Dubai's MAF Eyes Expansion into Iraq

Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim Holding (MAF), sole franchisee of hypermarket chain Carrefour in the Gulf, is to set up a sukuk programme (debt securities structured to comply with the Islamic law) as market volatility continues to thwart its plans for a conventional issue, according to a report from Reuters.

MAF completed roadshows for an offering from its $2 billion medium term notes programme in June but chose not to issue a bond because of unfavourable market conditions.

"The next building block is to add a sukuk programme, the sukuk market is more stable," Daniele Vecchi, senior vice president, group treasury, at MAF, said on the sidelines of an Islamic finance conference.

"We will start working on it fairly soon," he added.

Vecchi also confirmed the company still planned to tap the conventional market when conditions permitted.

"We are ready if the market is ready. Right now the liquidity position of the company is strong and there's no pressure to issue bonds. Markets are still volatile."

"We are planning Carrefour openings in northern Iraq this year and Lebanon next year," Vecchi said.

However, MAF's development activity in Syria and Egypt had been curtailed by the political unrest in the two countries this year.

(Source: Reuters)

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