The ESB is planning to raise money by issuing an Islamic bond, known as sukuk, in what will be a first for an Irish company.

The ESB is understood to have hired specialist financial firm Amanie Advisors to advise on how best to access the market for Islamic bonds in Malaysia.

Islamic finance, which complies with rules set down in the Sharia body of religious laws, has become an increasingly popular source of financing in recent years as borrowers struggled to raise funds in the traditional money markets.

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