Norton Rose has acted for International Innovative Technologies Limited (IIT) in the UK's first ever Sukuk under Islamic finance.
Dubai-based Millennium Private Equity Limited (MPEL) are the ultimate financiers in the transaction, which has raised financing using the musharaka (joint venture) Sukuk structure for the technology development company based in the North East of England.
Sukuk, which are Shariah compliant investment instruments, have seen steady global growth in recent years.
The first half of 2010 saw worldwide Sukuk issuance topping $US13.7 billion - nearly double the amount recorded in the first half of 2009 - thus paving the way for financial institutions and other entities to invest in companies without breaching the principles and rules of Shariah.
According to Norton Rose, London has emerged as a key centre for Islamic finance but Sukuk are yet to get off the ground in the country.
This deal is therefore a significant development for the Islamic finance industry in the UK, potentially opening the door to other UK firms raising finance through Sukuk.
"This is a significant step forward for Sukuk and for any UK company looking for alternative forms of investment. In other jurisdictions, we've acted on a number of high profile Sukuk, but there has been no UK corporate or sovereign Sukuk to date. The result has been a potentially significant source of investment into the UK being essentially cut off," said Farmida Bi, partner at Norton Rose.
"This deal proves that Sukuk can work to great effect in the UK."
The Norton Rose team was led by London-based partner Farmida Bi with support from associates Hasan Al-Ahmar and Hamed Afzal. Tax advice was supplied by partners John Challoner and Angela Savin. IIT also engaged Newcastle-based Hay & Kilner to advise on the relevant corporate documentation.
MPEL was advised by the Dubai office of Herbert Smith, with UK-based Michelmores providing support on the relevant corporate documentation.
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