent and principal paying agent.

The purpose of this sophomore issuance is to finance ongoing development projects as well as to raise Oman’s profile in international debt markets. The issuance met with strong demand from investors despite a Baa1 rating by Moody’s compared to its A1 rating for the previous sovereign issuance.

Commenting on the deal, AMJ managing partner, Mansoor Malik, said, “It is a testament to investor confidence in Oman’s stable outlook and the government’s risk profile that, despite the rating downgrade, this international issuance achieved the same pricing as the previous sovereign issuance. We are pleased to have played our part in another landmark transaction in Oman’s Islamic finance space and to assist efforts to maintain forward momentum in the economy during challenging times.”

Mansoor Malik led AMJ’s team which included corporate and capital markets partner, Ardeshir Patel, and senior Islamic Finance associate Asad Qayyum. The same team acted as Oman Counsel to the issue manager and joint lead managers on Oman’s debut sovereign transaction in 2015.

Allen and Overy acted as International Counsel for Standard Chartered Bank and Clifford Chance as International Counsel for Oman Sovereign Sukuk S.A.O.C and the Government.

Oman’s new sukuk regulation to spur issuances

Filed under Capital Markets, Islamic Banking and Finance, Sukuk

Oman Islamic finance - sukuk regulation

A detailed regulation governing the issue and management of sukuk transactions came into force on April 11, 2016. Issued by the Capital Market Authority (CMA), the body authorised to regulate sukuk by an earlier amendment to the Capital Market Law (Royal Decree 59/2014), this is the latest development in Oman’s evolving Islamic regulatory landscape. Investor protections and procedural clarity introduced by the new rules are forecast to spur sukuk issuances particularly among private sector corporates seeking to diversify their financing bases and risk.

The new regulation codifies the trust structure to be adopted for an issuance and the powers and duties of the trustee to manage and invest the trust property and allows the issuance of a sukuk programme. It details the procedure for applying to the CMA for the issuance approval and grant of a licence to establish a special purpose vehicle in the form of a limited liability company or any other dedicated legal entity. The choice of shariah supervisory board (SSB) tasked to ensure that the issuance is shariah-compliant, is left to the issuer. Sukuks may be denominated in omani rials or a foreign currency. There is no restriction on the amount of the sukuk based on the beneficiary’s capital. The CMA has the option to require the issue to be credit rated.

The new regulation will provide a much-needed liquidity management tool and investment avenue base for both conventional and shariah-compliant investors. As a late entrant to the Islamic finance segment, Oman has benefited from the experience and best practice in other jurisdictions and this latest legislative move is no exception. The detailed and transparent nature of the regulation is expected to provide additional comfort to investors and give Oman an edge over regional sukuk markets which lack dedicated sukuk regulations and which, instead, issue sukuk by reference to conventional bond regulatory frameworks with shariah-compliant add-ons. According to Kemal Rizadi Arbi, an adviser at the CMA, “We are confident that this new regulation will have a positive impact on Oman’s capital market and the economy”.

Since this landmark development, approval has been granted for a major corporate to issue a US$150 million sukuk by way of private placement and interest among Oman companies to tap into capital market financing is rapidly rising. For more information on sukuk and other Islamic finance instruments, contact Mansoor Jamal Malik or Asad Qayyum.