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Emaar Properties hires banks for dollar Islamic bonds

[DUBAI] Dubai's largest listed developer, Emaar Properties, has hired banks to arrange the potential issuance of dollar Islamic bonds, re-entering international debt markets after it put previous bond plans on hold.

Emaar, which is 29.2 per cent owned by state fund Investment Corporation of Dubai, is looking to issue 10-year sukuk, or Islamic bonds, after meeting investors in Asia and London from Sept 6, according to a document seen by Reuters issued by one of the banks leading the deal.

The planned deal, part of a US$2 billion debt raising programme, comes amid tough conditions in the Dubai property market, where oversupply has seen residential prices slide by at least a quarter since mid-2014.

Emaar and Nakheel, a state-owned developer, had planned to issue sukuk last year but put their plans on hold, sources previously told Reuters. Emaar said at the time that was due to rising interest rates, rather than to market conditions.

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Yields of Emaar's existing dollar sukuk issued in 2014 and due in 2024 spiked to an all-time high of around 5.2 per cent in December last year, but they have recovered since and they are now down to 3.4 per cent, Eikon Refinitiv data showed, as conditions improved in emerging markets amid lower global rates.

Standard Chartered was hired as sole global coordinator for the new sukuk deal. Other banks leading the transaction are Dubai Islamic Bank, Deutsche Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Mashreqbank and Sharjah Islamic Bank, the document showed.

The potential issuance follows an announcement on Monday by Dubai's ruler Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum that Dubai is setting up a real estate planning commission to regulate projects and avoid competition between government-backed companies and private firms, a move aimed at controlling supply in the market.

A number of state-owned developers, such as Nakheel, and partly government-owned developers including Emaar will also be part of the new body, known as the Higher Committee for Real Estate Planning. 

REUTERS