Kuwait's Boubyan Bank says gets regulatory nod for capital-boosting sukuk

Kuwait's Boubyan Bank has received regulatory approval to issue a capital-boosting sukuk worth $250 million, the bank said in a bourse filing on Wednesday. The lender received approval from the Kuwaiti central bank to issue Basel III compliant Islamic bond that will enhance its Tier 1, or core, capital, it said. The bank will take a final decision on the sukuk and its timing after receiving all other approvals, the bank added.

KFH major contributor in Bahrain projects – Strategy targets development, coordination among Group banks: Al-Nafisi

Vice Chairman at Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Abdulaziz Yaqoub Al-Nafisi stressed the importance of international investment and creating further integration in KFH-Group banks in the framework of the coordination that targets boosting development according to a unified vision that prioritizes development and recognizes the value of public-private partnerships and international investment, yet contributes in diversifying non-oil sectors to boost the economy. On the sideline of his participation in the inauguration ceremony of Marassi Al Bahrain project, Al-Nafisi praised the project that was a joint effort between the real estate investment and development company, Eagle Hills, in partnership with Diyar Al Muharraq. He went on to say that the project will provide steady flow of income for investors and will comprise a major destination for tourists in Bahrain.

Warba Bank acquires equipment leasing portfolio in United States

Kuwait's Warba Bank has announced the acquisition of equipment leasing portfolio managed by ATEL Capital Group, an independent equipment lessor based in the United States of America. As part of the transaction, the Bank has initially invested US$8.2 million in a diversified portfolio of Operating leases comprising of high-quality low-tech low-obsolescence mission-critical equipment leased to investment grade corporations in United States. Established in San Francisco, California, in 1977, ATEL has originated and managed over $2 billion of equipment leased to primarily investment grade US corporations. Over the last three decades, ATEL has built a reputation as one of the largest independent equipment leasing enterprises in the United States.

Bahrain's Al Baraka Islamic eyes Kuwait sukuk

Al Baraka Islamic Bank-Bahrain is interested in purchasing Islamic bonds expected to be issued by the Kuwaiti government before the end of the year, CEO Mohamed Isa Al Mutaweh said. Kuwait's finance ministry said in September that it intends to issue bonds and sukuk before the end of 2015 to finance its public deficit, which is estimated to reach KWD 8 billion (USD 26.3 billion). The CEO said the bank, owned by Al Baraka Group, hopes to achieve growth in assets in line with the expected growth of the global Islamic banking at an annual average of 15-20%. Real estate financing accounts for around 40% of Al Baraka Islamic's portfolio in Bahrain and Al Mutaweh said the housing sector was expected to see strong activity due to rising demand.

Islamic Develop Bank calls for new Islamic microfinance structures

As the Shariah-compliant Islamic finance sector booms in the GCC region, the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, asked experts in the field to develop new Islamic microfinance structures. Ali says the industry needs to leverage existing technologies and business approaches, such as mobile banking, to start developing microfinance initiatives that would support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Ali said those actions would help local economies and cement the Islamic finance industry’s place as a leader in the global economy.
Ali’s remarks came at a conference in Kuwait entitled "Islamic Finance: Meeting Global Aspirations." There, Ali told the assembled financial professionals that Islamic microfinance would facilitate the inclusion of more people from various income brackets into the financial industry and provide greater access to financing, grow small local businesses and contribute to financial stability.

There is, however, some risk with lending money to inexperienced business owners. That means that on top of providing Islamic microfinancing, the banking industry needs to help educate and guide SMEs.

Kuveyt Turk says mandates banks for sukuk

Turkish Islamic bank Kuveyt Turk has mandated six institutions for a sukuk with a value of up to $400 million with a maturity of 10 years, it said in a statement to the Istanbul stock exchange late on Thursday.
Kuveyt Turk Participation Bank, which is 62 percent owned by Kuwait Finance House, said it had mandated KFH Capital, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC, Noor Bank, QInvest and Emirates NBD as joint lead managers. Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in September that seven banks had been picked to arrange a potential deal.

