UK

Emirates hires banks for UK-guaranteed sukuk of up to $1 bln

Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, has hired banks to help it arrange a sukuk of up to $1 billion, as the airline seeks to raise cash to finance its pipeline of aircraft orders. The issue will be backed by UK Export Finance (UKEF). UKEF expected to guarantee an Islamic bond in 2015 issued by a customer of Airbus, Britain finance ministry said in October. The upcoming U.K.-backed Emirates deal could close by the end of the first quarter. The transaction is likely to be worth up to $1 billion, with the lifespan being between five and 10 years. Eight banks are arranging the transaction: HSBC, Citigroup, JP Morgan , National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Dubai Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD and Standard Chartered.

European Islamic Investment Bank Wins Approval Of Regulatory Change

UK regulators have accepted European Islamic Investment Bank's application to vary its regulatory permissions, meaning it is now an exempt capital adequacy directive (CAD) investment firm. Last September, European Islamic Investment Bank had concluded that the scope of its UK regulatory permissions was in excess of requirements, and began talks with regulators to "vary its regulatory permissions" to enable it to focus on its core strategy. At the time it anticipated that the move would involve giving up its deposit-taking licence. The European Islamic Investment Bank is regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority.

North Africa: UK Partners With Islamic Development Bank On Arab Women's Business Initiative

The UK and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to help boost business opportunities and create jobs for thousands of women across the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab Women's Enterprise Fund will see the IDB and the Department for International Development working together to improve the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in the Arab world. It will also address legal and cultural barriers that block women getting ahead in business. DFID will contribute £10 million to provide grants to help poor women access markets. IDB will match this with a further £10 million in Sharia-compliant Islamic finance.

Aston Martin to receive much needed cash for investment strategy

Aston Martin has plans to reveal an overhauled model lineup at the Geneva auto show in March. Investindustrial S.p.A., owner of 37.5 percent of Aston Martin’s shares since 2012, has now announced new cash investments into the automaker if needed, according to the private-equity firm’s chairman, Andrea Bonomi. He also added that Investindustrial has no intentions in selling the holding in the near future – disclosing that their investment needs to mature over a period of seven to 10 years. The automaker has other main shareholders such as Kuwaiti companies Investment Dar and Adeem Investment Co. Daimler also acquired a five percent stake in the company.

British Muslim Awards 2015 finalists unveiled

The British Muslim Awards sponsored by the Al Rayan Bank, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), aim to recognise a wide range of achievements which cover various aspects of society including business, charity, sport, arts and culture and much more. This year the event took place at the Chateau Impney Hotel, Worcestershire on Tuesday, January 27. Several nominees for each of the categories had been announced prior to the event. Categories include Muslim in the Community, Arts & Cultural Awareness, Young Achiever of the Year, Charity of the Year, Responsible Media of the Year, Religious Advocate of the Year, Muslim Woman of the Year, Best at Sport, among others.

Gatehouse Bank appoints head of real estate investment

Gatehouse Bank has appointed David Swan in a newly-created role as head of real estate investment. Swan will lead the firm’s real estate investment department in the origination, management and realisation of real estate equity investments. Gatehouse currently advises funds with approximately £1bn assets in the UK and US. The business is focused on diversifying its investment capabilities and expanding the geographical footprint of its portfolio. Swan has more than two decades of experience in the real estate investment sector. Prior to Gatehouse, he founded Bridgeport Real Estate in 2012, a real estate company advising investors on a range of large scale off-market transactions.

New Sharia-compliant property deal offers additional security

Gatehouse Bank is marketing a new CMBS-style transaction backed by the rental cashflow from a Paris office property. The deal is backed by an acquisition facility of more than EUR100m, where the rental payments will be securitised through two classes of fixed-rate certificates. This new structure, labelled a commercial rental-backed security (CRBS) by Gatehouse, removes the uncertainty because the certificates are backed by the direct legal ownership of the building. The bank will look to attract typical CMBS buyers, which are increasingly seeking to access this asset class.

Islamic Bank of Britain shareholders endorse Al Rayan Bank name change

Shareholders of the Birmingham-based Islamic Bank of Britain have given their approval to change its name to Al Rayan Bank. As a result of the rebranding, the bank has introduced a new Al Rayan Bank logo and brand identity, which are being implemented across its website, literature and branches. Al Rayan Bank’s activities will continue to be monitored by an independent Sharia supervisory committee and a dedicated compliance officer. It will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank and customers’ deposits will remain protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Ogier advises Shariah-compliant Gatehouse Bank plc on its joint venture with Sigma Capital

A combined team of partners and associates from the corporate and finance groups of Ogier's Cayman office recently advised Gatehouse Bank plc on its joint venture with Sigma Capital, for the construction of an initial 927 new rental homes, with a total development cost of approximately £110 million.

IPAFEM 2015 Call for Papers- An Islamic Perspective of Accounting, Finance, Economics - University of Glasgow

The Adam Smith Business School will host an international conference, themed “The Role and Contribution of Islamic Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Management in Contemporary society” at the University of Glasgow, UK, on 7-9 April 2015. This two-day conference will provide opportunities for participants to present their current research on the Islamic perspective of accounting, finance, economics & management as well as to build their collaboration network with other delegates. The deadline for abstract submission is 31st December 2014. For more information about the conference, please check the website: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/business/newsandevents/headline_351155_en.html

European Islamic Investment Bank Puts Tender Offer On Hold

European Islamic Investment Bank PLC Friday said it has cancelled its tender offer for up to GBP20 million as it is still in talks with regulators and is yet to receive their full approval, though it intends to launch a new tender offer with the same terms as soon as permission is received. As a result, acceptances of the tender offer are no longer valid and do not bind shareholders; shareholders who have already accepted the tender offer are now free to trade their shares if they so wish. European Islamic Investment Bank said it is confident of being in a position to complete a new tender offer before its next annual general meeting, when the authority it has to undertake the tender offer expires.

