State sells Telekom Malaysia Islamic convertible bonds

28 Sep 2006

Telekom Malaysia’s majority shareholder Khazanah Nasional said it raised MYR2.76 billion (USD750 million) from the sale of what it claims is the world’s first exchangeable Islamic bonds. The bonds — marketed in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait — can be exchanged into shares of Khazanah-controlled Telekom, and are part of increasing efforts by Malaysia to tap Middle East money. Previously, would-be Islamic investors have been deterred from spending in Malaysia’s large Islamic corporate debt market because of its failure to comply with strict interpretations of Shariah laws, which ban investments that pay interest or derive profit from alcohol, tobacco, pork, gambling or weapons. State investment company Khazanah Nasional, which owns around 40.15% of Telekom, is spearheading a government plan to overhaul state-run companies and pave the way for a sale of state holdings. If all of the bonds were to be exchanged they would represent around 9% of Telekom’s equity at current market value.

Malaysia, Telekom Malaysia