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NBK Capital eyes $700m sukuk sales

Kuwait, March 28, 2008

NBK Capital, the investment banking arm of National Bank of Kuwait, wants to arrange sales of sukuk worth up to $700 million this year, and is planning four buys for a private equity fund.

The firm is looking to open offices in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as it expands in the Middle East to focus on advisory services for medium-sized deals, Amjad Ahmad, head of investment and merchant banking at NBK Capital, said.

Selling sukuk was now tough due to the global credit crisis, but NBK Capital hopes to execute several deals in the second half of this year, Ahmad said.

'It would be anywhere between $400 million and $700 million,' Ahmad said, without naming possible clients.

Last year, the firm arranged a $1.5 billion sukuk sale for Kuwaiti conglomerate National Industries Holding.

GCC issuers have slowed borrowing plans as concerns over the US economy and the falling dollar have pushed issuers to weather market conditions.

'It is hard to get the pricing clients want, but I think the market will turn. We're going to see a quiet period but I think it will come back pretty strongly,' he said.

NBK Capital, which operates in Kuwait and Dubai, is looking to complete up to four buys worth as much as $80 million for a $250 million private equity fund this year, Ahmad said, but declined to identify the fund.

'We are buying a very large car leasing company in Saudi,' he said, adding that the deals would be completed next month.

The firm wanted to float at least three companies this year, one in Bahrain and the rest in Kuwait, he said, declining to identify the companies.

NBK, which managed the listing of low-cost carrier Jazeera Airways in January, would be interested in helping to manage the sale of Kuwait Airways Corporation.

The parliament has approved a plan to sell 40 per cent of the loss-making national carrier within two years and plans to appoint two lenders to evaluate its assets first.

NBK Capital is aiming to open an office in Egypt this year and set up in Qatar and Saudi Arabia next year.




Tags: Egypt | Sales | sukuk | NBK Capital | New office |

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