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Sri Lanka: First Barakah Investments Limited is expecting Central Bank approval

Anjana Samarasinghe reported that First Barakah Investments Limited is expecting Central Bank approval to operate as a registered finance company shortly in Sri Lanka shortly. The company also expects to apply for banking licenses within two years time.

Barakah Investments will introduce ‘SUKUK’ an alternative way of bonds in Islamic finance to the market. The Government of Sri Lanka also expects to raise funds through SUKUK.

Oliver Wyman says Islamic finance industry to grow to USD 1.6 trillion by 2012

Assets of the global Islamic finance industry are estimated to grow to around USD 1.6 trillion by 2012, a report by consultancy Oliver Wyman said. Growth opportunities lie in underpenetrated markets with large Muslim populations in the Middle East, Pakistan and South East Asia. Islamic wholesale banking needs to diversify from real estate finance to include advanced treasury services, innovative asset management, balance sheet management and securitisation management.

Request form: http://www.oliverwyman.com/ow/request.htm?name=The%20Next%20Chapter%20in...

Islamic Development Bank plans Sukuk

Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to issue USD 5 bn Sukuk, over the next five years to finance its programmes.

IDB's president Mr Ali said he expected 2009 issue would be priced higher and that the new sukuk would increase the IDB’s 2009 financing programme by 15 %.

BLME considers listing on London Stock Exchange

Bank of London and the Middle East plans to focus on its wealth-management business this year and then aim for listing on the London Stock Exchange next year.

Parsoli directors resigned

Parsoli Corporation Ltd has informed Bombay Stock Exchange that Mr. Uto Baader, and Ms. Christine Schiedermaier, have resigned as directors of the Company and accordingly they ceased to be directors w.e.f. March 25, 2009.

Source: 

http://www.bseindia.com/qresann/news.asp?newsid={D28277E5-E5E5-482A-BD51-46090B16FD23}&param1=1

S&P: Arcapita Bank Long-Term Rating Lowered To 'BB'; Remains On CreditWatch Negative; 'B' Short-Term Affirmed

Press Release

PARIS April 6, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it lowered its long-term counterparty credit rating on Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank to 'BB' from 'BB+' and kept the rating on CreditWatch with negative implications where it was initially placed on Jan. 28, 2009. At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its 'B' short-term rating on Arcapita.

"The rating action reflects the very weak investment climate, which has challenged Arcapita's business model and has decreased the value of its assets in our view," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Mohamed Damak. "In this light, we believe Arcapita's leverage indicators have weakened, which has put pressure on its credit profile."

Arcapita has reported that it is implementing a set of measures to reduce its leverage and improve its liquidity position. It has already:

--Raised $300 million through two-year facilities from strategic investors;

--Raised $100 million of capital from a strategic shareholder in the Gulf; and

--Sold and leased-back its head office and a related piece of land in a $400 million transaction.

Dubai raises USD 635 mn to refinance debt - Chinese and local banks involved

Simeon Kerr reported in The Financial times on 5 April that the Dubai government raised a
USD 635 mn Islamic finance to help retire a USD 1 bn in civil aviation authority debt maturing later this month.

The lease-based Islamic facilty syndication, led by Dubai Islamic Bank, mainly depends on local banks, but Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and WestLB also participated in the syndication, which was priced at 3 % points above US, UAE and euro benchmark rates. It is due to be repaid in three equal semi-annual instalments from April 2010.

It was the first Islamic transaction for the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China with a branch in the DIFC.

Dubai is preparing to seek a sovereign rating in the second half of this year.

Delay of annual reports - The Investment Dar

The Investment Dar announces that the release of its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2008 has been delayed as a result of additional reporting requirements from the Company's subsidiaries and associates. The Company has been in dialogue with the Kuwaiti regulatory authorities regarding this issue.

As of 1 April 2009, the Kuwait Stock Exchange suspended trading in the companie's shares until further notice as a result of the postponement of the release of its full year financial results for the year ended 31 December 2008. The same action was taken for a number of other Kuwait Stock Exchange listed companies.

European Finance House USD 200 mn Sukuk fund

Esteban Duarte and Neil Unmack reported on Bloomberg on 30 March that European Finance House Ltd. in London, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank seeks is planning the EFH Global Sukuk Plus Fund, managed by Aleksandar Devic, a former Lehman Brothers credi analyst. The Fund targets USD 200 mn.

