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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

UAE's Dubai Bank plans $5 bln Islamic bond programme

By John Irish

DUBAI, Sept 24 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates' Dubai Bank plans a $5 billion Islamic bond programme to finance growth as it looks to become a major global Islamic lender over the next five years, the bank said on Wednesday.

The unlisted bank, a unit of Dubai Banking Group (DBG), said in a statement it had appointed Swiss investment bank UBS and Standard Chartered as lead arrangers. DBG is 30 percent owned by Emaar Properties EMAR.DU.

The bonds, or sukuk, would be listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Dubai International Financial Exchange, the lender said without giving a timeframe for the first tranche.

"This is a historic milestone for Dubai Bank, as we prepare to fund an aggressive plan for growth ... in retail and corporate Shari'a-compliant banking services," said Dubai Bank Chief Executive Officer Salaam al-Shaksy.

Shaksy said on Sept. 18 the group was negotiating bank opportunities in Indonesia and was close to securing partnerships and licences in Senegal and Nigeria as it looks to become the world's largest Islamic financial services company by 2015.

Chief Financial Officer Ahmed Elshall told Reuters last month the bank planned a $5 billion medium-term notes programme.

"International ratings agencies Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service have rated Dubai Bank's sukuk issuance programme at long-term 'A' and A3/Prime-2 respectively," Elshall said in the statement. (Reporting by John Irish; Editing by David Holmes)

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