Will Kuwait need Shari'ah board for Islamic banks?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently issued a survey under "Islamic Finance: Opportunities, Challenges, and Policy Options" depicting a host of challenges of the industry, as well as offering proposals to countries with Islamic banks. One major proposal of the study is to establish a Shari'ah Supervisory Board (SSB). Bahrain has recently announced founding a central Shari'ah body to supervise the products of Islamic Finance and set rules to boost governance in the sector. CEO of the Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Mazin Al-Nahedh welcomed the idea, saying such central supervisory body is likely to overcome the differences over financing products of Islamic banking, as it will set the rules to be adopted, Al-Nahedh told KUNA.

Kuwait’s Investment Dar loses appeal against lifting of legal protection

Kuwait’s Investment Dar said on Sunday that a Kuwaiti court had rejected the company’s appeal against a ruling to lift protection it had against legal action by creditors. The company, which holds a stake in luxury carmaker Aston Martin, will be reviewing available options with its advisers over the next few days and would announce the result of these conversations in the coming period, it said in a statement. Investment Dar was one of the first to reorganise under Kuwait’s Financial Stability Law. A court ruling in July last year ruled that legal protection from creditors would be lifted, although it was temporarily reinstated in October to allow Investment Dar to appeal. However, a hearing by the Kuwaiti Court of Cassation on June 17 rejected the appeal, the statement said. The court’s decision was final, Investment Dar added.

MOVES-Kuwait's The Securities House CEO to depart, replaced by Gatehouse chairman

The chief executive of Kuwait's The Securities House, Ayman Boodai, said he was stepping down from his position at the sharia-compliant investment firm and would be replaced by Fahed Boodai, the current chairman of U.K.-based Islamic lender Gatehouse Bank. Legal steps to allow the change have begun, with a new board of directors needed to be elected before a new chief executive can be nominated. The Securities House is one of two big shareholders in Gatehouse Bank, with the other being Kuwait Investment Authority, the country's sovereign wealth fund. Separately, Ayman Boodai said Gatehouse Bank plans to open a number of branches or representative offices in Gulf countries without offering details.

Kuwait International Bank launches $100 mln debut Islamic loan

Kuwait International Bank has invited banks to participate in a $100 million debut Islamic loan to fund its general funding activities and the marketing of the deal should close by early August, it said in a statement. The bank will raise funds with a three-year lifespan and will pay a margin of 120 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor). The lender will use a murabaha-structured facility, which is a cost-plus-profit arrangement, one of the most popular formats for structuring Islamic loans. Arab Banking Corporation and ABC Islamic Bank are the mandated lead arrangers for the transaction.

Kuwait Finance House may sell properties, cut small number of jobs

Kuwait Finance House may auction some of its properties or offer them to be run by other operators, depending on market conditions, its chief executive Mazin Saad al-Nahedh without giving details. He also said KFH planned to cut tens of jobs as part of its restructuring plan, which would eliminate some positions. Some people would be moved to other subsidiaries. KFH said in early May that it was considering a possible sale of its Malaysian unit. That is the only unit earmarked for possible sale because it is outside the Middle East, Nahedh said. The bank is restructuring activities ahead of a planned divestment by its largest shareholder, the Kuwait Investment Authority. A timetable for the divestment has not been announced.

Kuwait Finance House says may sell Malaysia unit

Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the Gulf nations' biggest Islamic lender, may sell some of its investments including KFH Malaysia and has picked Credit Suisse to advise it on the matter, KFH said on Wednesday. It did not provide any details such as a timeline or a potential sale price of the unit.

Warba Bank raises Qard Hasan amount to KD 5,000

Warba Bank has announced the re-launching Qard Hasan (“Free Profit loan”) in Kuwait after increasing its amount to KD 5,000 with flexible repayment period up to 18 months to all Kuwaiti Nationals as per the credit terms and conditions for individuals. Two years ago, Warba was the first bank in Kuwait to launch Qard Hasan initiative, not bearing any profits in line with the rules of Islamic Sharia. This initiative aims at supporting national customers working in the government sector, any of its associated institutions or the private sector. The customer will have the choice of either opening a Warba Bank salary account or investment saving account at no charges.

