GCC

Nasdaq Dubai welcomes listing of $2 billion Sukuk by Islamic Development Bank

Nasdaq Dubai welcomed the listing of a US$2 billion Sukuk by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). The sukuk was priced at a profit rate of 1.809 percent payable on semi-annual basis. This Sukuk makes IsDB the leading Sukuk issuer by total value on Nasdaq Dubai at $15.64 billion. The first of IsDB’s 12 current Sukuk listings on the exchange was a $1 billion instrument that listed in 2015. The other IsDB listings are three Sukuk of $1.5 billion each, a $1.3 billion Sukuk, four Sukuk of $1.25 billion each, a EUR650 million Sukuk and a EUR1.1 billion Sukuk.

Saudi's Fawaz Abudulaziz Alhokair secures $800mln Islamic finance

Saudi-listed retail group Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Company has signed a Murabaha facility and a revolving credit facility agreement with a syndicate of Saudi banks. The $800 million debt facility is composed of two tranches, including a $650 million Murabaha to be fully utilized in refinancing existing debt, and a $150 million revolving standby credit facility to finance the business’ operational and expansion needs. The Murabaha matures in 7 years, while the revolving credit facility’s tenure is 3 years. The banks participating in the loan agreement are: Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation, the National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group, Arab National Bank, Mashreqbank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Chubb in talks to merge Chubb Arabia with AlAhli Takaful Company

Property/casualty insurer Chubb's Saudi Arabian division, Chubb Arabia Cooperative Insurance Company, has entered into preliminary discussions with AlAhli Takaful Company to explore the possibility of merging the two companies.

Dubai Islamic Bank hires banks to arrange dollar #sukuk issuance - document

Dubai Islamic Bank has hired regional and international banks to arrange a potential long five-year or seven-year dollar sukuk issuance. The bank hired Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, ICBC, KFH Capital, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank to lead the potential Islamic bonds sale. They will arrange an investor call on Thursday and investor meetings in London on Tuesday.

$26mln Islamic financing for #Oman copper-gold project

The Omani-Australian partnership Al Hadeetha Resources has secured funding to the tune of RO 10 million from Alizz Islamic Bank, which will support the financing of the formers copper-gold project. Australian-based mining firm Alara Resources is a majority investor in the project, which centres on the commercialization of an estimated 16 million tons of copper. These new financing arrangements signify another key milestone for the flagship Al Hadeetha Copper-Gold project in Oman. The funds will be used to procure major equipment for the copper processing plant at Washihi. Meanwhile, Al Hadeetha Resources has named Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Geological & Mining Corporation (CGM) as its Engineering Procurement Construction contractor. The project is expected to come into operation by Q1 2021.

Saudi art organisation acquires vast collection of Middle Eastern art from Dubai's bankrupt Abraaj firm

The private Saudi art organisation Art Jameel has bought a vast collection of works by leading artists commissioned by the now defunct, Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj. The collection had been planned to go on long-term loan to Art Jameel’s Dubai space, Jameel Arts Centre, before the financial company went bankrupt in 2018. It will now be managed as part of the Art Jameel Collection and part will be housed at the centre in Dubai. The 29 pieces, created over ten years from 2008 as part of the annual Abraaj Group Art Prize, are by artists from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia including Kader Attia, Shezad Dawood, Rana Begum and Wael Shawky.

Islamic Development Bank starts marketing dollar #sukuk

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Development Bank began marketing a five-year dollar sukuk at high-40s basis points over mid-swaps. The bank has hired Citi, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, LBBW, Natixis and Standard Chartered Bank to arrange the potential debt sale. The issuance is under Islamic Development Bank’s $25 billion trust certificate issuance programme and is expected to be of benchmark size. Benchmark size generally means upwards of $500 million.

