November 7, 2016 / 1:38 PM / in a year

Etihad could raise $1 billion in planned sukuk debut

An Etihad Airways Boeing 777-3FX company aircraft takes off at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy, France, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

DUBAI (Reuters) - Etihad Airways plans to issue a debut U.S. dollar-denominated benchmark sukuk and will meet investors over the coming days to determine its size, maturity or interest rate, sources told Reuters on Monday.

Investors said the planned Islamic bond, known as a sukuk, could be as large as $1 billion, although one banker involved in the transaction said Etihad has given no specific indication of the size, maturity or timing of the Islamic bond sale.

HSBC, JP Morgan, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and First Gulf Bank are the deal underwriters, according to an investor presentation dated Nov. 3 which was seen by Reuters.

Etihad Airways, owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what would be its first Islamic bond targeted at international investors.

The airline, whose credit is rated A by Fitch, reported total revenues of about $9 billion in 2015, according to the presentation. At the end of last year it had 121 aircraft and it plans to take delivery of a further 188 by 2026, it added.

Etihad Airways Partners, a funding vehicle for the Abu Dhabi-based carrier and airlines in which it has equity stakes, has issued two bonds since September 2015, one of which was subsequently increased in size.

Additional Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by David French and Alexander Smith

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