Utico sounds banks for a $500m sukuk



Utico, the Middle East’s leading full-service utility and the only private water and power company in the UAE, today said it is working with financial institutions and banks to raise a benchmark sized Islamic bond ($500 million) and tap the capital markets. Richard Menezes, CEO of Utico, said the company has sounded out to several financial institutions, including Citi, for the sukuk issuance. “The response has been positive. We intend to move quickly and ensure that we complete the process in next two to four months,” Menezes said. “These are times when the governments are doing a lot for the people, even when the oil prices are down, ensuring common good and we feel that with further capitalization, Utico too will be able to contribute more to the UAE and the region,” he said. Utico has the lowest debt to equity gearing of 0.5 in the industry, a statement said. Menezes said raising money to increase debt is not Utico’s core focus but to ensure sustainability, improve its services and restructure itself to position for new opportunities like Dubai’s Hassyan project and some other opportunities in Oman and Saudi Arabia. The company’s capacity is increasing with footprint and overseas interest, and expansion on the way.—Reuters/Zawya