Moody's affirms Masraf Al Rayan's issuer ratings: outlook now positive from stable

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed Masraf Al Rayan's (MAR) A2/Prime-1 issuer ratings and baa3 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA. At the same time, Moody's changed the outlook on the bank's long term issuer ratings to positive from stable. The change in the outlook to positive from stable reflects the ongoing improvements in MAR's business and geographic diversification, including the growth and transition to profitability of its recently acquired subsidiary Al Rayan Bank PLC based in UK. Further underpinning Moody's view on the outlook is Qatar's considerable economic strength, with robust growth prospects driven by the significant wealth and resources of the country, despite lower oil prices.

Barwa Bank official promoted to CCO

Barwa Bank has promoted Talal Ahmad Al Khaja (pictured) to Chief Communications officer. Al Khaja will oversee marketing and communications and public and shareholder relations. Prior to joining the bank in 2009, he worked across private sector institutions and organisations. Holding a Master’s in business management, a bachelor’s degree from Qatar University, and professional certifications, he has amassed over nine years’ experience in administration, marketing, public relations and corporate governance. During his tenure at the bank, he has contributed to acquisitions of the group’s affiliate companies and subscription management in capital financing in 2011. His efforts led to the establishment of the group’s Investor and Shareholder Relations Department.

Interview: Adbulbasit Ahmad Al-Shaibei CEO and director at Qatar International Islamic Bank

Fresh off the back of a strong first-half performance to the year, Qatar International Islamic Bank’s Chief Executive Officer and director Abdulbasit Ahmad Al-Shaibei is basking in a bumper era of growth. The bank has seen its profits grow by around 4-17 per cent every year since 2010 and, if the first six months of this year are any indication, 2015 should maintain the positive run. QIIB announced a net profit of 438 million riyals ($120.3 million) for the first half of the year, a 9 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2014. Al-Shaibei is seeing opportunity for further growth in some unconventional places.

Moody's affirms Masraf Al Rayan's issuer ratings: changed outlook to positive from stable

Moody's Investors Service has affirmed Masraf Al Rayan's (MAR) A2/Prime-1 issuer ratings and baa3 baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adjusted BCA. At the same time, Moody's changed the outlook on the bank's long term issuer ratings to positive from stable. Moody's affirmation reflects MAR's continued strong core financial fundamentals with (1) consistently strong asset quality performance, (2) strong and stable profitability and (3) solid capital buffers. The change in the outlook to positive from stable reflects the ongoing improvements in MAR's business and geographic diversification. Further underpinning Moody's view on the outlook is Qatar's considerable economic strength.

Barwa Bank total assets up by 16% for the first half of 2015 Financing assets grow by 10%

Barwa Bank's net profit for the half-year stood at QAR 412 million, while earnings per share rose to QAR 1.39in the first half of 2015, compared with QAR 1.38over the corresponding period in 2014. Underlined by growth across its financing assets and investment securities, the bank's total assets soared by 16% to QAR 41.3 billion for the first half of the year; financing assets alone registered an increase of 10% to exceed QAR 24.4 billion. Owing to Barwa Bank's focus on product and service development and integration across business segments, as well as to a heavy push on tech-driven innovation, customer deposits for the first half of 2015, increased by 4% to stand at QAR 23.2 billion.

Beema customers can now renew, buy insurance over phone

Damaan Islamic Insurance Company (Beema) has announced the launch of the first of its kind service in Qatar, which enables its customers to renew or buy their motor insurance over the phone. As one of Qatar’s fastest growing Islamic insurance companies, Beema is taking its customer service to a whole new dimension at no extra cost, said Nasser Al Misnad, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Beema.

