VTB to Launch 'Islamic Bond'

LONDON — VTB Bank plans to launch an Islamic bond worth about $200 million in the second half after postponing from last year, when defaults and Dubai World's woes hit the market, a source familiar with the deal said.

VTB has cut the size of the sukuk, or Islamic bond, from an original target of $300 million, the source said.

According to a VTB document referring to the originally planned launch, the three-year VTB Leasing sukuk issue had been scheduled "for December 6th with a view of execution in mid-December 2009."

VTB declined comment.

The sukuk market thrived in the run-up to the credit crisis because these vehicles, underpinned by tangible assets, were seen as relatively safe.

The sector was stung, however, by the double whammy of the liquidity freeze in the financial crisis and defaults from high-profile Middle Eastern issuers Saad and Investment Dar.

State-owned Dubai World averted further havoc by promising last month to pay investors in the sukuk issued by subsidiary Nakheel.

VTB first mooted plans for a sukuk — to be issued by VTB Leasing (Europe) — in March 2009, and in the summer its investment banking unit VTB Capital set up an office in Dubai.

According the document related to the original planned launch, the sukuk, to be issued through a special purpose vehicle located in Bermuda, uses aircraft held by VTB Leasing as the assets that will underpin it.

Liquidity House and VTB Capital are named in the document as joint lead managers and bookrunners.

A sukuk does not pay interest, but in its simplest form, known as an ijara, it pays investors revenue streams derived from the assets that underpin it.

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