GCC

Abu Dhabi banks ADCB, UNB and Al Hilal complete three-way #merger

The Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has completed its merger with Union National Bank (UNB) and the combined company has acquired Al Hilal Bank to create the third largest financial institution in the UAE. Following the merger with ADCB, UNB has been dissolved as a legal entity while its shares have been delisted.
The enlarged ADCB Group will provide services to more than a million customers. It will hold AED423bn ($115.16bn) in assets with a market share of 21% of retail loans as of 31 December 2018. The Government of Abu Dhabi owns 60.2% stake in the enlarged banking group. The integration of the three banks’ operations and customer experience will be fast tracked in a phased manner from the second half of 2019.

Who's Talking to Whom as Record #Merger Wave Shakes Up Gulf Banks

Bloomberg provides an overview of which lenders are in merger talks and where those conversations are at. Talks are underway in Abu Dhabi for a possible tie-up between Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank with First Abu Dhabi Bank, a merger that would create one of the Middle East’s largest lenders. Saudi Arabia’s biggest lender National Commercial Bank said at the end of 2018 that it’s starting initial talks with Riyad Bank. This deal would form the Gulf’s third-biggest lender. Dubai’s largest bank Emirates NBD is buying Turkey’s Denizbank for $2.8 billion. The three-way merger of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union National Bank and Al Hilal creates the fifth-biggest lender in the Gulf.

#UAE aim to become regional Islamic art and culture capital boosted by Jameel Prize’s first exhibition in Dubai

The UAE’s status as a centre for Islamic art and design was boosted this past week as Jameel Arts Centre opened the Jameel Prize 5 exhibition. First awarded in 2009, the Jameel Prize is a collaboration between London's Victoria & Albert Museum and Art Jameel. Worth 25,000 British pounds, it awards contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic tradition. In addition to the two joint prize winners, Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar and Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum, the prize exhibition in Dubai is also showing works by the six finalists. They are: Iranian artist Kamrooz Aram, Jordan and Dubai-based graphic designer and architect duo naqsh collective, Iraqi-born painter Hayv Kahraman, Bahraini fashion designer Hala Kaiksow, Moroccan multimedia artist Younes Rahmoun, and Pakistani painter Wardha Shabbir.

Dar Al Arkan set to redeem $400m Islamic bond

Saudi Arabia’s Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company aims to redeem its $400-million sukuk by using internal cash reserves. The sukuk, listed on Irish Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Dubai, is set to mature on May 28, 2019. Over the last decade, Dar Al Arkan has issued nine international sukuks and post redemption of 2019 sukuk and Dar will continue to have $1 billion of sukuks. CEO Andy Raheja said that Dar Al Arkan had cash and cash equivalents near SR5 billion. Given the strong free cash flow conversion, the company sees no immediate need to issue any new Sukuks for the foreseeable future.

#Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank to boost mortgage #lending

Al Rajhi Bank aims to boost mortgage lending as more affordable housing comes on the market. CEO Steve Bertamini said the bank's mortgage book grew 27% year-on-year in 2018 and it is looking for double digit growth for the next two to three years. Al Rajhi, which has traditionally focused on consumer banking, has been expanding its exposure to the private sector. It also sees opportunities in project finance as public-private partnership contracts for water and renewable energy start to be awarded. Saudi Arabia's economy grew in the fourth quarter of last year at its fastest rate since early 2016 due to an expanding oil sector. Fourth-quarter gross domestic product grew by 3.59% from a year earlier.

Top ADCB executives appointed to lead Al Hilal Bank

Senior executives at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) were appointed to top leadership positions at Al Hilal Bank, as it prepares to be acquired by ADCB. Alaa Eraiqat was announced on Sunday as the new chairman of Al Hilal Bank, while Amr Al Menhali was announced as the private bank’s new chief executive officer. The appointments come just 10 days before the three-way bank transaction, which will see ADCB merge with Union National Bank and then acquire Al Hilal. The three banks are set to merge on May 1. The new merged entity, which will retain the name ADCB, is expected to own Dh420 billion in assets, and have around one million customers.

