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Al Baraka Bank plans subordinated sukuk in Jordan

MANAMA: Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group is planning on issuing its first Islamic bonds, or sukuk, for its Jordanian unit later this year, chief executive Adnan Ahmed Yousif told Reuters.

Jordan Islamic Bank, the oldest of four Islamic banks in Jordan and the largest in terms of assets, is planning a 10-year local currency sukuk by year-end, said Yousif, without giving a size for the transaction.

This would mirror deals by Al Baraka units in Pakistan and Turkey which have allowed them to boost regulatory capital as Basel III global banking standards are being phased in around the globe.

In December, Jordan Islamic amended its articles of association to allow it to both issue and buy sukuk, as well as to establish special purpose vehicles for such transactions.

Authorities in Jordan have taken steps to facilitate sukuk transactions over the past year: In July, regulators introduced long-awaited rules allowing both the public and private sectors to issue sharia-compliant debt.

Al Baraka is also planning a sukuk for its South African unit this year, said Yousif.

This would come on the heels of a $500 million sovereign deal issued in September, with South Africa’s National Treasury now considering a retail sukuk for 2016. -Reuters

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