Gulf Daily News

Sukuk issuance 'must be faster'

The time necessary to issue an Islamic bond is a crucial issue for the sukuk Islamic bank market. According to Rushdi Siddiqui, Thomson Reuters global head of Islamic finance, the Malaysian sukuk market is developed in such a way that quick issuance is possible. The region needs to follow this example. Siddiqui compared the sukuk market with the state of the eurobank market in the 1960s and 1970s. Consequently, the sukuk market has to move in a forward direction and raise efficiency.

Wakala new alternative to Murabaha contracts

Islamic interbank lending is changing its sympathies from Murabaha contracts to Wakala. This is considered to be a stronger Sharia-compliant process. The International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) is working on the establishment of standardized agreements in the use of Wakala contracts. Since Murabaha have come under increasing criticism from Sharia scholars as compliant instruments, Wakala is pointed out as a suitable alternative.

AAOIFI is eyeing new reporting standards

The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) is eyeing revision of existing standards and the introduction of new ones. Thus, they hope to stay abreast of the challenging requirements of industry in financial reporting. This year they already issued a new standard for investment in real estate. It will take effect on January 1 and will ensure more detailed guidelines on the matter of accounting real estate investments.

Africa eyes Islamic finance

Over 200 leading figures in the international Islamic banking and finance industry took part in the inaugural Islamic Banking Summit Africa in Djibouti. They discussed various topics concerning capturing the Africa opportunity in Islamic finance. The two-day was held at the Djibouti Palace Kempinski and was officially supported by Central Bank of Djibouti. On the summit, it was pointed out that Africa was becoming an increasingly attractive destination for Sharia-compliant investments.

DIB registers $81 million profit

Recently, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced a flat third-quarter net profit. Even though there was a big jump in provisioning, the bank exceeded all forecasts of the analysts. During the three months until September 30, DIB made 298.5 million dirhams ($81.3m). Compared to that, the same period last year brought a profit of 298m dirhams. The 43% jump in provisions did not affect the steady quarterly profits. The bank's chairman, Mohammed Al Shaibani, pointed out that DIB's performance was notable for delivering strong results while meantime sticking to its conservative approach to provisioning.

Bondholders seeking key Dana Gas assets

Dana Gas could not manage to repay a $920 million sukuk on its maturity date. It is suggested that holders of the bond will stake claim to the extensive Egyptian assets of the company. According to an announcement by Dana Gas, they are in talks with bondholders aiming to amend and extend the terms of the sukuk.

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Ithmaar to convert Swiss unit into family office

According to a recent announcement by Ithmaar Bank, it will convert the banking licence of its wholly-owned subsidiary in Switzerland, Faisal Private Bank, to a family office. The decision to make such a conversion includes focusing on the further development of Ithmaar Bank's core business of retail and commercial banking. The conversion will be compatible with the interests of the clients and stakeholders. The format of Ithmaar Bank's presence in Switzerland is to be approved in due course by the Swiss financial services regulator.

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North Africa set to play major role

Notable growth in the takaful industry from Islamic countries in North Africa is expected due to the changes in the political environment there. Islamic governments in countries like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt will most probably make a huge contribution to the global takaful market. Needless to say, conventional insurance will be overruled. With $11.8 million, the African takaful industry already ranks third worldwide.

Gatehouse advises fund on London property deal

Together with a Malaysian Sovereign Wealth fund, London-based Gatehouse Bank has finished the £165 million acquisition of the offices of the law firm SJ Berwin. Gatehouse played the role of an investment and Sharia adviser for the deal. The investment of the Malaysian client is of major importance for its wider global investment strategy.

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Tunisia backing for Gulf Finance House project

The Tunis Financial Harbour (TFH) project by Gulf Finance House's (GFH) has received back-up from Tunisian Investment and International Co-operation Minister Riadh Bettaieb. The commitment is in the form of a high profile delegation from the Islamic investment bank GFH, including a meeting between acting chief executive Hisham Alrayes, TFH chief executive Lutfi Alzaar, and the minister. Minister Bettaieb assured that his government will do its best to support the project's development according to plan in co-operation with TFH. Mr Alrayes expressed his opinion, that the enefits to be expected from TFH are far beyond the ordinary for Tunisia as well as for GFH and their investors.