Qatar's largest sharia-compliant bank sees 27% surge in Q2 profits

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) beat the average forecast of analysts as it reported a 27 percent jump in second-quarter net profit on Tuesday. The Islamic lender made a net profit of 494.7 million riyals ($131.9 million) during the period, compared with 389.8 million riyals in the same period a year ago. The lender did not provide a detailed breakdown of its earnings. Qatar Islamic Bank posted net profit of 895.1 million riyals in the first half of the year, higher than 725.2 million riyals it reported a year-ago, according to its statement to the bourse.

Qatar's Barwa takes $175m refinancing loan

Qatari firm Barwa Real Estate Company, has raised $175m through an Islamic loan from International Bank of Qatar to refinance its existing debt. The sharia-compliant loan will last for seven years from the date that the company draws down on the facility. In an effort to refinance its current debt obligations, Barwa Real Estate intends to increase the lifespan of the maturities on the best available terms, as part of its five-year business plan running between 2016 and 2020. As Qatar’s largest listed developer, Barwa Real Estate reported more than doubling its fourth quarter net profit in March this year, as well as an improved dividend payout for the full year. Barwa Real estate is listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange.

Some govt-funded investment firms to be privatised

Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also Chairman of Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, has issued directives to privatise some government and semi-government-funded investment companies. A council meeting, chaired by the Emir, examined results of a study on investment firms partially funded by government and semi-government bodies. Deputy Emir H H Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Thani, also Vice-Chairman of the council, attended the meeting along with Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, who is Executive Member of the council, and other members.

Moody's upgrades Qatar Islamic Insurance Company to Baa1 IFS rating; stable outlook

Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded to Baa1 from Baa2 the insurance financial strength rating (IFSR) of the Qatar Islamic Insurance Company ("QIIC"). The rating carries a stable outlook. The rating upgrade for QIIC reflects (i) the company's improved and extremely strong capitalisation in relation to insurance risk; and (ii) its sustained strong profitability both in terms of underwriting profit and of bottom line. Nonetheless, Moody's added that QIIC maintains a significant level of investment risk, as QIIC invests predominantly in Qatari equity and property markets, translating to a high risk assets ratio. Furthermore, QIIC's insurance risk remains relatively concentrated to Qatar. The outlook is stable reflecting the expectation that the improvements in QIIC's capitalization will be maintained.

Qatar's Barwa Bank gets shareholder nod for $2 bln sukuk programme

Shareholders of Qatar's Barwa Bank approved plans for a $2 billion senior unsecured sukuk programme that could be issued in various currencies, the lender said in a statement on Tuesday. The Islamic bank did not specify a timeframe or size for a potential debut deal. It also received approval to pay a cash dividend of 10 percent to shareholders, the statement said.

Qatar Islamic Bank to boost capital via bond sales

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) expects to issue a Tier 1 capital-boosting bond between this quarter and the third quarter, the bank’s chief financial officer Gourang Hemani said. The Doha-listed lender in February received shareholder approval to issue up to 5 billion Qatari riyals (Dh5.04bn) to increase its Tier 1 or core capital in line with Basel III banking standards. The bond will have a perpetual tenor. It is going to be a private placement, most likely within Qatar. QIB’s net profit rose 19 per cent to 400 million riyals in the first quarter of this year, compared to a year earlier. Total income grew 13 per cent in the first quarter to 950m riyals, compared with the year-earlier period.

Moody's upgrades Qatar International Islamic Bank issuer ratings and changes outlook to stable

Moody's Investors Service has today upgraded Qatar International Islamic Bank's (QIIB) long term and short term issuer rating to A2/Prime-1 from A3/Prime-2, and changed baseline credit assessment (BCA) and adj. BCA to baa3 from ba1. Moody's also changed the outlook on the bank's long term ratings to stable. At the same time, Moody's assigned a new Counterparty Risk Assessment of A1 to QIIB. Moody's rating action reflects QIIB's improved and consistently strong asset quality performance and its solid capitalisation, liquidity and funding profile. These strengths are moderated by high borrower and sector concentrations, risk management challenges stemming from rapid financing growth and margin pressures driving a modest decline in profitability.

