Dubai developer to issue $135m in sukuk

The First Group has completed 11 projects in the UAE to date. (Shutterstock)
Updated 12 June 2019

Dubai developer to issue $135m in sukuk

  • The First Group has appointed investment bank Shuaa Capital to arrange the planned transaction
  • The First Group specializes in hotel investments and has completed 11 projects in the UAE to date

DUBAI: The First Group, a Dubai-based developer and real estate investor, plans to issue $135 million in sukuk, or Islamic bonds, a company spokeswoman said.
The developer has appointed investment bank Shuaa Capital to arrange the planned transaction, she added, without disclosing details on the planned use of proceeds.
It is one of few debt issues in the pipeline in the Gulf region after business slowed sharply during the holy month of Ramadan, which ended last week.
The First Group specializes in hotel investments, according to its website.
It has completed 11 projects in the UAE to date and has seven hospitality developments under construction, the spokeswoman said.


Fawaz Alhokair’s M&S deal in Saudi ends, still partners elsewhere

Updated 28 min 20 sec ago

Fawaz Alhokair’s M&S deal in Saudi ends, still partners elsewhere

  • M&S still has a partnership with Alhokair in Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair said on Wednesday its franchise agreement in the kingdom with British retailer Marks & Spencer had ended, along with similar deals with a number of “non-performing” brands.
Marks & Spencer (M&S) said in an email that its franchised stores in Saudi Arabia were transferred to Al-Futtaim Group in 2018. M&S has 15 franchised stores in Saudi Arabia.
“We are focused on continuing to work with Al-Futtaim Group to develop and grow our business in Saudi Arabia,” M&S told Reuters.
M&S still has a partnership with Alhokair in Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan, according to M&S’s website.
M&S has more than 400 stores outside the United Kingdom, where it is a mainstay of shopping streets with more than 1,000 outlets. Its international business has been struggling, however, with revenues falling 14% and underlying operating profit down 6% in the year ended March 30, 2019.
Alhokair also said on Wednesday it made a first-quarter net profit of 224 million riyals ($60 million), down 10.1% from the same period a year earlier.
The firm, which owns franchise rights for brands including Mango, Zara and Banana Republic in the Middle East, said a decline in sales during the quarter was driven by the closure of non-performing stores and the disposal of weak brands as the group presses ahead with a “portfolio optimization strategy.”
($1 = 3.7504 riyals)