JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank has chosen four banks to arrange a local currency sukuk, joining a trend of lenders in the kingdom using Islamic bond markets to top up their capital reserves.
NCB had mandated its own investment banking arm, NCB Capital, as well as that of Gulf International Bank and the Saudi Arabian units of HSBC and JP Morgan to arrange the transaction, those arranging banks announced.
Meetings with Saudi investors will take place next week, with pricing of the Islamic bond expected toward the end of February, a source with knowledge of the matter said.
The sukuk will enhance the bank’s Tier 2 — or supplementary — capital and will have a 10-year lifespan with an option of the bank redeeming the instrument after five years.
The size of the issue has yet to be determined.
NCB is the latest Saudi bank to announce plans for a capital-boosting sukuk. Many banks have been selling such instruments to strengthen their reserves after a period of sustained lending growth.
Riyad Bank completed a SR4 billion ($1.1 billion) issue in November, and Saudi Hollandi Bank priced a 2.5 billion riyals offering in December.
NCB’s chairman was quoted in October as saying the bank was planning to issue a capital-boosting sukuk worth up to SR4 billion.
The bank’s capital adequacy ratio, an indicator of financial health, would drop to around 15 percent after the distribution of dividends for 2013, Mansour Al-Maiman said at the time.
Saudi banks are generally well capitalized compared to their Western peers.