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Waqf Fund 'supporting industry'

The Waqf Fund, which purpose is to support Islamic finance training, education and research, has expanded its scope of activity and started supporting the industry in various ways during the last year. According to a statement by Khalid Hamad, fund chairman and Central Bank of Bahrain executive director of banking supervision, the fund is supporting Bahrain University in their Bachelor of Arts in Sharia for banking and finance as well as Shaikh Isa Library.

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Board member is appointed

According to an announcement by Al Baraka Islamic Bank, Abdul Rahman Abdullah Mohammed has joined the bank's board. This was made possible by Central Bank of Bahrain's approval. Abdul Rahman Abdullah Mohammed is an expert in banking business with over 36 years experience in numerous institutions including NBB banking group where he was general manager until recently.

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Tamkeen funding boon for 4,000 enterprises

Tamkeen's finance schemes with a funding of BD136 million favoured over 4,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The provided money made growth and expansion through various Sharia-compliant financing solutions possible. A variety of sectors has benefited from the funding, among which 32% wholesale and retail trade, about 21% construction sector, 13% professional services, and 8% accommodation and food services. The last six months demonstrate continuity and stability in the growth of the financial schemes.

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Takaful industry to be probed

A significant growth in the global takaful industry has bben observed over the last few years. According to the Ernst & Young World Takaful Report 2012, global takaful contributions show an increase of 19% to $8.3 billion in 2010. $5.68bn of these contributions belong to GCC. Nevertheless, it is a key challenge for takaful players in the Middle East to maintain the growth momentum while boosting profitability.

India summit spotlight on Islamic finance

Khaleeji Commercial Bank head of treasury and capital markets Hussam Saif was a key speaker at the Leaders Summit Conference held in India.

International Investment Bank's total income USD 1.8 mn, loss USD 900.000

Bahrain-based International Investment Bank's (IIB) total income reached USD 1.8 mn in Q1. This was mainly derived from investment banking fees generated from the structuring, underwriting and placement of new investments, together with profit earned on funds placed with financial institutions.

Total expenses reduced to USD 2.7 mn in the period, reflecting the lower business activity as compared to a year ago. A net loss was incurred of USD 900,000 compared to a net profit of USD 5.4 mn earned in the same period last year.

Annual General Meeting Shamil Bank

Shamil Bank has taken over Faisal Private Bank in Switzerland completely and is itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank. Shamil Bank also acquired a 34 % stake in takaful company Solidarity.

Shamil Bank reported USD 66.8 mn in total income, and a net profit of USD 22.8 mn last year during their Annual General Meeting.

Faisal Al Alwan is the CEO of Shamil Bank.

First Leasing Bank posts net profit of USD 3 mn

Bahrain-based First Leasing Bank (FLB) made a net profit of USD 3 mn in 2008 last year. The bank's income from financing activities grew to USD 8.4 mn from US 3.6 mn in 2007 and total portfolio grew to USD 142.5 mn from USD 54.5 mn at the end of 2007.

Khalid Kanoo is Chairman.
Greg Brinkerhoff is CEO.

ABC Islamic registers USD 26 mn net profit

Bahrain-based ABC Islamic Bank announced a net profit of $25.6 million for last year. Gross operating income was USD 33.8 mn which, excluding an exceptional USD 32.8 mn capital gain in 2007 arising from the partial disposal of a sukuk investment, represented a 34 % increase over the previous year. It posted a net profit of USD 50.9 mn in 2007.

Gulf Finance House (GFH) has approved a cash dividend of USD 52.56 mn

Gulf Finance House (GFH) has approved a cash dividend of USD 52.56 mn for last year. This is equivalent to 20 % of the par value of the paid-up capital. In addition a further 20 % will be paid in the form of bonus shares. This has been driven by strong end of year profits of USD 291mn.

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