DUBAI- The Emirate of Sharjah sold $750 million in 10-year sukuk on Tuesday in its second international bond sale of the year, as it seeks to plug finances hit by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sharjah sold the Islamic bonds at 3.2%, tightened 30 basis points from initial price guidance after the sukuk attracted more than $2.75 billion in orders, the document from one of the banks on the deal showed.
The deal comes despite governments of the hydrocarbon-rich Gulf benefiting from a rebound from the shock of last year's oil price crash, with Brent crude at around $76 on Tuesday, and the COVID-19 pandemic's impact lessening.
Still, the bond sale was needed to plug its deficit, projected to edge down slightly to 7.5 billion dirhams ($2.04 billion) in 2021 from 7.8 billion dirhams last year, according to the sukuk prospectus, reviewed by Reuters.
Sharjah has a relatively diverse economy compared to most Gulf sovereigns, with its mining and quarrying sector - which includes crude oil and natural gas - contributing just 4.3% of nominal gross domestic product last year, according to the prospectus. The UAE, a federation in which Sharjah is one of seven emirates, however, is a major crude producer.
Rated long-term BBB-(minus) with a stable outlook by S&P and Baa3 with a negative outlook by Moody's, Sharjah raised $1.25 billion in a two-tranche conventional bond deal in March comprising 12- and 30-year notes.
Last year, it raised a total of $2.25 billion via a sale of sukuk, a 30-year Formosa bond issuance and a reopening of existing bonds.
Sharjah's revenue, which fell 24% to 8.7 billion dirhams ($2.4 billion) year-on-year in 2020, is projected to rise to 9.7 billion dirhams this year, according to the prospectus.
HSBC was global coordinator for the deal, while Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered and The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector were also involved.
($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham)
(Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and David Evans) ((Yousef.Saba@thomsonreuters.com; +971562166204; https://twitter.com/YousefSaba))