Virgin Mobile Middle East Raises $30 Million Islamic Bonds

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The deal from Dubai-based VMMEA, a mobile virtual network operator with a presence in Saudi Arabia, Oman and South Africa, part-owned by British entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, is a rare addition to a market that is comprised mostly of sukuk originated by sovereigns and financial firms, according to Reuters.

The transaction also includes a convertible feature that allows investors to transfer the Sukuk certificates into exchangeable instruments that would mature two years after an IPO.

Alternative investment firm Sancta Capital Group and Franklin Templeton Investments Middle East participated as anchor investors, with Arqaam Capital arranging the deal.

Other first-time issuers of Sukuk also planning to tap the market later this year include Oman’s Alizz Islamic Bank is setting up a OMR100 million retail Sukuk programme, while Abu Dhabi’s Manazel Real Estate has plans to raise as much as AED2.6 billion via sukuk, Reuters said.