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National Takaful Company “Watania” Earns 13.1 Million Dirhams in Net Profit for the Year 2019.

National Takaful Company Watania has announced positive financial results in 2019, as the company's net profit increased to 13.1 million UAE dirhams, compared to 9.4 million dirhams in 2018. The company launched many new initiatives in 2019 to boost its overall performance, most of these initiatives focused on enhancing the levels of customer service. A new digital platform was launched that allows one of the fastest quotations and policy issuance system for motor business in the UAE market. The Company was among the first ones in UAE to subscribe to Blockchain technology to manage the motor claims recovery process. Chairman Dr. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri is confident that once the corona crisis is over and businesses start to get back to normal, Watania will be in a good position to seize the advantage.

Does divesting shares for ethical or religious reasons produce real change?

Making moral and religious investment decisions is right, but does not change the world. Shariah compliant screening of stock market investments enables investors to invest in accordance with their religious beliefs, but that is all it does. To combat the harm from alcohol, for example, requires other policies. Divestment campaigns do achieve one thing. That is to increase publicity about the issue concerned, whether that is climate change in the case of oil companies, or deaths from smoking in the case of tobacco companies. The ethical and religious reasons for divestment should not be ignored, since they matter to the individual shareholder. However ethical investors should not deceive themselves to believing that divestment will result in change in circumstances when it will not.

Moody's expects $180bn #sukuk issuance this year

According to Moody's Investor Service, sukuk issuance will stabilise after growing for four consecutive years, supported by the deficit financing needs of some GCC sovereigns, amid weaker oil prices and higher sukuk refinancing. Moody's expects sukuk issuance of around $180bn in 2020, after a 36% rise in 2019 to $179bn. Global sovereign sukuk issuance increased by 31% to $119bn in 2019, from $91bn in 2018. Moody's noted that downside risks are rising in the short term because of the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, as prolonged market disruption could dissuade issuers from coming to market. Green sukuk will benefit from robust growth in institutional investor demand for environmental, social and governance (ESG) products, given the natural crossover of sustainable investing and Islamic finance.

Islamic finance to expand in 2020 as demand for Shariah-compliant products grows

According to Moody’s Investors Service, Islamic finance is poised to expand in 2020 and beyond, helped by growing use of Shariah-compliant products in the GCC region and Malaysia. Moody's vice president Nitish Bhojnagarwala expects sukuk issuance to remain stable at around $180 billion (Dh661bn) this year, and the takaful insurance market will see steady growth as insurance premiums pick up in newly-penetrated markets. However, downside risks are rising because of the coronavirus outbreak. Mergers between Islamic and conventional banks in the GCC will drive one-off increases in assets, as they did in 2019. Saudi Arabia will remain the world's largest Islamic banking market, while the sector will continue to expand rapidly in Malaysia.

Philanthropy cannot self-isolate, and good ideas should never be quarantined

From 12-20 March the European Foundation Centre (EFC) surveyed its membership to find out what measures they are taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All respondents confirmed that their organisations have taken internal measures to protect staff, visitors, and the public. 70% of respondents said they were using “smart-working” methods to compensate for working from home. 79% of respondents said programmes will be harder to implement. There was a general interest in finding collaborative ways to fund and/or exchanging ideas, information and good practices. On 25 March the EFC and DAFNE jointly issued the European Philanthropy Statement on COVID-19, calling for a strong spirit of European solidarity in the face of the current adversity. The message is clear: philantropy as a sector must show a unified, coherent response to this current threat as well as those that lie ahead.

Crowdfunding with Music Securities: A New Approach to Impact Investing

Impact investing activity in Asia has grown quickly, but it will be a challenge to maintain the pace of scaling due to the complex and widely heterogeneous landscape of the region. Crowdfunding has been identified as a potential solution to match the demands and risk appetite of investors to the needs of operators. A case study on Music Securities is used to highlight the key benefits and risks of such an impact investing model. Formulating appropriate and efficient policies and increasing awareness among investors will also be crucial in promoting impact investing activity.

