Qatar Petroleums samurai
bond offering represents one of the first to utilise new
regulations that allow primary documentation to be filed in
English rather than Japanese.
The JPY 85 billion ($1.1 billion)
issue also marks the first yen bond offering by a Qatari
entity amid increased foreign investor interest in samurai
bonds ahead of a high-profile Indonesia sovereign offering
scheduled for the end of this year.
White & Case partner Norifusa
Hashimoto, who acted for Qatar Petroleum, said that the
transaction volume and number of issuers are both increasing.
He noted that more issuers are coming from developed
countries as opposed to ten to fifteen years ago.
While samurai offerings from
Europe and the Asia-Pacific has declined from the same point
last year, Toro Ishiguro, partner at Mori Hamada &
Matsumoto, said that low interest rates and abundant personal
assets of retail investors mean that non-Japanese issuers
will continue looking at the Japanese markets for
fundraising. Moreover, Japanese investors frequently see
international issuers and are well-informed about such
The samurai market is especially
appealing for companies looking to diversify funding sources.
Hashimoto observed that Korean banks and companies are the
main players in the developed countries issuers in the
samurai market. But he had also recently seen samurai issues
from the Middle East the first issue from a Middle
Eastern company was that of the National Bank of Abu Dhabi in July
Lawyers believed that the new English-language documentation rules, issued in
April, have had little impact on the market, however.
Because crucial items such as risk factors or financial
indices must be translated and summarised in Japanese,
sources say costs have not been lowered.
Hashimoto conceded that the new
rules were helpful. But agreed that legal costs have not been
impacted much by the change.
Sources also said that the lack of
Japanese-language documentation could deter some local retail
investors. But Ishiguro noted that it depended on the
sophistication of the target investors for a particular
issuance. If an issuer is very high-profile, investors
less sophisticated may well still be interested, he