Cagamas Berhad launched the Sukuk al-Amanah Li al-Istithmar (Sukuk ALIm) under its RM5 billion ($1.56 billion) Islamic commercial paper (ICP) and Islamic medium term note (IMTN) programs.

The programs have a maturity of  seven  years and 30 years respectively and a combined total limit of RM5 billion.

The Sukuk programs have been rated ‘AAA’ or equivalent by Malaysian Rating Corp. and RAM Rating Services. Sukuk ALIm is expected to expand the options available to Islamic investors and financial institutions.

“The ratings reflect Cagamas’ strong financial profile evident from its stable earnings generation and healthy capitalisation, its role as the national mortgage corporation and its ownership structure,” said the Malaysian Rating Corp. in a report today.

 “Sukuk ALIm marks an important milestone for Cagamas as it is not only widely accepted and tradable in the secondary market but also meets the most discerning investors’ Shariah requirements,” said Steven Choy, president and CEO of Cagamas. “This reaffirms Cagamas’ commitment to contribute towards the development of the Malaysian capital market and to make Malaysia a premier global Islamic financial center .”

Meanwhile, Clifford Chance has advised Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Barhad as lead manager on its first - ever U.S. dollar-denominated  Sukuk issuance by a Japanese corporation.

The deal was first announced last week.

Nomura’s $100 million dollar  Sukuk-al-ijara certificates, issued on July 13, are due in 2012 and yield a profit rate of 1.6% above the  six-month Libor .

Standard and Poor’s assigned the certificates a ‘BBB+’ rating.

Qudeer Latif and Reikok Sakimura led the Clifford chance English law team in advising the transaction. Latif is a partner and head of Islamic finance based in Dubai and Sakimura is a partner in Tokyo.

"We are delighted to have worked with KFH Malaysia and Nomura on their debut sukuk issuance,” Latif said. “This exciting transaction represents a number of firsts and reflects the increasing globalisation of Islamic finance, both for issuers and investors."

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