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Emirates, the world’s biggest airline by international passenger traffic, plans to sell $1 billion of Islamic bonds to pay for superjumbo jet deliveries, according to two people with knowledge of the offering.
U.K. Export Finance will guarantee the debt, which Emirates is set to issue this quarter as it expands the world’s biggest fleet of Airbus Group NV A380s, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Emirates had no comment on the deal, a spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News.
The Dubai-based carrier, which last tapped Islamic debt markets almost two years ago, has splurged on wide-body aircraft orders to build the emirate into a hub for long-haul transfer flights. The strategy siphoned traffic away from established carriers such as Deutsche Lufthansa and Air France-KLM and prompted U.S. rivals this year to call for a renegotiation of bilateral air-service agreements with Persian Gulf airlines.
The yield on the $1 billion of 3.875 percent sukuk Emirates sold in March 2013 has fallen 10 basis points this year to 3.81 percent by 5:02 p.m. in Dubai. That compares with an average yield of 4.11 percent for the JPMorgan Chase & Co. regional sukuk index, which dropped 20 basis points in the period.
The airport in Dubai, a city home to an indoor ski slope and islands shaped like palm fronds, took London Heathrow’s place as the world’s busiest international air hub last year. Emirates has ordered a total of 140 A380 superjumbos, of which it’s received 58, according to data from the company.
The state-owned carrier added 10 A380 routes in 2014 alone and this year it expects to take delivery of 26 planes, including the superjumbos and Boeing Co. 777 planes, the company said. The U.K.’s export credit agency said in October it would guarantee an Islamic bond for an Airbus customer.
With assistance from Matthew Martin in Dubai.
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This article was written by Deena Kamel Yousef, Arif Sharif and Sarmad Khan from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.