Al Baraka Bank #Tunisia increases its net income by 256%

Al Baraka Bank Tunisia recently announced its financial results for the year 2019. The results revealed that the bank has moved forward with a net income that increased by 256% and total assets by 20% compared to the end of 2018. The Bank’s financial statements for the year 2019 show that the total income amounted to 133 million Tunisian dinars ($48 million), up 29% compared to the same period last year. After deducting all operating expenses, net operating income went up 54% to 30 million Tunisian dinars (US$11 million). The Bank also increased its shareholders’ equity by 9% to 174 million Tunisian Dinars (USD 62 million) at the end of December 2019.

Fitch Ratings: Coronavirus intensifies pressure on Qatari banks

The spread of the corona virus will pressure Qatari banks' asset quality and funding volatility could recur. As Fitch does not expect any changes in the Qatari authorities' ability to provide timely support all Qatari banks have a Stable outlook. The consequences of the coronavirus and lower hydrocarbon revenues will weaken government capital spending, which will in turn affect the operating environment. Fitch now forecasts Qatar's real GDP growth at minus 2% in 2020, after an estimated 0.6% positive growth in 2019. Qatari banks have adequate capital buffers but an increase in problem loans could erode these buffers quickly.

Islamic Development Bank earmarks $630m for members

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group has set-up a special Strategic Preparedness and Response Facility worth $730 million to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID -19 pandemic. The IsDB Group stated that its entities will support the private sector in responding to the crisis and to minimise its impact on SMEs to sustain economic development. Additionally, the Islamic Cooperation for Development (ICD) shall provide $250 million of emergency funding mainly in the form of medium to long-term financing instruments to help affected sectors. ICD will also be aiding the private healthcare industry of affected member-countries to meet surging need for services, equipment and medicine.

Leaders of world’s most powerful countries come together for Saudi-led virtual summit

Leaders of the most powerful countries in the world will today come together in a virtual summit organized by the Saudi Arabia G20 presidency to tackle the accelerating coronavirus crisis. Among world leaders expected to participate in the meeting are US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The World Health Organization, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are among the international organizations that will take part, as well as other development organizations. Saudi Arabia’s efforts at global coordination will continue after the virtual summit. Another forum of G20 finance ministers is planned for next month, as well as a virtual gathering of G20 health ministers.

Etiqa gives RM1mil to buy ventilators

Etiqa is contributing RM1mil for the purchase of ventilators through Mercy Malaysia’s Pandemic Fund to support strategic preparedness and response plan to the Covid-19 virus. This initiative will also help ensure all communities are well prepared, especially those with the weakest health systems. With the number of people infected with Covid-19 increasing in Malaysia, the number of ventilators available at designated hospitals will be insufficient to deal with the number of critical cases. Etiqa Insurance & Takaful Group CEO Kamaludin Ahmad feels obligated to help the country battle Covid-19 and hopes that this contribution will mean that no patient will have to be denied lifesaving care due to ventilator shortage.

Jack Ma Foundation, Alibaba Foundation donation arrives

The first batch of the much-needed medical supplies donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation has arrived in Pakistan. The shipment is part of the donation of medical supplies to 10 Asian countries announced on March 21. Collectively, the nations will receive a total of 1.8 million masks; kits for testing 210,000 people, 36,000 pieces of protective clothing, as well as essential medical equipment such as ventilators and forehead thermometers. Pakistan's Disaster Management Authority will transport and distribute the supplies throughout the country. The remainder of the donation is expected to reach Pakistan soon.

Covid-19: Saudi delivery app raises funds as virus lockdown boosts demand

A grocery delivery app in Saudi Arabia has raised funds to expand across the Middle East as lockdown measures related to the coronavirus boost demand for online shopping. The Nana app raised $18 million from investors including venture capital fund STV and Middle East Venture Partners. Dubai-based start-up ecosystem enabler Wamda also participated in the investment round, along with Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Impact46 and Watar Partners. Nana founder Sami Alhelwah said the penetration of online grocery shopping in the region is very low and the target is to expand across the region and beyond groceries into other products. Nana wants to become the Amazon of the Middle East and wants to be one of the first technology companies listed in Saudi Arabia.