IMF chief calls for reforms in Gulf amid low oil prices

On a trip through a Gulf squeezed by low oil prices, the head of the International Monetary Fund repeatedly called on countries to cut back on subsidies, lower government spending and consider levying taxes. But implementing Christine Lagarde's suggestions is easier said than done in the oil-rich countries, even as crude prices have dropped by over 50 percent since last year. Generations have grown used to cradle-to-grave social programs, comfortable government jobs and tax-free living. While Gulf leaders, including those in Kuwait, have begun warning harder times may be ahead, some citizens remain opposed to any cuts.
"Almost every week we hear about Kuwait giving grants left, right and center to other nations that are in need of money. It's as if the government doesn't realize that we, in Kuwait, are also in need," said Abdulaziz Al-Adwani, a Kuwaiti school teacher. "It's not logical to start imposing a tax on citizens when the government can afford to give grants to this country and that country."

Warba Bank Q3 net profit tops $4m

Kuwait’s Warba Bank achieved net profit of KD1.251 million ($4.12 million) in the third quarter (Q3) of the year compared to KD318,000 for the same period in 2014. The bank’s total assets grew by 34 per cent reaching KD682.760 million compared to KD507.140 million as on 30 September 2014.
The bank’s financing portfolio grew by 42 per cent reaching KD492.386 million by the end of the third quarter 2015 compared to KD346.747 million for the same period last year.

Emad Abdullah Al Thaqeb, chairman of Warba Bank, said: “Warba Bank’s strong performance continues to the third quarter with growth ascending trend reflecting the bank’s solid financial position, successful and flexible strategy that adapts to accelerating economic and legislative recent changes despite the ongoing political and security turbulences in the region.”



Kuwait hosts Islamic Financing Conference – In cooperation with International Monetary Fund

Kuwait will host the World Islamic Financing Conference, organized by Kuwait Central Bank (CBK) and the International Monetary Fund, with the participation of the IMF Center for Financing and Economy in the Middle East and Thomson Reuters as strategic partner for knowledge.
The conference will be held on November 11, 2015 under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. This announcement was made by CBK Governor Mohammad Al-Hashel and said the conference will see high ranking international attendance of decision makers headed by Christine Lagarde, Director General of IMF and senior IMF employers and experts around the world.
Several finance ministers, Central Bank Governors, their deputies and representatives in many countries are expected to attend the event. There will also be presence of International Economic Establishments that belong to the United Nations and Regional Organizations in addition to experts and academics.

Kuwait's Investment Dar revises $2.7bn debt restructuring plan

Indebted Kuwaiti financial firm Investment Dar is seeking court approval to help close a 813 million dinar ($2.7 billion) debt restructuring. The new plan, called Dasman, is designed to overcome minority creditor dissent to earlier proposals by asking Kuwait's Court of Appeal to impose the deal on all creditors. The plan involves transferring Investment Dar's assets, and the management of their disposal, directly to creditors. About 60 percent of creditors have voiced support for the new plan, said Investment Dar. Investment Dar continued to defend legal action from a minority of creditors not supportive of the plan and who were pursuing claims against the company independently.

"Global Finance" Names KFH "The Safest Islamic Financial Institution In Kuwait 2015", The Third in the GCC

"Global Finance" has named Kuwait finance House ( KFH ) the safest Islamic Financial institution in Kuwait, and the third in the GCC for the year 2015. The bank is ranked as one of the top two among all Kuwaiti banks, be it Islamic or conventional. Also, Global Finance announced the 50 safest banks in emerging markets 2015 where KFH was ranked in 28th place. Banks were selected through an evaluation of long-term foreign currency ratings, credit ratings, businesses, financial indicators and total assets. Global Finance study encompassed more than 500 largest banks in Asia, the GCC and MENA. KFH Chief Executive Officer Mazin Al-Nahedh said the ranking confirms KFH 's robust financial position, sound pursued procedures in addition to the professional and legislative commitment.

Warba Bank trains 50 new graduates

In 2015, the Bank trained and invested in 50 Kuwaiti young people where they received academic and practical training on part-time basis at all branches of the Bank. The graduates were exposed to various banking transactions and business. The Training Program focused on the core banking knowledge and skills of new graduate Kuwaiti people. Warba Bank has hired 25 of the trainees in full-time jobs and assigned them to work across various branches. Their appointment gives an added - value to the recruitment policy adopted by Warba in line with the instructions from the various regulatory authorities for enhancing the banking sector with Kuwaiti national qualified labour.

Bank ABC closes a US$320 million syndicated Murabaha financing facility for Kuwait International Bank K.S.C.

