Hospital poised for first UK sukuk issuance
LONDON (Reuters) - A London-based private healthcare organisation is set to issue the first-ever Islamic bond in Britain next month, a transaction that would strengthen the UK's credentials as a centre for Islamic finance.
The firm is looking to raise around 50 million pounds through an Ijarah sukuk as part of a wider project to raise up to 85 million pounds, the lead arranger, Liquidity Management House, told Reuters.
"We are targeting it as a private placing at the beginning and then it will be listed," said Emad Al Monayea, managing director of Liquidity Management House, a subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House K.S.C.
Al Monayea declined to say who the issuer was.
Ijarah sukuk give investors ownership of a tangible asset pledged by the issuer and tied to a lease contract. Returns come in the shape of rental streams paid on the asset.
Al Monayea said the sukuk would be launched as soon as British tax authorities give it the go-ahead. The process is expected to be completed by the end of March, ending negotiations that lasted "a long time," he said.
Al Monayea said a "soft" road show had already taken place and he expected the issue to attract investors globally, though mainly from the Middle East.
London has earlier hosted sukuk listings but there has hitherto been no issuance. Last month the British government announced its latest initiative to remove the final technical obstacles to facilitate Islamic bonds in Britain.
Supermarket chain Tesco issued a sukuk in 2008 in Malaysia to fund a local super store.
(Reporting by Cecilia Valente, editing by Will Waterman)
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