INTERVIEW: Gulf banking consolidation 'long overdue' - Investcorp's co-CEO

According to the co-chief executive of Bahrain’s Investcorp, Rishi Kapoor, consolidation in the financial services industry in the region is long overdue. Consolidation in banking would build the scale required to increase investments in financial technology, as payment solutions are increasingly enabled by fintech. The banking sector in the Gulf Arab region is seen as overcrowded, an M&A deal among banks is currently either in the pipeline or has taken place within the past few months. Investcorp’s co-chief also expects more M&A in the region’s disorganised retail sector, particularly in Saudi Arabia. As for the sectors that offer attractive investment opportunities within the Gulf region, Kapoor favours the sectors related to privatisation, social infrastructure and domestic consumption.

Emirates Islamic Bank's net profit surges 97% to Dh411 million

Emirates Islamic reported a net profit of Dh411 million for the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 97% year-on-year and 54% quarter-on-quarter. Emirates Islamic CEO Salah Mohammed Amin said the bank recorded its highest ever quarterly net profit since its inception in 2004. The strong set of results was supported by balance sheet growth, higher funded income, growth in fee income and lower cost of risk. The bank’s total income for the first quarter increased by 12% to Dh663 million. The total assets at Dh60.6 billion, increased by 4% from end 2018. Impaired financing ratio is at 8.6% with a strong coverage ratio of 111%.

Insurance Sector Projected to Witness Majors Mergers in GCC Soon

Mergers and acquisitions will inevitably happen in the UAE's overcrowded insurance and Takaful industry. According to Vasilis Katsipis, general manager at AM Best, there are several reasons that hamper local insurers and Takaful firms from consolidation. Individuals holding larger stakes in the companies are willing to sell at a much higher price which is not attractive for the buyers. Also, it is not a high priority for the owners either in terms of liquidating assets or in terms of spending time. Katsipis noted that if it is purely for financial reasons, then the market will see some activity in terms of consolidation in the next two years. According to Safder Jaffer, managing director of Milliman, the lack of long-term view of profitability by shareholders, low interest rate environment and lack of expertise continue to be a main challenge for takaful companies.

Dubai Islamic Bank confirms #merger and #acquisition prospects

Dubai Islamic Bank is looking at acquisitions among other options as part of its expansion strategy. A potential acquisition of Noor Bank by DIB would create a lender with AED 275 billion in assets if completed. The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) is the biggest shareholder in DIB with a 28.4% stake, and it also owns 22.9% of Noor Bank. The Middle East’s financial industry is witnessing a wave of consolidation as banks seek ways to improve competitiveness and boost capital. Abu Dhabi is in the process of merging Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), Union National Bank (UNB) and Al Hilal Bank after the consolidation of First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi to create First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) in 2017.

Potential Noor Bank acquisition 'positive' for Dubai Islamic Bank

According to Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes, the potential acquisition of Noor Bank by Dubai Islamic Bank would be a positive move for the buyer. Also, there is room for more consolidation among local lenders as the UAE is overbanked, with 22 local and 38 foreign banks, most of which have "sub-optimal" market shares. EFG-Hermes expects a potential transaction to be made through a share-swap. It estimates a share-swap of 1 DIB share for 7.8 Noor Bank shares that would lead to a 1% earnings per share dilution for DIB. The merged entity would have an assets market share of 10%, as Noor Bank's assets amount to Dh51 billion or 2% market share and DIB’s assets amount to Dh224bn or 8% as of 2018.

Islamic GCC Bond Sales Fall by 32 Percent Due to Oil Price Hike

According to Moody’s Investors Service, the GCC region's sukuk issuance fell by 32% to reach $16.7 billion in the first half of 2018. This contributed to a reduction in the Gulf’s overall share of the global sukuk issuance to less than a third (30%) compared with 39% a year earlier. The GCC also dragged down total global issuance which fell by 12% to reach $55 billion in the first six months of the year. Recovery in the oil price has reduced pressure on Gulf government’s budget deficits and helped lower their borrowing requirements. While Islamic bonds have fallen out of favour in the Gulf, their appeal remains strong in Malaysia. The South-East Asian country increased its issuance by 9% in the first half of the year to reach $22.4 billion, making it the world’s leading Sukuk issuer.

ADIB's Riad Sees Strong Uptick in #Sukuk Activity in Second Half

In this interview Amir Riad, head of corporate finance at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) talks about the UAE's economy and the lender's sukuk business. Riad sees a positive traction as the oil price is stabilising and the capital markets are deepening. ADIB has just announced the issuance of a new tier 1 sukuk, which replaces the bank's issuance in 2012. He expects a strong sukuk activity in the second half for the whole GCC region.