Kuwait International Bank K.S.C. has successfully closed a debut syndicated Murabaha financing facility. The Facility was signed on 24 August 2015. Bahrain-based Bank ABC and Bank ABC Islamic acted as the Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers and Coordinating Banks for the Facility. The Facility was initially launched for US$100 million, and following strong interest from the market KIB decided to utilise the significant oversubscription to increase the Facility size to US$320 million. The Facility carries a tenor of 3 years and will be used by KIB for general funding purposes.

Kuwait's Wethaq Takaful divests Egyptian unit for $4.3mn

Kuwait-based Wethaq Takaful Insurance Company intends to sell its stake in the Egyptian unit, Wethaq Takaful Egypt for KWD1.3 million (US$4.3 million). The board of the Kuwaiti insurer had given Wednesday the go-ahead to sell its stake in the Egyptian unit in favour of a buyer whose name was not mentioned in the company's statement to the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange. The Shareholders' structure in Wethaq Egypt includes: Wethaq Takaful Insurance Company of Kuwait (60%), Kuwait-based Adeem Investment and Wealth Management Company (39.9%), and Kuwaiti investor Najeeb Al-Humaidhi (0.1%).

Kuwait Finance House plans to sell stake in Nafais Holding

Kuwait Finance House plans to shed its stake in education investment company Nafais Holding. KFH is currently restructuring its activities, which could also include a sale of assets such as its Malaysian business. This is ahead of planned divestments by its largest shareholder, the Kuwait Investment Authority. The Islamic bank is the second-largest shareholder in Nafais with a 19.01 percent stake. Nafais, involved in education, healthcare, financing and investment, has a market capitalisation of around $206 million, which would value the bank's stake at close to $40 million. The Islamic bank only acquired the Nafais stake in March 2014 from Aref Group Company.

Kuwait preparing Islamic bond legislation to help finance budget-min

Kuwait is preparing legislation to facilitate issues of Islamic bonds by the government as it assesses options to finance a big budget deficit caused by low oil prices, Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh said. Early this month, Kuwait’s parliament approved a budget for the current fiscal year that envisages a deficit of 8.18 billion dinars ($27.0 billion) - nearly half total spending - because of oil’s plunge since mid-2014, which has slashed energy export revenues. The government is looking at ways to save money by limiting energy subsidies and other handouts, and this has worried a public used to a lavish cradle-to-grave welfare system.

Warba Bank launches “Mosawama" for local and international commodities

Warba Bank has recently introduced the new BCT service representing a trading platform for domestic and international commodities. This comes within the framework of the efforts of the Retail Banking Group in providing special services and products to customers in personal finance in accordance with the rules of Islamic Shari’ah and rules of retail finance services.

Warba Bank’s first half 2015 net profit rises record 633 per cent

Warba Bank reported a net profit growth of 633 per cent to reach KWD 315,000 for the first half of 2015 compared to KWD 43,000 for the first six months of 2014. Total income grew by 37 per cent to reach KWD 11.17 million. The strong operating performance was supported by all business units within the bank. As at June 30, 2015, Warba Bank’s total assets increased 30 per cent to reach KWD 645 million as a result of the bank’s aggressive geographical expansion strategy in local and regional markets, combined with investments in low-risk and high quality assets. The bank’s financing portfolio has also showed a growth of 50 per cent to reach KWD 457 million compared to the first half of 2014. This enabled the bank’s default finances ratio to reach 0.24 per cent.

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) believed to be seeking buyer for ITS

Kuwait-based International Turnkey Systems (ITS) appears to be for sale, with its parent, Kuwait Finance House (KFH), deciding it is no longer strategic. There have been number of discussions with main rival in the Islamic core banking systems sector, Path Solutions.

Ithmaar Bank committed to working closely with Bahrain and Kuwait authorities

In compliance with Central Bank of Bahrain's requirements, Ithmaar Bank publishes its financial results in line with international accountings standards issued by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). In May, Ithmaar Bank received notification from the Kuwait Stock Exchange requiring the Bank to publish its financial results in line with the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS). Ithmaar Bank responded with a letter explaining that publishing two sets of financial results using different international accounting standards will create confusion among investors. Ithmaar Bank wrote to the Kuwait Stock Exchange requesting a meeting to review possible alternatives but has not yet received a response.

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