Thursday, September 20 08:22:25
The ESB is planning to raise money by issuing an Islamic bond, known as sukuk, in what will be a first for an Irish company. The ESB is understood to have hired specialist financial firm Amanie Advisors to advise on how best to access the market for Islamic bonds in Malaysia.
Islamic finance, which complies with rules set down in the Sharia body of religious laws, has become an increasingly popular source of financing in recent years as borrowers struggled to raise funds in the traditional money markets. Malaysia is the world leader in the sukuk market thanks to a big pool of pensions and savings from its mainly Muslim population.
Investing in infrastructure, like the ESB's network, is popular with Malaysian sukuk investors because they need to invest in companies underpinned by strong assets. For the ESB, access to the Sharia compliant market would allow the state-owned electricity company to tap into the vast wealth of investors in the Far East and Middle East, many of whom will not invest in conventional debt for religious reasons.