Tunisia Plans $500 Million Sukuk Sale by End of November
Tunisia, where citizens started voting for a new parliament, plans to raise $500 million from the sale of sukuk by the end of next month, according to Finance Minister Hakim Ben Hammouda.
Citigroup Inc., Natixis SA, Standard Chartered Plc and Qatar-based QInvest “expressed their willingness to cooperate” and consultations are ongoing, Hammouda said in an interview in Tunis on Oct. 24. Former Finance Minister Elyes Fakhfakh in July 2013 said the nation would raise as much as $700 million from the sale of Islamic bonds, the same month it approved a sukuk law.
“The issuance of sukuk took a long time because of the complexity of this process and lack of experience in this field,” Hammouda said. “But in the end our government decided to have this challenge and to issue sukuk by the end of November.”
Tunisia may follow the U.K. and Hong Kong in selling debut Islamic bonds this year as governments globally seek to attract Shariah-compliant investors. The sovereign sukuk market is expected to reach $30 billion this year, Moody’s Investors Service said last month. Global sukuk sales climbed 13 percent so far this year to $37.8 billion from the same period last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Tunisians cast ballots for a new parliament today, marking a milestone in the North African nation’s transition to democracy following the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali more than three years ago. Results are expected Oct. 29, according to the election commission, and presidential elections are scheduled for next month.
The Islamist Ennahda movement won the first free election in 2011 after Ben Ali’s ouster with 37 percent of the vote. It stepped aside earlier this year after a political crisis triggered by the assassination of two secular leaders by Islamist militants.