Rajesh joined DIFC in January 2011 as the Chief Financial Officer of DIFC Authority overseeing the financial performance of the DIFC Authority, DIFC Investments LLC and its subsidiaries (‘DIFCI’), Registrar of Real Properties, Registrar of Companies, Hawkamah and other entities. Rajesh is responsible for overseeing the entire financial spectrum from strategic financial planning through to execution for these entities, while adhering to DIFC’s values of transparency, efficiency and integrity. Rajesh implements financial best practices and industry standards in the Centre, including the development, management and monitoring of the Centre-wide revenue cycle.
One of the key milestones achieved by Rajesh with DIFC in 2012 was his instrumental role in directing and managing the refinancing of the US$1.25 billion DIFCI Sukuk and its repayment in June 2012. This involved high level discussions with various stakeholders, local and international banks, lawyers and financial advisors. The refinancing was achieved through a syndicated facility of US$1.035 billion with participation from international and local banks and key divestments. The transaction was a dual tranche five-year Islamic facility and included both Commodity Murabaha and Ijarah tranches. This was a landmark transaction which was very well received by the market and recognised the strategic importance of the Centre to Dubai. He successfully managed relationships with investors and the rating agencies in order to maintain the Sukuk’s rating from January 2011 to June 2012.
In 2014, Rajesh effectively spearheaded DIFC Investments’ credit repositioning initiative by engaging with Standard & Poors, which resulted in the Company achieving an investment grade rating (BBB-); this required the re-anchoring of the rating agency’s understanding of DIFC Investments’ credit fundamentals (given that the Company was previously rated “B+”). Lead the Sukuk issuance, following the rating exercise, marking the return of DIFC Investments to the international Debt Capital Markets, allowing the Company to raise $700mn with a 10-year tenor. The pricing achieved was well inside “theoretical fair-value”, with the Company pricing flat or inside Dubai-based peers with higher ratings. Ultimately, the credit repositioning, along with the Sukuk issuance provides DIFC Investments with an effective capital structure and a platform to implement its growth strategy over the coming years. The Sukuk deal has been awarded the prestigious Islamic Finance News (IFN) Award – Ijarah Deal of the Year. DIFC is the only Dubai name to have won any award from IFN during 2014.
Rajesh is a Chartered Accountant with over 16 years of experience advising key clients with the Big 4 accounting firms across a broad range of services. Prior to joining DIFCA, Rajesh was a Director at KPMG Dubai, where he worked for more than 8 years. He brings with him significant advisory experience across a range of financial services including restructuring, financial due diligence, review of business plans & underlying assumptions, cash flow analysis, restructuring and M&A advisory. He has significant experience working with government related entities and worked on some of the key restructuring projects in Dubai during 2009 and 2010. Rajesh has also worked with leading regional private equity houses, corporates and family businesses, advising them on numerous M&A transactions both locally and internationally. Prior to joining KPMG, Rajesh worked with Arthur Andersen, Ernst and Young and Lodha & Co in India where he had conducted various financial audits, accounting and reporting assignments including audit for statutory purposes, reporting under IFRS, Indian & US GAAP, business process reviews, assistance in managing business risks and on call assignments.
Rajesh is an Associate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants, India. He also holds a Bachelors of Commerce with Honours in Finance and Accounting and has done a General Management Programme from IIM Ahmedabad, India. Rajesh has participated in a wide range of training programmes both locally and internationally across US, UK, China, Europe, India and Sri Lanka. Rajesh also holds the title of Chief Executive Director of the DIFC–LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration) joint venture.