HSBC Holdings Plc is overtaking CIMB Group Holdings Bhd as the top underwriter of Islamic bonds, properly known as Sukuk.

HSBC, Europe’s biggest lender by market value, arranged US$1.6 billion of global sukuk so far in 2010, about 25 per cent of the total, led by Saudi Electricity Co’s issuance in May. CIMB Group, Malaysia’s second-largest banking group, led US$1.4 billion of sales of debt that complies with the religion’s ban on interest. Last year, CIMB was the top underwriter, managing US$4.4 billion of offerings.

Gulf issuers sold US$2.5 billion of Sukuk in the first half of 2010, down 13 per cent from the first half of 2009. Issuers from the Middle East may sell more than US$10 billion of Sukuk in the remainder of the year to refinance debt and fund projects.

Global sales of Sukuk fell 23 per cent to US$6.48 billion so far this year. Issuance totaled US$20.2 billion last year, up from US$14.1 billion in 2008.


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