Expanding use of Islamic finance sees A&O and Norton Rose Fulbright advise on Hong Kong’s first sukuk offering

Hong Kong Evening Skyline

Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy and Norton Rose Fulbright have advised on the Hong Kong government’s $1bn Sukuk offering, its first Islamic bond issuance.

Norton Rose Fulbright advised the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on the issuance which is part of Hong Kong’s government bond programme and used an Ijarah structure. HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint global coordinators and bookrunners and turned to Allen & Overy for advice on English, Hong Kong and US law aspects to the deal

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team was led by partner Gregory Man from Dubai, where the Sukuk was listed, with support provided by Hong Kong-based partner Davide Barzilai, capital markets Of counsels Vicky Jones, Allan Yee and Harold Tin, senior associate Cynthia Teo and associates Grace Lo and Lydia Kungsen. Barzilai commented: “We are delighted to have worked on this successful project having taken an active interest in the legislative process that led to this landmark Sukuk.  Now that the Hong Kong tax aspects of the Sukuk structure have been tested, we expect to see an increased level of interest in Hong Kong based Sukuk issuances.”

For A&O, Singapore-based US capital markets partner Ken Aboud led on the deal which saw AAA-rated 5 year trust certificates issued by a special purpose vehicle set up specifically to make the issue. Hong Kong-based capital markets partner Yvonne Siew advised on Hong Kong and English law while Abdoud together with Hong Kong-based partner Alexander Stathopoulos advised on US law and Hong Kong partner Matthew Hebburn represented DB Trustees (Hong Kong) Limited as delegate in respect to the debut sukuk offering.

Commenting on the deal, Aboud said: ‘We have advised on a number of debut sovereign sukuk issues and are pleased to be involved on this transaction. The response to this deal structure signifies an appetite for Islamic financing options in Hong Kong. It is encouraging to see there is growing interest in developing Islamic finance in Asia.’

Siew added: ‘This is a landmark transaction for the HKSAR government which has received strong uptake from a balanced group of investors. We are thrilled to be a part of this significant issuance which is expected to pave the way for further sukuk issuances in Hong Kong.’

*This article was originally published on Legal Business on 23 September 2014. Read the original article here.

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