Ras to sell $ 400m worth of Islamic bonds


Like Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah has little oil and has said it plans to lure investment worth Dh50 billion ($ 13.6 billion) by 2009 to develop its tourism and industrial sectors.

"Ras Al Khaimah is investing in various projects in the emirate and overseas where we see opportunities for growth," Massaad said in an interview.

The authority has invested about Dh500 million so far reclaiming land to build Al Marjan Island, a group of five man-made islands over four square kilometres in the Arabian Gulf, Massaad said.

It will spend about Dh600 million this year to complete the islands which, mirroring the three palm-frond shaped islands being built in Dubai, will include hotels, residential developments and leisure projects, including a theme park.

"We are looking at raising $ 400 million in a sukuk before July to complete the construction of the island and pay for infrastructure," Massaad said.

The emirate is in talks with Credit Suisse to arrange the bonds, called sukuk, to tap growing demand among the region’s Muslims for bonds that comply with their religious beliefs, Massaad said.

Barclays Capital said in January global sukuk sales could grow as much as 30 per cent to $ 22 billion this year. Sukuk pay a dividend or rent to bondholders rather than interest, which Islam equates with usury.

"A lot of regional investors are interested in investing in real estate projects. That’s what the sukuk will look at," he said

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