Thursday, August 21, 2008

CityDev Inks Deal With CIMB

Source : The Straits Times, August 21, 2008

SINGAPORE property developer City Developments on Thursday inked a deal with Malaysian financial group CIMB in a bid to raise one billion Singapore dollars through the issuing of Islamic bonds.

City Developments hopes to have the first tranche of the issue on the market by the end of the year, the company said. CIMB is lead manager for the issue.

The signing followed the announcement last week by City Developments that it planned the unsecured Islamic bond offering.

'This is the first Islamic unsecured financing transaction of its kind in Singapore,' said Mr Kwek Leng Joo, City Developments managing director.

The city-state has been trying to grow its share of the Islamic finance market.

He said the Islamic bond offering will boost City Developments' coffers and enable it to tap opportunities during an emerging global economic slowdown.

'We always believe that in the midst of any economic slowdown, there are tremendous opportunities to explore and take advantage of,' Mr Kwek said.

City Developments is one of Singapore's leading property developers and also has interests in hotels.

Islamic banking fuses principles of sharia, or Islamic law, and modern banking. Islamic funds are banned from investing in companies associated with tobacco, alcohol or gambling, considered taboo by Muslims.

According to CIMB, the Islamic bond market is holding up despite global economic woes.

'It is holding up quite well considering that it is a new market and people are still hungry for assets and the demand is still very much there for any issue whenever they come to market. They will take it up,' said Mr Badlisyah Abdul Ghani, chief executive officer of CIMB Islamic Bank Berhad.

Muslim-dominated Malaysia has the world's largest Islamic bond market, accounting for about 66 percent of total Islamic bonds issued worldwide in 2007, figures from CIMB showed.

The global market for sukuk - the Islamic equivalent of bonds - could top 100 billion US dollars (S$140 billion) in the next few years after exceeding 60 billion dollars last year, credit ratings firm Standard and Poor's said in March. -- AFP

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