#Saudi Arabia sells 4 billion riyals of domestic #sukuk

Saudi Arabia's finance ministry sold 4.0 billion riyals ($1.1 billion) of domestic Islamic bonds in its monthly auction. The issuance is actually a re-opening of the issue originally made in July. The ministry sold 2.25 billion riyals of five-year sukuk, 500 million riyals of seven-year and 1.25 billion riyals of 10-year, bringing the total issue size to 7.465 billion riyals.

Hill International to Provide Project Management for Bank Aljazira Project, Supporting #Saudi Arabia National Vision 2030

Hill International has received a three-year contract from Bank Aljazira to provide project management services for Aljazira’s Regional Management Office Building in Riyadh. The project will be one of Riyadh’s landmarks, reflecting Bank Aljazira’s image and its alignment with the Saudi Arabia National Vision 2030. The project location is planned to be north of the Capital, in the center of new major developments for the next 20 years. Hill International provides program management, project management, construction management and other consulting services to clients in a variety of market sectors. According to Engineering News-Record magazine, Hill International is the eighth-largest construction management firm in the United States.

AUB in push for #merger with KFH

Bahrain’s largest lender Ahli United Bank (AUB) has announced that two investment banks are evaluating a potential merger with Kuwait Finance House (KFH). HSBC and Credit Suisse are currently undertaking necessary valuations studies to assist AUB and to arrive at a fair share exchange ratio. If a merger proceeds, the total assets of the two banks would be $90.57 billion, making it the sixth largest bank in the Gulf. The major shareholders in the two lenders are Kuwait state-owned entities. The Public Institution for Social Security owns 18.59% of AUB, while KFH's largest shareholder is the Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA).

ADGM’s aviation finance structure utilized in #sukuk issuance

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has facilitated the transaction of a 12 year Sukuk issued by Natixis and Noor Bank. It is the first instance where an ADGM structure has been used specifically to hold aircraft assets for issuing Sharia compliant bonds. The transaction follows the successful completion of the first aviation sale and leaseback transactions arranged by Natixis in ADGM in late 2016 and the registration of three international aviation leasing companies earlier this year. ADGM aims to position Abu Dhabi as an international aviation finance hub to deliver bespoke solutions for both Islamic and Conventional transactions.

#Qatari Islamic banks grow despite regional rift — IFSB data

Assets and revenues at Qatar's Islamic banks have grown over the past year, but an increase in problem loans and a drop in foreign currency lending underscore the impact of a diplomatic rift in the region. Qatar Islamic Bank, Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar International Islamic Bank and Barwa Bank held a combined 358.6 billion riyals (US$96 billion) in assets in the first quarter of this year, an 8.8% increase from a year earlier. Most of that increase was due to their holdings of Islamic bonds, which stood at 65.1 billion riyals in the first quarter, a 37.7% rise from a year ago. Capital adequacy and profitability measures were mostly unchanged, but foreign exchange financing decreased by 7%.

#UAE Startup Launches First-Ever Sharia-Compliant Islamic #Crypto Exchange

UAE-based Adab Solutions has announced the launch of the First Islamic Crypto Exchange (FICE). An in-house Sharia Advisory Board (SAB) made up of independent international Sharia experts will be in place to ensure that the exchange is in compliance with Sharia law. In April 2018, Mufti Muhammad Abu Bakar declared that bitcoin is Sharia-compliant, and as such can be used by Muslims. The move potentially opens the cryptocurrency space to a global market of over 1.8 billion Muslims. Adab Solutions is preparing to launch the project ICO in September and tokens will be used as utility keys to access the exchange platform’s services. All commissions within the FICE will be paid exclusively in Adab tokens.

#Qatari Banks May Reveal Merger Plan as Soon as This Week

Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) may announce plans to merge as early as this week. Combining Barwa and IBQ would partially salvage a proposed three-way merger with Masraf Al Rayan that was abandoned in June after 18 months of talks. That consolidation would have created the country’s largest Shariah-compliant bank and the Middle East’s third-biggest Islamic lender with more than 178 billion riyals ($49 billion) of assets. The smaller merger will create a lender with about 82 billion riyals in assets, the sixth-largest in the country. Each bank was valued around $1.8 billion in two separate share sales in 2014.

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