Prasarana plans RM4bil rail sukuk

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, Malaysia’s public transport operator, plans to sell RM4 billion (US$1.3 billion) of sukuk as it extends a rail network in Kuala Lumpur, part of the government’s 10-year development plan.

“We hope to sell RM1 billion in tenors of 10 to 15 years early next month as we need the money for the line extension,” Mohd Zahir Zahur Hussain, group finance director at the state-owned company, said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur today. “We will look into selling the second portion of RM1 billion in September and another RM2 billion toward the end of the year.”

Prasarana is tapping the Islamic debt market for the second time in about 12 months amid rising global yields, after the Federal Reserve signaled it may pare monetary stimulus. There will be limited impact on the company’s borrowing costs from the Fed’s tapering given the bonds are government guaranteed and demand will come mainly from local investors, Mohd Zahir said.

The company is extending the overhead light-railway network in and around the capital Kuala Lumpur as part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s US$444 billion spending initiative to expand the nation’s infrastructure. Prasarana last sold Shariah-compliant notes in August 2012, raising RM2 billion.

The yield on the four per cent notes due in September 2027 has climbed to 4.3 per cent since they were issued, prices form Bursa Malaysia show. The yield on the government’s 10-year Islamic securities has climbed 36 basis points to 3.78 per cent since the US central bank governor first signaled a possible end to monetary stimulus on May 22. The rate reached 3.82 per cent on June 26, the highest level since November 2011.

Mohd Zahir said the company will proceed with its planned sale even if the Fed starts tapering debt purchases. Prasarana has total debt of RM9.9 billion outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Our projects are long term and we will tap the market to meet our cash-flow requirement,” he said.

The company hired HSBC Holdings Plc, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, AMMB Holdings Bhd and RHB Capital Bhd to manage the sukuk offering, Megat Khairulazhar Khairodin, head of corporate finance and project evaluation at Prasarana, said yesterday.

Sales of Shariah-compliant notes from Malaysian companies dropped 64 per cent in 2013 to RM19.9 billion from a year earlier, after reaching an unprecedented RM95.8 billion last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The Bloomberg-AIBIM Bursa Malaysia Corporate Index, which tracks 57 local-currency sukuk, has increased 2.3 per cent in 2013.

(Bloomberg)


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