Dubai expected to issue bond of at least $500m in Q1

Banking sources say emirate has not yet sent request to banks for US dollar bond proposals

The emirate of Dubai is expected to issue a US dollar bond by the end of the first quarter, though it has not yet sent to banks any official requests for proposals to arrange the issue, banking sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Banks that had lead managers’ roles on Dubai’s previous debt issues have pitched for a new mandate, added one of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is private.

The size of the deal is likely to be larger than a benchmark issue, which conventionally means upwards of $500 million, the same source said.

A spokesman for Dubai’s department of finance declined to comment.

The government is “vigilant” regarding the possibility of issuing a new bond, said a Dubai-based debt capital markets banker. “They have a relatively well-developed curve, so they shouldn’t have any problem when they want to issue.”

Neighbouring emirate Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, met fixed income investors in Asia at the end of January but an international issue may not happen this year, sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Dubai’s most imminent debt maturity is a $600 million sukuk issue maturing in May this year. The lead arrangers on that deal, issued in 2012, were Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Barwa Bank, Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

Its latest international bond was a $750 million sukuk issue in 2014 that is due in 2029, arranged by Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered.

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