BRIEF-Dar Al Takaful In Negotiations To Acquire Noor Takaful General And Noor Takaful Family

Dar Al Takaful executed a conditional offer letter to acquire 100% of shares of both Noor Takaful General and Noor Takaful Family. Completion of transaction is expected to take place in second quarter of 2020. After the transaction, Noor Takaful General and Noor Takaful Family will continue to conduct their business on an as is basis. Takaful policies underwritten by each of Noor Takaful Family and Noor Takaful General will remain unchanged and in full effect. Emirates NBD is acting as sole financial advisor on this transaction.

Saudi Arabia's Riyad Bank starts marketing 10-yr dollar #sukuk

Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank has started marketing 10-year dollar sukuk at around 225 basis points over mid-swaps. The Tier 2 subordinated sukuk sale is part of a $3 billion issuance programme. The bank hired JPMorgan, Riyad Capital and Standard Chartered to lead the deal. First Abu Dhabi Bank and HSBC are also involved in arranging the potential debt sale.

Al Baraka celebrates Art Week in headquarters with an Art Exhibition by employees

Al Baraka Islamic Bank organized an art exhibition for talented employees of the Bank as well as for the staff of Al Baraka Banking Group. The Art exhibition took place on 28th January 2020 at the Al Baraka Headquarters in Bahrain Bay. Al Baraka Group President Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif said the exhibition aimed to explore the historical legacies of Bahrain, from traditional crafts, industry and pop culture to modernism’s forms, including art and architecture there by encouraging the talented employees. He further stated that some of the paintings would be selected for use in the Group’s calendars and greeting cards.

INJAZ #Bahrain set to launch its first mobile application

INJAZ Bahrain has endeavored to develop its first mobile application with the support of Al Salam Bank-Bahrain, K-Labs and Inforise IT. The application will offer an enhanced registration experience by enabling new joiners, volunteers and alumni to choose among a list of programs offered by INJAZ Bahrain in collaboration with public and private schools. The application will also provide INJAZ Bahrain’s privileged volunteers with reward points based on their contributed volunteering hours towards youth development. The INJAZ Bahrain application will be available for both Android and IOS users by June of this year. In an aim to expand youth education and economic development, INJAZ Bahrain is leveraging mobile to harness digital innovation to improve the learning process and encourage more volunteers to join its programs.

Maybank Islamic establishes regional footprint with Dubai branch

Maybank Islamic has officially opened its first overseas branch in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). It offers wholesale banking services and facilities, with emphasis in corporate financing, treasury, and capital market and trade finance. According to Maybank Islamic’s CEO Datuk Mohamad Rafique Marican, the DIFC branch was a significant milestone for Maybank Islamic, as it not only marks its first overseas branch but also Malaysia’s first Islamic bank to have a presence outside local shores. The regional office is headed by its country manager Nik Joharris Nik Ahmad, who has over 20 years experience having worked in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Maybank Islamic offers a range of Islamic financial products and services across 354 Maybank touch points in Malaysia, as well as international operations in Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Labuan, and Dubai.

IMF: Oil-rich Gulf Arab states may spend savings in 15 years

The International Monetary Fund warned that Gulf Arab states could burn through all their savings in the next 15 years as worries about climate change and supply from new competitors dampen oil prices. The stark alarm from the IMF comes as the island nation of Bahrain faced defaulting on a loan in 2018 and received a $10 billion bailout from its neighbors. According to IMF, the world’s demand for oil is expected to grow more slowly and eventually begin to decline in the next two decades. Oil production in the GCC represents 20% of global supplies. While GCC nations largely grew their reserves from 1997 to 2007, they began spending rapidly in the decade that followed. The monetary body recommended faster diversification away from an oil-based economy, a renewed push to save money and reforming the region’s large civil service.

Swiss fintech firms venture deeper into Middle East

Swiss fintech company Instimatch has launched into the Middle East, having won a licence to operate in Qatar, and signed up its first Kuwaiti bank. The company is poised to incorporate Islamic finance-compliant solutions and blockchain into its platform. Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan and Ahli banks are among the 80-plus entities signed up by Instimatch, along with Kuwait's Gulf Bank. Instimatch plans to have Qatar as a springboard for further expansion in the Middle East and later to Africa and Asia. Along with other countries in the region, Qatar recently launched a national fintech strategy to beef up its financial centre with digital innovations.

