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Moody’s acquires minority stake in Malaysian Rating Corp

12 Aug 2020 / 22:00 H.

PETALING JAYA: Moody’s Corp has acquired a minority stake in Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd (MARC), strengthening MARC’s position as a leader in the sukuk market as well as Moody’s’ position as a mainstay of global credit ratings and analytical tools.

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

MARC’s group CEO, Datuk Jamaludin Nasir, said the strategic investment will strengthen its position in the sukuk market by allowing it to leverage on Moody’s’ extensive regional network.

“It 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,” he said at a virtual media conference.

Jamaludin said the credit rating agencies will jointly work together to provide judicious assessment of risks in their respective roles as capital market intermediaries. However, he stressed that they will operate independently with regard to rating decisions.

With the US rating agency’s strategic investment, Jamaludin said, MARC will try to tap Moody’s’ capabilities to provide the market with better up-to-date data analytic offerings.

“We recently launched our impact bond assessment with a more comprehensive assessment of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) risks, we look forward to Moody’s’ input in this going forward,” he said.

Jamaludin identified market outreach, market information, research and training as other potential areas of collaboration.

Moody’s Investors Service Asia Pacific head and managing director, Wendy Cheong, revealed that it has always considered Malaysia as a key market within the Asean region and an attractive opportunity for the international agency.

She said Malaysia has the region’s largest corporate bond market and has established itself as a global hub for islamic finance with the world’s largest sukuk market.

“As a key Asean economy, Malaysia presents an attractive opportunity given its position as the region’s largest domestic corporate bond market and the world’s largest sukuk market,” said Cheong.

“The transaction further cements our presence in Southeast Asia and across the domestic bond markets globally, and entrenches our position as a leader in Islamic finance.”

As credit rating agencies, she said, it is their role and mission to enhance understanding of credit risks and improve transparency in the markets they operate in.

“Although MARC will continue to operate as an independent entity and will remain separate from Moody’s and its ratings processes, we look forward to leveraging our respective strengths and capabilities to provide a range of solutions for investor and issuer needs.”

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.

It has also rated the RM23.35 billion Sukuk Musharakah issued by PLUS Bhd which still remains the world’s single largest rated sukuk issued by a corporate, as well as the RM8.98 billion Sukuk Murabahah issued by Jimah East Power – the second largest single project sukuk issued in the global market.

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