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Jebel Ali Free Zone Lists Islamic Bond On DIFX

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

12 December 2007

Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone has listed a 7.5 billion UAE dirham (US$2.04 billion) Islamic bond, or Sukuk, on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), confirming the exchange’s status as the largest in the world for Islamic bonds.

It is the first listing of any security on the DIFX in a currency other than US dollars.

Commenting on the listing, Salma Hareb, CEO of JAFZ stated: “This is the first Sukuk to be issued by JAFZ and its listing on the DIFX, as the region’s international exchange, gives us an excellent visibility in the international as well as the regional marketplace. We experienced strong interest in the Sukuk from regional and international investors.”

The Sukuk certificates were issued by JAFZ Sukuk Limited, and were sold to investors in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. The certificates have been rated A1 by Moody's and A+ by Standard & Poor's.

Per E. Larsson, Chief Executive of the DIFX, observed: “This listing underlines the DIFX’s status as a listing venue for major Sukuk offerings issued by substantial public and private organisations, whether local, regional or international. As the international exchange serving this region, the DIFX provides issuers with a well regulated and internationally known platform.”

Hamed Ali, Executive Officer of the DIFX, added: “Sukuk are growing in popularity with issuers and investors around the world. The number of issues in the first nine months of 2007 totaled 103, an increase of 25% from the same period in 2006.”

The Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) was established in 1985 with the specific purpose of facilitating investment. For companied based in the JAFZ, there is exemption from all import duties and 100% repatriation of capital and profits is guaranteed. 100% foreign ownership is also permitted in the JAFZ, and there is freedom from corporate taxation for a period of 50 years, a concession which is renewable.

Initially created in 25 acres of desert near the city of Dubai, today’s Jebel Ali Free Zone is a 135 commercial and industrial hub, which is home to 5,500 companies from over 120 countries and is widely recognised as a symbol of Dubai's rapid economic development.

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