EFH’s Luxembourg-based fund is targeting this year a yield of 6 % points more than the 3-m USD LIBOR. The fund will buy sukuk with an average credit rating of A, the sixth-highest investment grade ranking in Standard & Poor’s scale.

Mark Watts is head of asset management at European Finance House an he expects a strong rising Sukuk issuance once capital markets are free again.

Global finance structures must be revamped, says UN expert panel

International finance structures must be drastically overhauled in the face of the current global economic crisis, a panel of experts convened by the United Nations General Assembly chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics said.

The expert panel made a number of suggestions to support developing nations and creating an international infrastruture for the global markets led by the United Nations.

The panel included Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia.

KFH plans USD 133.3 mn Saudi investment branch

The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is set to open an investment bank in Saudi Arabia with a capital of SAR 500 mn (USD 133.3 mn). KFH is further looking into investment opportunities in the UAE, Oman and Qatar.

Fitch partially downgrades Kuwait Finance House

Fitch Ratings affirmed Kuwait Finance House's (KFH) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A+' and Short-term IDR at 'F1'. KFH’s Individual Rating was downgraded to 'C/D' from 'C' and placed on Rating Watch Negative (RWN). KFH's Support '1' and Support Rating Floor 'A+' were affirmed. The Outlook for the Long-term IDR is Stable.

Abu Dhabi's Hilal Bank sets up Kazakh unit

Stanley Carvalho reported on 31 March on Reuters that Abu Dhabi's government-owned Al Hilal Bank will set up an Islamic bank in Kazakhstan. Al Hilal will headquarter the new bank in the central Asian state's capital Almaty, opening in the second half of 2009 with an initial capital of AED 100 mn(USD 27 mn).

Chairman of Hilal Bank is Ahmed Ateeq al-Mazrouei.

HSBC Gets Approval For Selling Sukuk In Hong Kong

HSBC has received approval from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to sell Sukuk (Islamic Bonds) in Hong Kong, the first local bank in the territory to do so.

Bruno Lee is head of liabilities business and wealth management.

French management school offers Islamic finance course

Grande Ecole Sup de Co Reims (Groupe Reims Management School) suggests a new course specialising on Islamic finance, which is coordinated by Ghassen Bouslama and offered in English.

Bahrain's Albaraka sees '09 profit growth at 7 %

The chairman of Bahrain-based Islamic lender Al Baraka Banking Group BARKA.BH expects a 7 % rise in profit this year.

Waad is legally binding for compensation, says scholar

Shariah scholar Abdulazeem Abozaid is cited in the Qatari newspaper The Peninsula to say that promises are binding in Islamic finance structuring to the degree of compensation for loss but not for entering into the contract.

Real Estate firms - good and bad news

Emaar Economic City in Riyadh, as subsidiary of Emaar Properties Dubai, announced that it has so far earned SAR 2 bn from the sale of the first phase of residential units.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Real_Estate_Property/10300746.html

Nakheel has joined Thailand's Amburaya Hotels & Resorts to transform Thailand's idyllic Koh Samui Island with the launch of a stunning integrated resort development comprising 17 luxurious private residences and a 75-key all-villa hotel.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Real_Estate_Property/10300825.html

Dubai-based developer Limitless said Thursday it is reviewing a $12 billion (Dh44.04 billion) residential and commercial project in India because authorities there have not yet bought the required land. Its announcement came a day after the developer cut 7 per cent of its workforce and delayed a key contract on its $61 billion Arabian Canal project due to the global economic downturn.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Real_Estate_Property/10300811.html

Egon Zehnder executive search assigned to find new EON Bank head

Yap Leng Kuen reported in the The Star that the International search firm Egon Zehnder International has been appointed to find a replacement for former EON Bank CEO Albert Lau Yiong.

Islamic Bank of Britain launches mortgage product in Scotland

Jane Bradley reported in the Scotsman on 3 April that Islamic Bank of Britain is introducting its mortgage product to Scotland. It is understood the launch is just the beginning of a wider push into Scotland – which is likely to include the opening of a physical branch and back office operations as well as the introduction of online retail banking for Scottish customers.

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