Abu Dhabi plans second benchmark bond sale


Abu Dhabi plans to sell its second benchmark-size bond to help develop debt markets in the country, an official at the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange said on Tuesday.

"There is coordination and talks between us and government entities in Abu Dhabi for the issuing of the government bonds," said Rashed Al Baloushi, deputy chief executive officer at ADX, after unveiling a five-year plan for the stock exchange.

"The bonds would be issued by the government as a benchmark."

A benchmark is generally considered to be about $500 million.

Baloushi told reporters the government had still to decide the size and declined to give a timeframe.

"We are creating a debt market...a comprehensive one," Baloushi said. "There'll be more liquidity and shareholders will have new pools of investment."

The sale is one of a growing number in the Gulf in recent weeks, marking a spike in issuance following a lull when firms shelved bond plans after defaults on US home loans raised the cost of borrowing, triggering a credit crunch.

The UAE's commercial hub Dubai and the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah have already sold bonds this year.

Bankers say sovereign bonds make corporate issuance easier by providing a benchmark against which pricing can be compared.

In July, Abu Dhabi sold a $1 billion dollar-denominated bond.