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Saudi largest lender SNB announces start of SR-denominated sukuk offering

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RIYADH: Saudi National Bank has announced the issuance of its additional sukuk offering on Aug. 28, in a bid to strengthen the bank’s capital base.

Denominated in Saudi riyals, the size and offer price of the issuance are still undetermined and subject to market conditions, SNB said in a stock exchange filing.

The expected end date of the offering is Dec. 31, 2022. Investors shall subscribe to a minimum of SR1 million ($266,000), with a return rate yet to be determined.

SNB Capital will act as the sole book-runner, lead arranger, and lead manager of the offer.

This comes after the bank reported strong earnings for the first half of 2022, posting a 59 percent profit surge to SR9 billion.

This is against the SR5.7 billion profit the Saudi-listed bank had reported in the corresponding period last year.

The profit hike came as total operating profit surged 24 percent to SR16.4 billion from SR13.3 billion during the same period a year ago.

SNB also attributed the figures to a drop in expenses of 12.5 percent, mainly due to lower impairment charges for credit losses. 

Along with the robust financial performance, the bank declared a half-year dividend payout of SR4.48 billion, representing SR1.1 per share.

Shares of SNB have surged nearly 11 percent to date this year, reaching SR70.6 in early trading on Sunday following the sukuk announcement.

The massive lender currently holds a market capitalization of almost SR316 billion.

Earlier this year in January, SNB completed the issuance of $750 million worth of sukuk to qualified investors through private placement.

With a maturity period of five years, the dollar-denominated sukuk is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s international securities market.

Citigroup Global Markets Ltd., Emirates NBD, Goldman Sachs International, HSBC Bank, Mizuho International, and SNB Capital jointly managed the offering.

On a wider scale, the Kingdom’s domestic market has recorded $14.4 billion worth of sukuk sales this year, registering a growth of 185 percent over the last year, an analysis done by Bloomberg revealed.

This amount represents more than half of global domestic sukuk sales, and the Saudi government alone has sold more than 60 percent of it.

“There are a lot of projects going on in Saudi Arabia driven by their Vision 2030 to diversify their economy away from oil. These all need funding,” Doug Bitcon, the Dubai-based head of credit strategies at Rasmala Investment Bank, told Bloomberg. 

“Local investors are familiar with the local companies, and they can often raise liquidity at fine spreads,” he added.

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