Warba Bank announced that it has priced USD 500.0 million senior unsecured sukuk, structured on the Sharia concept of Wakala, from its USD 2.0 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Program on 17 September 2019. It is the inaugural tap of the senior sukuk market by a Kuwaiti financial institution and serves as a benchmark for future issuers. The sukuk will be listed on Nasdaq Dubai and the Irish Stock Exchange.
Warba Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Shaheen Hamad Al Ghanem, said that the five year sukuk was priced at 135 basis points above five year US Dollar mid-swap resulting in an all-in rate of 2.982%. The issue was oversubscribed by a very impressive 6.31 times, garnering orders totaling USD 3.154 billion. According to Mr. Al Ghanem the positive response the bank received reflected investor confidence in the performance of the bank and its strategy which includes an aggressive push into the digital banking sector. It was also an endorsement of their confidence in the soundness of the Kuwaiti banking system which is regulated by the Central Bank of Kuwait and the strength and stability of the State of Kuwait.
Al Ghanem, who led the Bank’s delegation to meet investors in Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London recently confirmed that Sukuk attracted a wide range of investors who expressed a high degree of confidence in the bank. “This was reflected in the extremely high level of interest in our sukuk and the very competitive pricing achieved”. Al Ghanem further stressed that domestic and international investors’ confidence was driven by the success the bank has realized in recent years, making it a very attractive target for investors.
He continued; “We are proud of this achievement as it is not only a success for Warba Bank but also for the Islamic financial industry, and the sound investment atmosphere prevailing in the State of Kuwait. These factors attracted a wide range of investors who recognized the very favorable investment opportunity offered by Warba Bank’s sukuk.”
Al Ghanem also added; ”Subscription of Warba Bank Sukuk is a good investment opportunity, based on the bank performance in the last three years, it’s good growth rate in terms of asset and deposit growth, high operating profit and increasing market share, in addition to digital banking innovations that has resulted in an unprecedented positive reception from customer. It should also be noted that investment decisions in the sukuk are also premised on the anticipation of more positive results in the future borne by the numerous investments the bank is making”.
Al Ghanem also praised the ratings and awards obtained by the bank from numerous international institutions as well as the positive reports published from time to time about the bank. Warba Bank has garnered a number of local and regional awards such as the "Elite Quality Recognition 2018" award from J.P. Morgan Chase for excellence in banking operations - for the quality of operations in straight through processing for the transfer of funds of 99.0% in the classification MT103 and 99.7% in the classification of MT202. The Bank also won two prestigious awards from IFN magazine for “Structured Finance Deal of the Year” for the completion of the first sukuk transaction related to Sharia complaint financing in the aviation sector (Shaheen SPV) and “Cross Border Deal of the Year” for leading a syndicated financing arrangement of Byrne Equipment Rental LLC with the value of USD 91.0 million.
Al Ghanem pointed out that all indicators illustrate the continued and sustainable growth in demand for Islamic finance and investment instruments following impressive growth rates the last two decades. “All expectations are for a continuation of the same positive growth pace” he said.
In conclusion, Al Ghanem expressed his appreciation to the Central Bank of Kuwait and Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority for supporting the establishment of the Bank’s Sukuk Program and granting the requisite approvals. He also extended appreciation to the Bank’s Board of Directors and Sharia Board for their visionary leadership and guidance which enabled the success of the transaction.