Donor base widens as World Bank-linked IFFIm plans second sukuk

The International Finance Facility for Immunisation Co. (IFFIm) has hired banks for a return to the Islamic bonds market, a funding exercise that has helped add Muslim countries to the donor base of its immunisation programmes.

Established in 2006, IFFIm issues bonds designed to bring forward future donor pledges into cash-in-hand to help finance alt= » »> projects for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

This year, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar have pledged to donate a combined $38 million to GAVI, the first Muslim nations to so.

This follows the debut issuance of sukuk from IFFIm, which raised $500 million in November after attracting bids of $700 million.

The second sukuk from IFFIm, for which the World Bank acts as treasury manager, has a three-year tenor and could raise $200 million to $250 million, said IFFIm Board Chair Rene Karsenti.

The sukuk market has helped IFFIm diversify its investor base and access lower costs of funding, and has also helped raise GAVI’s profile among Muslim-majority countries, said Paris-based Karsenti.

“There is demand and it is a good diversifcation tool for us, particularly in Islamic countries.”

Almost half of GAVI activities are in Muslim-majority countries such as Yemen, Mali and Indonesia, although most of its donors are Western countries such France, Britain and Italy.

First-time donor pledges to GAVI this year include $25 million from Saudi Arabia, $10 million from Qatar and $3 million from the Sultanate of Oman. The charity of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has also pledged $1 million.

Sukuk from IFFIm are helping break from the predominantly commercial nature of most Islamic finance transactions, as the industry works to strengthen its social responsibility credentials.

IFFIm has picked Standard Chartered as global coordinator for its second sukuk, with that bank also acting as joint lead manager along with Emirates NBD Capital, Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and NCB Capital. Credit Agricole CIB and Morgan Stanley will act as co-managers. (Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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