MANAMA, (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings Plc has sold bonds worth 2.25 billion dirhams ($612.7 million), the largest conventional dirham bond to be sold by any bank, the lender said on Sunday.
The five-year bonds were priced at 70 basis points above the six-month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate (EIBOR), and the money raised will be used for general corporate purposes, HSBC Bank Middle East Ltd said in a statement.
The bonds’ dirham denomination highlights investor appetite for Gulf Arab securities in local currencies, on expectations they may be allowed to strengthen to stave off rising inflation, increasing the value of future bond returns.
All Gulf Arab currencies except for Kuwait’s are pegged to the falling U.S. dollar.
There have been bigger dirham-denominated bond sales in the $15 billion Islamic market.
Unrated Dubai property developer Nakheel last week sold $980 million of two-year dirham-denominated Islamic bonds at 225 basis points above six-month EIBOR.
Nakheel’s 2006 sale of $3.52 billion of Islamic bonds was the world’s largest.
HSBC’s Middle East subsidiary is rated Aa2 by ratings agency Moody’s and AA- by Fitch.
Dubai-based HSBC Bank Middle East has operations across the Middle East and in Pakistan. An associated company operates in Saudi Arabia.