Qatar Banks Borrow to Finance World Cup Building Boom

Qatari banks plan to borrow more than $6 billion to finance a construction boom ahead of the 2022 soccer World Cup as slumping oil prices constrain government deposits. Shareholders in Al Khaliji Commercial Bank approved a $2.5 billion bond program, and Qatar National Bank said it arranged a $3 billion loan. Qatar International Islamic Bank may issue sukuk. Government deposits at Qatar’s banks more than tripled in the five years ended February 2014 before declining 4 per cent the following year. Qatar is spending $182 billion, or 90 per cent of its 2013 gross domestic product, on roads, stadiums and other facilities by 2019 to play host to the World Cup.

Qatari banks, Southwest Securities plan Islamic finance venture in China

Two Qatari banks and Chinese brokerage Southwest Securities signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a company handling Islamic finance deals in China, Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said on Tuesday. The banks are Qatar National Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank. No further details of the venture were immediately available.

Int'l Islamic economic conf. opens in Doha

The 10th International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance (ICIEF), themed "Institutional Aspects of Economic, Monetary and Financial Reforms," opened at Qatar National Convention Center on Monday. The agenda topics include, inter alia; Shariah solutions for liquidity problems in Islamic banks, especially after Basel III; the need for a central Shariah board in each central bank: the pros and the cons; evaluating the role of fiqh academies for the development of the Islamic financial industry, and whether the industry is influenced by their decisions and research; and 'taqlid' and 'ijtihad' - challenges facing fatwa issuance in Islamic finance.

Takaful in Qatar: What’s ahead?

Fast-paced economic growth in Qatar is supporting the takaful sector along with a keenness from policy makers to support the insurance market. At the same time, most of the mainstream takaful and retakaful companies in the region are currently undervalued compared to other sectors of the economy. Year 2015 continues to hold high hopes for takaful in Qatar and promises increased market penetration. However, sector executives appear not to be optimistic, with the Qatar Financial Centre’ Mena Insurance Barometer reporting that only 21% of participants expect the takaful segment to outgrow total insurance premiums in the next twelve months in 2015 same as in 2014, but compared with 32% in 2013.

Qatar seeks regulatory norms for Islamic finance

Qatar has called for a global regulatory framework for the industry, saying it is needed to ensure the sector's stability. An important task of the authority would, naturally, be to collect data on credit risks of Islamic financial institutions so that those risks could be identified, said the Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB). There are certain high-risk areas in the Islamic banking and financial sector and they, for example, include real estate and consumer lending to certain categories of people, H E Abdullah bin Sauod Al Thani said. Efforts have indeed been made to diversify Islamic financial products, but they are not enough.

MOVES-Barwa Bank hires Karacaoglu as head of syndications

Qatar's Barwa Bank has hired Cenk Karacaoglu as head of syndications in the debt business, reporting to the bank's head of capital financing Arsalaan Ahmed. Before joining Barwa, Karacaoglu was briefly Al Rajhi Bank's head of trade finance, a post he held for around four months. Prior to that he was a vice president in the fixed income business of Turkey's Bank Asya for just over 11 years. Before he became a banker, Karacaoglu worked in Singapore Airline's finance department for five years. His hire is "part of the ongoing investment into the debt capital markets platform," a spokesperson for Barwa Bank said.

Qatar International Islamic Bank AGM approves Sukuk plans

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) held its Ordinary General Assembly Meetings on 15 March. Among the agenda items approved, approval was given to the Board recommendation to issue Additional Tier 1 Sukuk non-convertible into ordinary shares up to QAR 3.0 billion. The Board was delegated powers to decide the size of each issuance, terms and conditions, issuance currency after getting all necessary approvals from supervisory authorities. The meetings also approved the proposal to pay 40 per cent of the bank capital as cash dividends, equivalent to QAR 4.0 per share.

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