Moody’s buys minority stake in MARC

In a virtual media roundtable session yesterday, MARC group CEO Datuk Jamaludin Nasir said MARC will be able to leverage on Moody’s extensive regional network.

PETALING JAYA: Global integrated risk assessment firm Moody’s Corp has acquired a minority stake in Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC).

Moody’s investment in MARC is expected to strengthen MARC’s position as a leader in the sukuk market while fortifying Moody’s foothold as a mainstay of global credit ratings and analytical tools.

In a virtual media roundtable session yesterday, MARC group CEO Datuk Jamaludin Nasir said MARC will be able to leverage on Moody’s extensive regional network.

“The partnership will also enable MARC to further contribute to the sustainable development of Malaysia’s domestic capital markets in terms of a broader experience and outlook.

“MARC and Moody’s will jointly work together to provide judicious assessment of risks in our respective roles as capital market intermediaries.

“However, both credit ratings agencies will operate independently with regards to rating decisions.

“We look forward to a new chapter of fruitful collaboration both in ratings and non-ratings businesses, ” he said, adding that there are plans to invite Moody’s to have a board seat at MARC.

MARC has been a major player in the sukuk rating space since 2001, having rated the first global corporate US dollar sukuk issued by Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd.

The rapid ascension of sukuk as the debt instrument of choice has played a key role in MARC further honing its sukuk-rating skills, complimented by MARC’s key capabilities in infrastructure, project and structured finance.

This led to MARC rating the RM23.35bil Sukuk Musharakah issued by PLUS Bhd, which still remains the world’s single largest rated sukuk issued by a corporation.

Apart from that, MARC has rated the second-largest single project sukuk issued in the global market, which is the RM8.98bil sukuk murabahah issued by Jimah East Power.

Other noteworthy sukuk rated by MARC include the world’s largest Green Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) Sukuk, the RM1bil Sukuk Murabahah issued by Quantum Solar Park (Semenanjung) Sdn Bhd, as well as the RM10bil Sukuk Programme issued by Sunway Treasury Sukuk Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, Moody’s is of the view that the acquisition will strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia and across domestic bond markets globally, as well as advancing its position as a leader in Islamic finance.

Moody’s Investors Service Asia Pacific head and managing director Wendy Cheong noted that Malaysia is a key market, given its position as the world’s largest sukuk market.

“Malaysia’s robust domestic bond market presents an attractive opportunity for Moody’s, and we are excited to build upon our partnership with MARC and its growing portfolio of ratings and services.

“As credit rating agencies, it is our role and mission to enhance understanding of credit risks and improve transparency in the markets that we operate in.

“Moody’s combines global presence with local expertise, including through its various domestic affiliates.

“We view our domestic affiliates like MARC as local experts with valuable and unique on-the-ground insights and perspectives, and we constantly look for ways to leverage our global expertise and local insights to meet our customers’ needs, ” she said.

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