Covid-19 fund amassed RM8.1m in donations

THE Covid-19 fund, launched by Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on March 11, received a RM5 million contribution yesterday. The donations came from Spanco Sdn (RM2 million), followed by DRB-Hicom, MMC Corp and YTL Corp who contributed RM1 million each. Property developer Titijaya Land has contributed 520,000 face masks for frontliners. With the above donations, the fund has amassed a total of RM8.13 million in contributions. The government has launched the Covid-19 fund to help affected Malaysians. Similarly, the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development has also launched another fund to help the Muslim communities affected by the outbreak. Separately, some Malaysians are criticising the setting up of funds and are calling on ministers to take pay cuts instead.

Saudi billionaire's charity adds second donation to help global polio fight

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud has joined Bill Gates and other leading figures to announce the first round of funding to a major global initiative to end polio. Alwaleed Philanthropies’ donation of $2 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) will support the creation of action plans to expand access to polio vaccination and help reach children everywhere. Alwaleed Philanthropies has also worked with key partners such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carter Center and UNICEF to tackle Guinea Worm disease, river blindness, measles and rubella, amongst other preventable and treatable diseases. The GPEI pledging event launched a fundraising push to fill the $3.27 billion funding gap. So far, $2.6 billion has been raised.

#Sukuk issuance stalls on subdued economy

Sukuk issuance could potentially take a hit this year, dragged by subdued economic growth. In 2018, when Malaysia’s GDP growth slowed to 4.7%, sukuk issuances fell by 2.6%. In 2019, when real GDP growth moderated further to 4.3%, sukuk issuances slipped by 2.3%. However, the current low interest-rate environment will prevent sukuk issuances from falling too significantly this year. According to Malaysia Rating Corp (MARC) chief economist Nor Zahidi Alias, the downside risk remains especially if the Covid-19 outbreak continues to be unmanageable and lockdown periods across global economies continue. Policymakers globally are using fiscal and monetary tools to soften the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. The US Federal Reserve’s move to lower its benchmark to a near-zero rate prompted central banks across many sukuk active markets to cut their interest rates.

Khalifa Foundation receives donation from Dubai Islamic Bank

The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation received a AED1.2 million donation from Dubai Islamic Bank, to support its efforts to provide laptops to school and university students. The financial support comes as part of efforts to implement remote learning initiatives as part of UAE measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19. The foundation's director Mohammed Haji Al Khouri praised the bank’s donation as well as its timely response to the initiative. He stated that the foundation aims to strengthen its partnerships with government authorities, banks, companies, key sponsors and strategic partners to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Philanthropists in UAE donate millions to fight Covid-19

As the UAE is stepping up its fight against the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the Emirati business community is showing its solidarity and support. Abdul Rahim Al Zarooni, chairman of Zarooni Group, has allocated Dh10 million to support medical and preventive supplies in Dubai. Khalaf Al Habtoor, CEO of Al Habtoor Group, has donated 50 state-of-the-art ambulance vehicles and a medically-equipped building to be used for quarantine purposes. Al Futtaim Group has set up a fund of Dh100 million for retailers at its malls in Dubai. The fund will cover up to three months' rent relief for 'eligible' tenants, who run the risk of being caught in business disruption and slowdown. Another Emirati family business group has donated ambulances and medical equipment worth Dh12 million.

Coronavirus in #UAE: Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group donates Dh13 million

Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group has announced donations worth Dh13 million aimed at supporting the healthcare sector and schools in Dubai to support the country amidst the global coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group Charity Foundation announced a Dh3 million donation to support the UAE's distance learning initiative at public and non-profit schools in Dubai. The Group also donated Dh10 million to support the Dubai Health Authority's preventive measures against the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, Al Gurg Group has offered tenants of its residential buildings the option of postponing rent payment for three months.

Islamic Development Bank comes to the rescue of virus-hit members

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has set up an emergency funding line to tackle the coronavirus crisis. The Strategic Preparedness and Response Facility with a volume of $730mn is established in order to support the member countries and to mitigate the negative health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic. The emergency funding includes $280mn from the IsDB’s Bank and Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development to be used for sovereign projects and programmes, $300mn from IsDB’s division International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation to support trade finance among member countries, as well as $150mn to be applied to insurance coverage.

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