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France to host meetings on ‘Islamic finance’

Arab Times reported that the French Senate,is organizing two round table discussions May 14 to examine the role France can play in attracting Islamic funds.

Senates Finance Commission president Jean Arthuis will preside the meeting and Zubeir Bin Terdeyet, Director of Isla Invest, Maya Boureghda, a legal counsellor at BNP Parisbas, Anwar Hassoune, vice-president of Moodys rating company, Vincent Lauwick, SGAM Asset Management, London, Jean Francois Pon from the Federation of French Banks and Gilles Saint Marc, a lawyer from AARPI.

Source: http://www.arabtimesonline.com/kuwaitnews/pagesdetails.asp?nid=16009&cci...

Gulf Islamic banks continue to outperform conventional peers

Darren Stubing reported on 27 April Gulf Islamic banks continue to grow at a strong pace in excess of conventional banks in the GCC countries.

Islamic financial institutions exceed the return on assets of their peers in the Gulf (3.6 % vs. 2.4 %) and the return on equity (24 % vs. 19 %), net profit grew 11 % compared to 5 %.

Banks with retail banking proved stronger and more conventional banks consider converting to Islamic bank status, such as the Commercial Bank in Kuwait, however, Islamic banks do required better economies of scale to drive down cost-income ratios, which can be achieved by cross-border expansion including M&A.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2008/4/pages/04272008_70eea8abe8c54a...

Nakheel sets USD 1 bn Sukuk price guidance

Mohammed Abbas reported on Arabian Business on 27 April that state-owned Nakheel, developer of three palm-tree shaped islands off Dubai's coast, set price guidance for the 2-year USD 1 bn Sukuk Al Ijara at 225 to 250 basis points above the Emirates Interbank Offered Rate (Eibor). The Sukuk will be denominated in Dirham. 3-month Eibor is at about 1.92 %, according to data from newswire Reuters. Date for sale is not yet set.

Dubai Islamic Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Company and Dubai-based Emirates NBD are Arrangers.

Kar Tung Quek is Nakheel Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/517621-nakheel-sets-1bn-bond-price-guiden...

Syndication markets still suffering

Christopher Mangham reported on Arabian Business 19 April that Syndication markets for Mideast borrowers are increasingly difficult to price with higher margins coming up, while also country limits are often reached. The market remains, however, active with USD 37 bn in Mideast awaiting launch or are under syndication. It becomes more common that bank committments are held flexible in pricing and margins supposed to be increased.

Corporate lending in the Gulf, which did not exist in 2001-2002, totalled USD 67 bn in 2007.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/516908-loan-market-drying-up

Al Jaber Group closes USD 400 mn dual-currency Ijara financing facility

Gulf News reported on 19 April about the USD 400 mn, 5-year dual currency syndicated Ijara facility for the UAE-based Al Jaber Group.

BNP Paribas, Dubai Islamic Bank (through its investment banking arm, Millennium Capital Limited) First Gulf Bank, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi served as the underwriters and bookrunners for the transaction, which has been priced in both US dollar and UAE dirham. The syndicate comprised 7 banks.

Obeid Al Jaber is the Chairman of Al Jaber Group.

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Banking_and_Finance/10206883.html

Moody's comments on Islamic finance

Forbes reported on 15 April about the Moody's study regarding Islamic finance claiming the industry grows at double rate compared to the conventional markets and becomes more international but also remains diverse and heterogene. Interpretation of rules and regulation vary widely, and they perceive a lack of technical and contractual standardisation.

Moody's expects the Sukuk market to become more complex, more structured, larger, more diversified and more liquid as it evolves over time.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/04/15/afx4891802.html

Bank AlJazira General Annual Meeting

Mohannad Sharaw, Saudi Gazette, reported on 18 April that Bank AlJazira increased the bank's capital from SAR 2.250 bn (255 mn equities) to SAR 3 bn (300 million equities), or a 33.3 percent increase and the the total number of shares of 27 stakeholders reached 142,201,320 mn, representing 63 % of the bank's 255 million equities. The SAR 750 mn hike will be deducted from the net profits account according to the SAMA regulations.