Shariah-compliant Qatar First Bank buys Seattle office building for $117 mln as it seeks to overturn losses

Qatar First Bank has acquired a property in Seattle, Washington, USA, for $117 million as it seeks to overturn its 2018 loss of 482 million riyals ($132.38 million). The four-building corporate campus property is fully rented by telco T-Mobile and software company Mindtree. QFB in 2019 exited its investments in several assets including Turkey-based English Home, Kuwait Energy, and Future Industries Holding. It said in October its strategy was to monetise its private equity portfolio and reinvest in more secure assets across politically stable jurisdictions. The bank made a loss of 303.64 million riyals for the nine-month period through Sep 30, 2019. QFB held 2.87 billion riyals in assets at the end of September last year.

DIB set to cut jobs following merger with Noor Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is planning more than 500 dismissals at newly acquired Noor Bank as part of cost cuts across both lenders. DIB, the largest Shari’ah compliant lender in the UAE, has more than 9,000 employees, while Noor Bank has between 1,200 and 1,400 full-time staff. DIB completed its acquisition of Shari’ah-compliant Noor Bank in January 2020 in a deal that will make DIB one of the world's largest Islamic banks, with total assets worth AED 275 billion ($75 billion). Job cuts will be on both sides but DIB is the buying side so job losses are expected to be more on Noor side.

#Kuwait's KFH plans to drop assets of about 100 million dinars this year - CEO

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) plans to shed assets worth about 100 million dinars ($329.5 million) in 2020 as it finalises the acquisition of Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank. KFH has sold assets worth 137 million dinars in 2019 and achieved a profit of 40.1 million dinars. Kuwait's largest Islamic bank registered a net profit of 60.5 million dinars in the fourth quarter last year, up from 58.3 million one year earlier. After the acquisition of Ahli United Bank, the new entity will have assets of $101 billion and shareholder equity of $10.5 billion, with an annual forecast profit of $1.5 billion. This merger will be the Gulf’s first major cross-border bank merger in recent years.

Boubyan Bank announces a successful offer for BLME Holdings plc (BLME)

Boubyan Bank had received valid acceptances in respect of a total of 73,263,270 BLME Shares. On 27 January 2020, Boubyan Bank announced that all conditions to the offer were either satisfied or waived and the offer became unconditional. The offer will remain open for acceptances until 1.00 p.m. (London time) on 19 February 2020. Following completion of the offer, Boubyan Bank intends that BLME will continue to operate as a standalone group within the wider Boubyan Bank business.

Dubai Islamic Bank completes the acquisition of Noor Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has completed the acquisition of Noor Bank through a share swap deal. As part of the agreement, DIB has issued 651 million new shares to take its issued share capital to 7.2 billion shares. The new DIB shares have been listed and admitted to trading on the Dubai Financial Market. The GCC financial services industry is witnessing a wave of consolidation as banks seek ways to improve competitiveness. Earlier this week, the National Bank of Bahrain acquired a 78.8% stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank. Similarly, Alizz Islamic Bank’s Board of Directors approved a share swap ratio for the proposed merger with Oman Arab Bank.

Saudi SRC buys $67mln mortgage portfolio from Bank Aljazira

The Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC), a subsidiary of the Saudi Public Investment Fund signed an agreement with Bank Aljazira to buy a SAR 250 million mortgage portfolio. The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that allows SRC to buy more mortgage portfolios from the bank. SRC seeks to inject more liquidity into the Saudi mortgage sector through the acquisition of mortgage portfolios. Bank Aljazira’s net profit increased by 3.8% to SAR 256.9 million in Q3-19, compared to SAR 247.4 million in Q3-18.

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