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Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Sukuk surge sparks alternative ways of funding

MANAMA: An unprecedented surge in sukuk issuance during the past three years has provided issuers with an alternative way to structure their funding, says a leading global financial monitor. In a report published yesterday, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services explained how it addresses the various factors involved in rating these Sharia-compliant instruments.The report Standard & Poor's Approach To Rating Sukuk estimates sukuk outstanding worldwide to be in excess of $80 billion at June 30, this year. Standard & Poor's believes new laws that encourage both home ownership and mortgage borrowing are likely to provide a platform for a securitisation market in the Middle East. The firm now rates more than $12 billion of listed sukuk worldwide, including landmark issues from DP World and Saad Trading in 2007. Standard & Poor's announced the appointment of a new regional manager for the firm in the Middle East. Jan Willem Plantagie will be based in Standard & Poor's new office in Dubai from November and will lead efforts to further strengthen the company's presence across the region's rapidly evolving capital markets. Mr Plantagie, who joined the company in 1998, has been coordinator of Standard & Poor's Middle East Taskforce since 2005, and was most recently managing director and head of the project finance, PPP and transport infrastructure team at Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. "With Jan's extensive knowledge of the Middle East market generally and Islamic finance specifically, he will contribute significantly to championing Standard & Poor's strengths and capabilities in this dynamic growth region," said Standard & Poor's Europe managing director Torsten Hinrichs. "Already the largest provider of credit ratings in the Gulf, Standard & Poor's has built a very strong platform from which to expand. - (GDN, 18 Sep 07)

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