The 42nd general annual meeting of the bank was held at Jeddah Hilton led by Taha Bin Abdullah Al-Qwaiz, head of the board, along with Abdullah Saleh Kamel, Abdullah Al-Angari, Khalid Bin Omar Al- Baltan, Eng. Abdul Majid Al-Sultan, Khalifa Bin Abdul Latif Al-Mulhim, Mishari Bin Ibrahim Al- Mishari, and Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al-Mudbel.

The board likewise approved dividend of SR0.50 per each equity owned and registered at Tadawul by the end of the stock market session on Wednesday and the added profits on April 29.

Source: http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080418071404

JP Morgan eyes stake in Kuwait Finance House

Reuters reported on 20 April that JP Morgan eyes a stake in Kuwait Finance House quoting a local daily al-Anba based on an unsourced report. The local paper shall have said that the U.S. bank had applied to the central bank of Kuwait to approve a stake buy, adding it was unclear how large a stake it wanted to acquire.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/innovationNews/idUSL2066795520080420

Sharia compliant Ajman Bank holds founding general assembly meeting

Albawaba reported on 20 April that Ajman Bank PJSC it had held its Founding General Assembly meeting for shareholders of the company.
Convened on Wednesday 16 April, the shareholders approved all of the meeting’s resolutions including the completion of the incorporation of the Bank; the adoption of the Bank’s Memorandum and Articles of Association; the Founders’ report and the Pre IPO Auditing report.

Ajman Bank will be Ajman’s first commercial bank. Investors include the Government of Ajman and some of the UAE’s leading financial institutions and private individuals.

The Board of Directors comprises:

HH Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Vice Chairman
HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member
Dr Ali Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Member
Mr Ali bin Abdullah Al Hamrani, Member
Mr Yousef Ali Fadil Bin Fadil, Member
Mr Salem Rashid Al Khadar, Member

The Fatwa and Shariah Board comprises:

Dr Husain Hamid Hassan, Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrazaq Al Siddiq,
Dr Jassim Ali Al Shamsi

Yousif Khalaf, the CEO of Ajman Bank and former CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank and Ithmaar Bank.

Dubai Islamic Bank and DIC in talks to open bank in Jordan

Business 24/7 reported on 16 April that Dubai International Capital (DIC) talks with Dubai Islamic Bank about setting up a Shariah-compliant Islamic bank in Jordan.

Sameer Al Ansari heads Dubai International Capital. DIC manages a $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) fund investing in Jordan.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

Alinma's USD 2.8 bn IPO oversubscribed

Tradearabia reported on 15 April that the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the new Islamic bank, Alinma, oversubscribed the SAR 10.5 bn (USD 2.8 bn) three days before the close of subscriptions.

Alinma Bank sought to sell 1.05 billion shares at 10 riyals each representing 70 % of the banks capital. The bank raised 10.64 billion riyals from about 5.4 million subscribers.

The Public Investment Fund and two state pension funds - the General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI) and the Public Pension Agency - will equally share the remaining 30 % of Alinma's SAR 15 bn capital.

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/CM_141803.html

Takaful Ikhlas Targets RM 70 mn in premium from its government housing loan

Mahanum Abdul Aziz reported on 19 April on Bernama that Takaful Ikhlas Targets RM 70 mn in premium from its government housing loan scheme.

Syed Moheeb Syed Kamarulzaman is president and chief executive officer.

Source: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=327888&cat=st

Kuwaiti Abyaar to launch USD 1 bn Sukuk before year-end

Parag Deulgaonkar reported 22 April in Business 24/7 that Kuwait-based Abyaar Real Estate Development is to launch a USD 1 bnsukuk issue before year-end to finance its projects and will dual list its share on the Dubai Financial Market, for which it has appointed NBD Investment Bank as financial advisor and placement agent.

Marzooq Al Rashdan is Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Abyaar

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

Takaful market booming in GCC

David Masters reported on 15 April about the new Ernst & Young Report in the Insurance Daily, which says that the GCC countries contribute USD 1 bn to the USD 2 bn global Takaful market, which is supposedly growing at 20 %. Worldwide there are 133 Takaful operators. 59 of these operate within the GCC countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Ernst & Young’s head of Islamic finance is Sameer Abdi.

Source: http://www.insurancedaily.co.uk/2008/04/15/takaful-market-booming-in-gcc/

Full study at E&Y:

http://www.ey.com/global/content.nsf/UK/_Islamic_Financial_Services

Villamar Sukuk Prices USD 190 mn 2013 Sukuk FRN At Par,Libor +2.75

Dow Jones Newswire reported on 18 April, that Villamar Sukuk Company Limited has priced USD 190 mn of 2013-dated, sukuk floating-rate-notes through Merrill Lynch and Al Rajhi Banking & Invesment Corporation. It is going to be listed at the DIFX.

Source: http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidDN20080418003227

Litrak Fully Redeems Senior And Junior Debt Issues

Bernama reported on 18 April that Lingkaran Trans Kota Sdn Bhd (Litrak) fully redeems senior and junior debt issues.

RAM said, it will maintain surveillance on the AA2 ratings of Litrak's Sukuk Musyarakah Islamic Medium-Term Notes I Programme of up to RM1.15 billion and Sukuk Musyarakah Islamic Medium-Term II Programme up to RM300 million, as well as the P1 rating of the company's Islamic Commercial Papers Programme of up to RM100 million.

All the long-term ratings have a stable outlook, it said.

Source: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_business.php?id=327699

Philippine Government plans USD Sukuk

Eileen A. Mencias reported in Manila Standard Today on 15 April that the Philippine Government plans a USD 900 - 1000 mn 5-year sukuk through Al-Amanah Islamic Bank to provide a long-term financing package for the acquisition of the Metro Rail Transit-3 project along Edsa to replace bridge finance by the Development Bank Philippines (DBP). First Metro is teaming up with the DBP to arrange the Sukuk bonds. DBP is in the process of taking over control of Al-Amanah Islamic Bank. CIMB and Islamic Development Bank are supposed to assist in structuring.

Juanchito Dispo is executive vice president of First Metro Investment Corp.

Source: http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=business2_april15_2008

Moody's assigns first-time IFSR of Aa3 to ICIEC

Moody's released on 14 April that Moody's assigns first-time IFSR of Aa3 to ICIEC with stable outlook stable outlook.

The Corporation was established in 1994 at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. ICIEC provides export credit insurance and re-insurance for exports emanating from its member countries, to anywhere in the world, to cover the non-payment of export receivables resulting from commercial or non commercial risks.

ICIEC is a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB, rated Aaa by Moody's), which holds 51% of ICIEC's issued shares through its waqf fund, a special fund established by IDB.

Moody's notes that ICIEC's rating reflects both the stand-alone fundamentals as well as potential support from its shareholders/IDB Group member countries.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/153294.html

International Islamic Bank takes Tunisian company IPO

Business Intelligence reported on 13 April that International Investment Bank (IIB), a globally-focused Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain, announced the successful initial public offering of ARTES, the exclusive distributor of Renault, Nissan and Dacia in Tunisia.

Aabed Al-Zeera is Chief Executive Officer of IIB.
Mohamed Hadi Mejai is Executive Director, Investment and Business Development, IIB.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19150

Dow Jones Indexes opens Dubai Office

Talal Malik reported on 14 April in Arabian Business that Dow Jones Indexes opens its first Middle East office in Dubai.

Michael A. Petronella is president of Dow Jones.
Sumeet Nihalani is Dow Jones' senior director of sales for the region.
Imran Vohra is Head of Dubai office.
Rushdi Siddiqui is global director of Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/516453-dow-jones-indexes-opens-first-midd...

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