CastleHill plans £100m shariah-compliant student accommodation fund

CastleHill Capital, a fund with bases in the UK and Middle East, aims to launch its first shariah-compliant UK student accommodation fund in early 2015. The fund is part of the CastleHill Group, which runs student recruitment services in partnership agreements with over 50 universities. CastleHill Capital said it would leverage these strong relationships to offer high quality student accommodation in the UK. Clyde & Co, an international law firm, has been appointed on the role of advisory on the creation of the fund.

Gatehouse Bank completes first offshore real estate financing deal

Gatehouse Bank has announced the closure of its first offshore real estate financing in St Helier, Jersey. The Bank provided £10 million of senior financing to Apache Capital Partners, for the acquisition of Mourant Ozannes’ HQ offices, a offshore law firm. Apache Capital Partners, a niche Real Estate and Private Equity Investment Management Firm, specialises in investing capital from the Middle East into the UK. Given this client base, the company has offices in both London and Bahrain and currently has an approximate total of £340 million assets under management.

The role of Islamic finance in Britain's international competitiveness

Countries gain or lose economic competitiveness not by one or two major decisions, but by the steady drip feed of political decisions that either enhance or weaken their competitiveness. While Islamic finance is only a small part of the financial scene in the UK, the way that the UK government has facilitated its grown illustrates the above point very well. Competitiveness is rarely lost by a single dramatic mistake. Similarly, success in increasing competitiveness is often achieved by having a large number of “micro-policies” affecting particular parts of the economy. Promoting Islamic finance as the government has done is clearly in the best interests of the economy and therefore of all British citizens and taxpayers.

IREF Summit 2014 - Impressive Speaker Line-Up Set to Discuss Key Issues

The IREF Summit 2014 will be taking place on the 16th-17th December 2014 in London. The theme 'Real Estate - The Asset Class of 2014 & Beyond: Sustainability & Innovation in an Ever-Changing Global Real Estate Market', is gathering speakers from the UK, Middle East & Asia. The session themes are focused and aimed at providing a platform to discourse the pertinent current themes and trends marking the sector, with a particular emphasis on the Islamic real estate finance market segment. On the evening of the first day of the IREF Summit, ICG will once again host the 2014 IREF ME Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony. For further information on the Summit, how to nominate and attend the Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony, please visit www.irefsummit.co.uk or contact info@icg-events.com.

Islamic Bank of Britain appoints Head of IT & Change

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) has announced the promotion of Matthew Glover to the newly created positon of Head of IT & Change. Mr Glover's remit is to manage the Bank's transformation programme as it enters a period of expansion. His is the third senior appointment this year, including Keith Leach as Chief Commercial Office and the confirmation of Sultan Choudhury as Chief Executive Officer. All three appointments have followed the Bank's acquisition, in early 2014, by Masraf Al Rayan (QSC). Since then, IBB's new parent has invested £100milion of capital to support the Bank's ambitious growth targets. IBB also recently announced that subject to formal shareholder approval, it will be changing its name from Islamic Bank of Britain to Al Rayan Bank, in December 2015.

GFH Capital sells $25m property in top London postcode

GFH Capital has signed an agreement to sell a $25 million prime property in one of London's most prestigious postcodes. The investment firm said it has sold the Queen’s Gate Gardens property that it had acquired last year. The property is a Grade II listed building located in the prime Kensington area of London overlooking the gardens. According to the terms of the agreement, the buyer has paid an initial deposit with a target to complete the transaction in six weeks, subject to receiving relevant approvals. GFH Capital said investors in the deal can expect to make a return that can reach 21 percent return per annum. The deal is expected to positively reflect in the Q4 financial results of GFH.

Britain's Islamic finance market widens with govt, private moves

The scope of Britain's Islamic finance market is widening with several initiatives from the government and private sector, although the country is about to lose European Islamic Investment Bank, one of its six full-fledged Islamic banks. Last week a government official said the central bank would look into developing a liquidity management tool for use by Islamic banks, while Britain's export credit agency expects to guarantee sukuk for the first time next year, an issue by a customer of European plane maker Airbus. Taken together, the new official initiatives seem likely to create a more benign environment for Islamic finance, allowing banks to operate more flexibly and efficiently, and therefore more cheaply.

Mohammed Amin: Winning the global race – the role of Islamic finance

Mohammed Amin is Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. He says that one particularly successful UK micro-policy is the country’s approach to Islamic finance. Gordon Brown and Ed Balls deserve credit for promoting Islamic finance and changes to UK tax law to facilitate it. Sadly, their efforts eventually ran out of steam in 2008, due to the combined effects of the global financial crisis and excessively frequent changes in the ministerial responsibility for the subject. Promoting Islamic finance as the government has done is clearly in the best interests of the economy and therefore of all British citizens and taxpayers. However, it is also good politics, since it should increase the Conservative party’s appeal to Muslim voters.

Islamic Bank of Britain changes name to Al Rayan Bank

Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) plans to change its name to Al Rayan Bank PLC, subject to formal shareholder approval. The change will be completed in December 2014. The rebrand follows IBB's acquisition, earlier in the year, by Qatar-based Masraf Al Rayan (MAR). Rebranding activity will involve the introduction of a new Al Rayan Bank logo and brand identity. It will continue to operate as a UK regulated bank, and customers' deposits will remain protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. With an increased focus on corporate and real estate finance, Al Rayan Bank will develop its presence in London. Its retail banking and operational head quarters will remain in Birmingham.

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