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S&P: Negative Rating Actions Taken On Four Dubai-Based Banks On Expected Asset Quality Deterioration

Press Release

Negative Rating Actions Taken On Four Dubai-Based Banks On Expected Asset Quality Deterioration

Standard & Poor's has concluded its review of Dubai-based banks, which has resulted in various negative rating actions.

We are lowering the ratings on Emirates Bank International PJSC, National Bank of Dubai, and Mashreqbank to 'A-/A-2' from 'A/A-1'.

We are lowering the long-term rating on Dubai Islamic Bank to 'BBB+' from 'A-' and affirming the 'A-2' short-term rating.

The negative outlooks on all these banks reflect the deteriorating operating environment in Dubai and the impact we expect it to have on the banks' financial profiles.

German regulator BAFIN organises Islamic finance conference

The German regulator BAFIN is organising an Islamic finance conference on 29 October 2009. The announcement is in German, but the conference is held in English. The conference shall show different aspects of Islamic finance, and to determine the salient features. Further it shall discuss the developments in the insurance sector and capital markets. The aim of the conference is to sharpen the conscience about Islamic finance und its increasing role, the foundations of sharia compliant business, and the challenges involved herewith from the regulatory perspective.

Contact details:
Ricarda.Maier@bafin.de
jochenrobert.elsen@bafin.de

Bahrain-Based Arcapita Bank 'BB-/B' Ratings Affirmed And Withdrawn At Issuer Request

S&P:
-- We are affirming the ratings on Arcapita.
-- The outlook remains negative.
-- We are withdrawing the ratings at the issuer request.

PARIS (Standard & Poor's) June 29, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it affirmed its 'BB-/B' counterparty credit ratings on Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank. The outlook remained negative. Standard & Poor's then withdrew its ratings on Arcapita at the bank's request.

The ratings affirmation reflects our conclusions that the assumptions factored into the ratings are still holding up. The ratings on Arcapita reflect our opinion of the bank's high leverage in the context of a very difficult economic and investment climate, as well as its pressured liquidity position. In our view, positive rating factors are the corrective measures that Arcapita is implementing and the support that the bank is receiving from shareholders. The ratings reflect our opinion of Arcapita's stand-alone credit profile and do not include any uplift for extraordinary external support.

VTB Will Sell 3 Sukuk

VTB Capital said that it has mandates to manage the sale of at least three Sukuk for Russian companies, each of which could raise USD 200 million to USD 500 mn. The sale shall start soon according to Yury Solovyov, VTB Capital's president and chief executive, said in an interview in Dubai.

Strong demand expected for SEC Sukuk

Saudi Electricity Co, the state- controlled power producer, may raise as much as USD 1.87 bn, SAR 7 bn, in the largest sale of Sukuk.

The 5-year Sukuk, which is expected to be rated AA- by Fitch rating service, may pay between 90 basis points to 100 basis points over Saudi interbank rates a market expert is quoted.

The spread above the London interbank offered, or Libor, on corporate and government sukuk has narrowed to 7.6 percentage points from an all-time high of 12.3 percentage points in February, according to HSBC-Nasdaq Dubai indexes.

Harvard Islamic Program: Call for Papers

The Ninth Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance is scheduled to be held at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts on 27-28 March, 2010.

The theme of the conference will be “Building Bridges across Financial Communities.” Papers are requested in the four following areas:

* FAITH AND FINANCE;

* SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY;

* ISLAMIC FINANCE AFTER THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS;

* CURRENT ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Candidates are requested to e-mail by 1 September 2009, in a Word document, the following to ifp@law.harvard.edu: 150-word abstract of the proposed paper, Biographical sketch up to 200 words, Single-page list of presenter’s relevant publications.

Abolition of Commodity Murabaha and/or Tawarruq?

Mushtak Parker covered the controversy regarding the decision to abolish Organised Tawarruq of the International Council of Fiqh Academy (ICFA) in Arab News.

Badlishah Abdul Ghani, CEO of CIMB Islamic Bank seeks further clarification whether the decision covers only the so-called organized Tawarruq and reverse Tawarruq on the one hand or the classical commodity Murabaha contract likewise. In the classical Tawarruq, the third party has to be identified and cannot have any link with the financier or bank. In a commodity Murabaha this is not necessarily the case.

