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Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank raises one billion riyal sukuk

Saudi Arabia's largest bank, the National Commercial Bank (NCB), has raised a sukuk or Islamic bond worth one billion riyals or $266 million, it said this week.24 Jun 2015

The sukuk will strengthen the bank's capital base in accordance with the Basel III framework, the bank said. It will help the bank to grow while keeping capital adequacy levels healthy, it said.

"The sukuk will also extend the maturity profile of NCB's liabilities while continuing to diversify its sources of funding," NCB said.

The sukuk has no set redemption date, although NCB has the right to call on it at an unnamed predefined date, it said.

Amir Ahmad, a Dubai-based banking expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said: "This issuance shows the depth of liquidity available on the Islamic markets for banks like NCB."

Sources told Reuters that Riyad Bank, Saudi Arabia's fourth-largest lender by assets, has completed a sukuk worth 4 billion riyals which would enhance its Tier 2, or supplementary, capital.

Saudi British Bank, an associated company of the HSBC group and the kingdom's sixth-largest lender, privately placed a 1.5 billion riyal subordinated Tier 2 sukuk last month, Reuters said.

Islamic banking and finance is projected to exceed $2.5 trillion of assets in 2015 as the industry extends its reach into new international markets, according to the Dubai-based AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE).