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EIB and Emirates launches Islamic airline co-branded credit card

Business Intelligence reported on 9 April about the Islamic Visa card of Emirates Islamic Bank, Skywards, and Emirates.

The Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Credit Card will come with a list of benefits and features.

Faisal Aqil is General Manager of Retail Banking at Emirates Islamic Bank. Kamran Siddique is Visa General Manager for the Middle East and North Africa.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19053

Tamweel sets up holding - plans Sukuk

Parag Deulgaonkar reported on 7 April about the extraordinary shareholder meeting of Tamweel, deciding to restructure Tamweel as a holding firm. The UAE mortgage business, property investment, escrow management services and Tamweel International will be the first four operating units.

The company also plans to raise Dh 5.1 bn through sukuk in 2008. This total amount includes Dh 1.1 bn of convertible sukuk and Dh 4 bn of non-convertible sukuk.

Further Tamweel has signed a joint venture agreement with Al Oula Development Company in Saudi Arabia, where the company expects to open a subsidiary later this year. Other expansion plans include Egypt.

Wasim Saifi is CEO of Tamweel.
Zayed bin Saqer Al Nehayan is Chairman of Tamweel.

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

Bank of London and the Middle East participates in Qatar infrastructure financing

AME Info published a press release on 8 April that The Bank of London and The Middle East plc (BLME) announced that it has participated in USD 20 mn of Forward Lease financing to Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), for the construction of the Ras Abu Fontas A1 (RAF A1) water desalination plant to be built in the northern part of Ras Abu Fontas, Qatar. The Islamic tranche of the transaction was introduced to BLME by European Finance House, London based subdiary of Qatar Islamic Bank. Out of the total project budget of USD 600 mn, USD 150 mn is Islamic financing which is being underwritten by QIB.

Humphrey Percy is CEO of BLME. Mike Clark is CEO of European Finance House.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/152651.html

IIFM aims to finalise Master Murabaha Agreement

Talal Malik reported on 7 April 2008 that the Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) said to finalise soon the standardisation for a Master Murabaha Agreement called Master Agreement for Treasury Placement (MATP). The Agreements are under final review by Sharia scholars.

Khalid Hamad is chairman of IIFM.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/515834-bahrains-iifm-drawing-up-islamic-f...

Korea considers easing Islamic finance

Yoon Ja-young reported on 7 April that Korea regulators plan to revise laws to support banks to reach out to the markets of Islamic countries.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) plans to revise laws through a revision this year. FSC Chairman Jun Kwang-woo sees bankers requests in this regard very positive. Steps should include opportunities for Sukuk.

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2008/04/123_22065.html

Belgium law firm Loyens & Loeff has launched an Islamic finance practice

Law.com reported on 3 April that Loyens & Loeff has launched an Islamic finance practice -- in a move thought to make Loyens the first Benelux firm to target the sector with a dedicated team, following the hiring of Marjorie Sinke as head last February. Sinke -- a former judge at The Hague -- joins Loyens after running her own Islamic finance consultancy. She was also previously an associate at Benelux giant Stibbe.

Source: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1207133080920

Local currency government sukuk in Pakistan

Reuters reported on 7 April that Pakistan has shortlisted six banks to manage a local currency sukuk to be mandated according to sources Reuters spoke with, those are ABN Amro Pakistan, Dubai Islamic Bank, Meezan Bank, MCB Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, United Bank Ltd. Last month the finance minster, Salman Shah, indicated the issuance till 30 June, the end of the fiscal year. A banker familiar with the plans estimates the size at least to be Rps 20 bn (USD 318 mn).

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINISL24089920080407

Local currency Pakistani sukuk

Trading Market reported on 7 April that three local Islamic banks arranged Rs 91 bn Sukuk in Pakistan: Meezan Bank participated in Rs 57 bn worth of Sukuk financing. Dubai Islamic Bank during the year 2006-07, arranged Sukuks worth Rs 24 bn, which is 41% of the total domestic Sukuk issuances. BankIslami managed Rs. 5 bn in the last quarter of 2007.

Source: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1316415/

Millennium Finance Corporation announces UGB as new shareholder

Al Bawaba reported on 30 March on the new share holder of Millenium Finance Corporation (MFC), which is United Gulf Bank BSC (UGB).

MFC, a Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) licensed investment bank, was established by an experienced team of bankers from major international investment banking firms, in partnership with DIB. UGB is the investment banking arm of the KIPCO Group, Kuwait.

Khaled Al Kamda is Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Islamic Bank, Masaud Hayat, Managing Director of UGB, Keba Keinde, Chief Executive Officer of MFC, and William Khouri, Chief Executive Officer of UGB all signed off the transaction.

Source: http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/224596

Amlak Finance first quarter profits soar by 425%

Gulf News reported on 6 April that Amlak Finance reported a 425 %growth in first quarter net profits to Dh 126 mn compared to only Dh 24 mn in the first quarter of 2007.

Amlak also reported an impressive 165 per cent rise in revenues to Dh 270 mn during the first quarter of 2008 compared to Dh 102 mn in the same period last year.

The Extraordinary General Meeting mandated the board of directors with the issuance of convertible sukuk, up to Dh1.8 billion, in addition to non-convertible sukuk up to at Dh3 billion, for a total value of Dh4.8 billion.

Nasser Bin Hassan Al Shaikh is the chairman of Amlak Finance.

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Banking_and_Finance/10203528.html

Hong Kong and Dubai sign Islamic finance pact

Rita Raagas De Ramos reported in Asian Investor on 7 April about the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Hong Kong’s Securities & Futures Commission the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) calling for mutual cooperation on capacity building and human capital development in Islamic finance, as well as the promotion and development of their respective Islamic capital market segments; both parties will examine the possibility of establishing a framework for the mutual recognition of their regulatory regimes on Islamic funds to facilitate cross-border marketing and distribution of such funds.

The MOU for cooperation on Islamic finance and capacity building was signed by Hong Kong SFC CEO Martin Wheatley and the DFSA CEO David Knott.

Source: http://www.asianinvestor.net/article.aspx?CIaNID=73222

Ahli United Bank and Legal & General to establish regional life takaful company

Business Intelligence Middle East reported on 4 April about the planned 50:50 Joint-Venture between Ahli United Bank and UK-based Legal & General Group. Both parties agreed to set up a takaful life, pension plans and health insurance provider, subject to necessary regulatory and statutory approvals. The authorised capital is reported at about USD 200 mn, of which USD 25 mn will be initally paid up. Operations shall start later the year.

Mr Fahad Al Rajaan is Chairman of Ahli United Bank

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=18873

Inma Bank eyes SAR 10.5 bn in biggest Saudi IPO

Trade Arabia reported on 5 April based on Reuters that Inma Bank plans SAR 10.5 bn (USD 2.8 bn) in biggest Saudi Initial Public Offering (IPO) from April 7 to 16 selling 1.05 billion shares representing 70 % of the bank's capital SAR 15 bn capital. The Public Investment Fund, General Organisation for Social Insurance (Gosi) and the Public Pension Agency will each hold 10 %.

The IPO was previously delayed. Start of operations of the new Islamic bank is planned for the second half of 2008 with 15 branches.

The CEO is Abdel-Mohsen al-Faris. Lead Manager is Samba Capital.

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_141332.html

New IFSB documents on Capital Adequacy and Liquidity Management

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) released on 1 April that the IFSB Council adopted two documents to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry.

In its 12th meeting held at the Islamic Development Bank's (IDB) headquarters in Jeddah on March 26th 2008, the Council of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) resolved to approve two documents that aim to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry. The two documents are:

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

Technical Note on Issues in Strengthening Liquidity Management of Institutions Offering Islamic Financial Services: The Development of Islamic Money Markets (Technical Notes)

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

New Islamic Private Bank in Switzerland planned

Andrew England and David Oakley wrote a short briefing on 30 March in the Financial Times about a new Islamic private bank planned in Switzerland. National Bank of Kuwait is supposedly partnering with a Saudi-Arabian institution.

Source: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9bbfce9e-fe8c-11dc-9e04-000077b07658,Authorised=...

Saudi mortgage law awaits confirmation

AME Info reported on 30 March that the long awaited Saudi mortgage law is being considered by Saudi-Arabia's Consultative Council.

Islamic financing will play a promiment role in housing finance and it is expected that also the takaful industry will benefit from this move.

Full Text: http://www.ameinfo.com/151657.html

Gulf wealth projection USD 3.800 bn by 2012 - consulting firm Oliver Wyman

In a press release the consulting firm Oliver Wyman gave insights into their report "The Future of Private Banking - A Wealth of Opportunity".

Wealth held by high net worth individuals in the GCC - those with investable wealth of more than $1 million - is expected to grow from USD 2100 bn in 2007 to USD 3.800 bn by 2012. Annual growth is expected to slow down from previously 11 % to 9 % over the next 5 years.

Globally an estimated 16% of HNWI wealth was held offshore in 2007 while for the Middle East an estimate 52% is given in the press release. However, this is countered by a strong trend amongst the GCC's richest to repatriate wealth and invest in regional assets.

The scarcity of talent - skilled and experienced client relationship managers - is also a challenge in the Middle East, with dedicated on-the-ground coverage teams needed for billionaire families and top UHNWIs.

About Oliver Wyman www.oliverwyman.com

Full Press Release: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/index.php?option=com_pressreleases&view=d...

International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) established

Bernama reported on 26 March that Bank Negara Malaysia announced the establishment of the International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) to promote applied research in the area of Sharia and Islamic finance. It will also act as a repository of knowledge for Sharia views or fatwas and undertake studies on contemporary issues in Islamic financial industry. ISRA will be part of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF).

A Council of Scholars, comprising local and international Syariah scholars will be set up. Dr Mohamad Akram Laldin will be appointed as the executive director of ISRA.

Source: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_lite.php?id=322895

Al Islami Foods and Alf Yad launch a regional venture capital initiative

Al Islami Foods and Alf Yad, a Dubai based venture capital fund for young Arab entrepreneurs announced their strategic collaboration. Alf Yad will raise and deploy AED 100 mn to promising Arab entrepreneurs across the region. Initially, Alf Yad will support Al Islami with the introduction of a business franchise for fast foods - the Al Islami Cart - a business franchise for fast foods primarily distributed in major Co-Op supermarkets, high traffic mall outlets as well as the Global Village and university campuses.

Mr. Saleh Abdullah Lootah, is Chief Executive Officer of Al Islami Foods. Mr. Shehab Gargash is the Chief Executive Officer of Daman Investments, the manager of the fund.

Source: http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080327115425

NBK Capital aims to arrange Sukuk and close Private Equity transactions

Ulf Laessing reported in ArabianBusiness on 27 March about NBK Capitals plans to arrange Sukuk issues worth up to USD 700 mn in 2008 and to finalise four purchases for a Private Equity Fund.

The article confirms the slow down due to the credit crisis and that the pricing does not meet the clients requirement easily.

Further the company is buying into a car leasing company in Saudi, according to the Head of investment and merchant banking, Amjad Ahmad. It also aims to open offices in Qatar and Saudi-Arabia next year. It is operation in Turkey and interested in Syria.

NBK Capital operates currently in Kuwait and Dubai and focusses on mid-range deals in the triple-million dollar digit range.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/514909-nbk-capital-plans-700mn-islamic-bo...

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