Toyota paves way for return to Malaysia's sukuk market

June 17 (Reuters) - The Malaysia unit of Japan's biggest automaker Toyota Motor Corp. plans to setup a 2.5 billion ringgit ($667 million) programme to raise funds via both conventional and Islamic bonds, a regulatory filing showed.

The proposed programme from Toyota Capital Malaysia Sdn Bhd was rated AAA by RAM Ratings, and follows a 1 billion ringgit sukuk programme setup in 2008 that matured earlier this month.

The Malaysia unit has two other conventional debt programmes that can raise a combined 1.8 billion ringgit; It sold a debut sukuk in 2008.

The move comes at a time when Japanese firms are renewing efforts in the sector, with Japan's financial regulator relaxing rules for domestic banks to use Islamic financial products.

Over the past year, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's largest lender, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp have expanded their Islamic finance activities overseas. ($1 = 3.7480 ringgit) (Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)