Tawarruq has been practiced in most countries except perhaps in Qatar where the Shariah scholars have discouraged its use per se. More and more Islamic banks in countries including Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Kuwait and UAE, are now shunning Tawarruq, even the accepted form.

Malaysian scholars declares organised tawarruq permissible

Organised and reverse tawarruq comply with Sharia, in the opinion of Engku Rabiah Adawiah Engku Ali who advises the central bank of Malaysia provided they involve the actual sale and delivery of goods.

Kuwait's Zain renewing USD 2.5 bn Islamic facility

Syndication of the two-year murabaha facility has launched to the senior phase of selldown via bookrunners Banque Saudi Fransi, Calyon and Al Rajhi Bank and is being targeted at a small number of close relationship banks including Saudi and international banks. The margin is said to be 425 bps.

Saad, AHAB to seek USD 10 bn debt restructuring

Saudi-based Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Bros Co (AHAB) said it was about to start talks with creditors, after a newspaper reported it and Saad Group are seeking to restructure USD 10 bn in debt.

AXA announces tie-up with SALAMA for employee benefit plans

AXA has partnered with SALAMA - Islamic Arab Insurance Company to offer Group Life Solutions to AXA’s clients in the UAE.

Olivant writes down Amiri Capital stake

Olivant Investments has written down the entire value of its 30 % stake in Amiri Capital, a company offering a Sharia compliant Hedge fund platform.

AgriCap Invest established in Morocco

Vision3, conceived by Gulf Finance House, Abu Dhabi Investment House and Ithmaar Bank signed an MoU with Morocco's largest bank, Attijariwafa, signaling their intention to establish AgriCap Invest, a specialized food and agriculture focused investment institution in the Kingdom of Morocco. The new firm will offer intelligent financial solutions to agricultural initiatives in the Kingdom of Morocco and across North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Mediterranean and the broader MENA region.

Albaraka Bank aims to be listed on Johannesburg Stock Exchange before 2011

ALBARAKA Bank in South Africa was keen to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, JSE, and would probably do so by the end of next year, Adnan Ahmed Yousif, the chairman said.

Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG), the parent company, is listed in Jordan, Bahrain, Egypt and Sudan.

Amara Holdings partners with Chinese investment firm

Amara Holdings, a Dubai investment firm, and New China Trust Company’s subsidiary, Shanghai Ding Hai Investment Management Company, will identify and evaluate Islamic finance investment opportunities in China for themselves and co-investors and clients.

KFH low exposure to Saad Group

Kuwait Finance House, has minimal exposure to two troubled Saudi firms, belwo 0.1 % of the total credit portfolio, according to Emad Yousef Al-Monayea, Managing Director of Kuwait Finance's subsidiary, Liquidity House.

S&P sceptical on Sukuk market growth

Sukuk growth might be limied due to higher costs of structuring, issuing, accounting fees, real estate downturn, and low hydrocarbon prices, says S&P in a report. Nevertheless, it said sukuk-based financing remained the most attractive means of raising funding for medium and long-term capital costs for GCC issuers.

Nakheel restructuring efforts will affect other Dubai ratings

The refinancing of Nakheel’s US$3.5 billion (Dh12.85bn) Sukuk will be of utmost relevance to the credit ratings Moody's has for Dubai entities. Nakheel has not the stand alone capacity to repay the Sukuk reported Paulo Vecina in The National.

TID Global Sukuk I Limited - Financial Restructuring Update

The Investment Dar Co.The Investment Dar Co.held its latest financial restructuring update meeting in Dubai on Monday 8 June 2009 with its banks and investors. The firm expects its audited results soon. Morgan Stanley is appointed by the steering committee for debt restructuring as their financial advisor.

Saad Group Sukuk down at 25 % of nominal value

Saad Trading Contracting & Financial Services Co.’s debt securities, known as sukuk, are trading for 25 cents on the dollar compared with this year’s high of 79 cents on Feb. 26, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Saad Group on June 2 appointed BDO Capital Finance to advise the company on restructuring plans after the Saudi central bank last month froze bank accounts of al-Sanea and his family members, reported Haris Anwar on Bloomberg.

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