UAE. Leading banks from UAE successfully arranged an Islamic structured facility for the state owned carrier Sri Lankan Airlines.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Mashreq’s Islamic Banking Division, Mashreq Al Islami, Noor Islamic Bank and United Bank Limited arranged the facility as Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners The facility structure is as per Islamic Sharia’a principles and was subscribed in US$ and AED.
Mashreq Al Islami acted as the Coordinating Bank.
For Sri Lankan Airlines, this financing marks their debut in the international syndicated loan market. The facility is repayable over a period of four years from assigned ring-fenced cash flows with suitable credit enhancements.
The signing ceremony took place in Colombo and was attended by senior management of SriLankan Airlines, some Board members and senior representatives from the Banks.
John Iossifidis, Head of International Banking Group, at Mashreq said, “The successful closure of this transaction is clear evidence of the growing acceptance of Sri Lanka credit story in international markets”.
He emphasized the growing importance of Sri Lanka in the region and how Mashreq, in conjunction with its other key partner banks, have been instrumental in closing the facility despite the difficult global liquidity conditions continuing. He added, “Sri Lanka is a key strategic market for Mashreq and we are committed to working alongside our core relationship clients, to explore different forms of capital raising”.
This transaction marks an important foray in the Islamic banking space by a major corporate based in Sri Lanka and should pave the way for many similar transaction in the future. SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, currently operates a fleet of 19 aircraft covering 60 destinations across the globe with an increasing presence in the Middle East and Asia.
The successful arrangement of this facility will financially strengthen SriLankan Airlines at a time when the Government of Sri Lanka expects the airline to be a catalyst for the further growth of Sri Lanka’s economy, especially tourism and export industries.
Sri Lanka is one of the very few countries in the world that has been clocking an impressive GDP growth rate, consistently exceeding 8% p.a over the past two years leading to significant influx of tourists and visitors into the country. SriLankan Airlines, with the largest market share, in the airline business, stands to benefit from the overall upswing in the tourist inflow and business confidence in the country.
Mashreq is one of the UAE’s leading National Financial institutions and the second oldest. Founded in 1967 as Bank of Oman, the bank has played a pioneering role in the industry, particularly in retail banking. Among its many firsts, it was the first to launch such products as travelers’ cheques, credit cards and ATMs.
Mashreq has received numerous international awards reflecting the bank’s successful record, such as the ‘Best Regional Retail Bank Award’ at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2012, Best Bank in Emerging Markets in the Middle East 2010 Award from Global, Best Branch Design Award & Best Islamic Investment Fund Award for Mashreq Al Islami Income Fund from Banker Middle East Product Awards 2012, Dubai Human Development Appreciation Award 2012 for its efforts towards the Development of the Emiratisation initiative.
As a leading financial Institution in the UAE Mashreq aims to be world class in every facet of its business, including its social responsibility to the community it serves. Towards this goal the bank pays particular attention to recruiting, training, developing and retaining UAE National employees.