KFH donates KD 6 mln to Zakat House

Zakat House Director General Ibrahim Al-Saleh applauded Kuwait Finance House’s support to Zakat House to execute charitable projects that serve the community. Al-Saleh praised, during receiving a cheque with a value of KD 5,878,129 million from KFH’s Chief Executive Officer, Mazin Saad Al-Nahedh, KFH for collaborating with Zakat House which contributes to accomplish the goal of encouraging charity and the spread of meanings of brotherhood among various segments of the society. It’s worth noting that the donated value will be distributed to help the poor families in Kuwait, to support charity committees and societies working in the field of humanitarian aid and to execute pro bono projects as per the rules and regulations of Zakat House.

Bahrain's GFH says to review London, Kuwait listings

Bahrain's Gulf Finance House will study the continuation of its equity listings in London and Kuwait. The investment firm is listed in four places, a potentially costly arrangement: Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are often the market's most heavily traded, Bahrain, Kuwait, and London in the form of global depository receipts. Moreover, shareholders approved reducing the firm's capital to $598 million from $1.49 billion to eliminate accumulated losses, and the company will change its name to GFH Financial Group. GFH did not give details of what its review would involve or say when it might be completed.

Kuwait's Aayan seeks rescheduling of $586.7 mln debt

Kuwait investment firm Aayan Leasing and Investment has asked creditors to reschedule its remaining debts worth 176 million dinars ($587 million), chairman Fahd Ali al-Ghanim said. As part of the restructuring plan, Aayan planned to liquidate some of its portfolio of listed Kuwaiti companies, Ghanim said. However, many of the shares are still trading below the value at which they were bought, Ghanim said, adding this helped to explain why Aayan was seeking a further debt rescheduling. Despite rebounding slightly in 2013 and 2014, Kuwait's stock market is still trading 60 percent lower than its June 2008 peak.

Warba Bank Successfully Arranges a US$150 Million Syndicated Murabaha Facility for a Year for the International Bank of Azerbaijan & Participates by US$15 Million in a Finance for Ozun Group of Turkey

Kuwait's Warba Bank has successfully arranged a US$150 million, Sharia-complaint syndicated finance facility for the International Bank of Azerbaijan ("IBA"). The facility has a tenor of one year with a bullet repayment due at maturity. Warba Bank has participated in this transaction with a stake of US$20 million in a consortium of six regional and international banks: J.P Morgan Bank, Citigroup, Barwa Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Noor Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank. In addition, Warba Bank has also announced its contribution of US$15 million in an Islamic Sharia-complaint facility amounting US$80 million arranged by HSBC for the Turkish Ozun Group. Moreover, the Bank sold its real estate investment in West Bromwich in the United Kingdom achieving net profit of KD 640 K.

Kuwait's CBK cuts stake in Boubyan Bank to 17.7%

Commercial Bank of Kuwait has cut its stake in Boubyan Bank down by 2,2 %.
The data showed that the stake dropped to 17.7 %.
Trade in Boubyan shares has lately been extremely heavy, with more than 94 million shares, changing hands and the stock price was up 1.25 % at 0.405 dinar. The identity of the buyer of CBK's holding in Boubyan was not clear.

Kuwait Finance House: Successful conclusion of USD 350 Mln Syndicated Dual Currency Dual Tranche Murabaha Facility

The deal for Kuwait Turkish Participation Bank (KTPB) was arranged and syndicated in record time and twice oversubscribed. 12 regional and global banks participated. This affirmed the KFH Group the Turkish Economy a strong global position.

Defaulting on Sukuk – penalties and restructuring

Under sharia compliance principals penalizing is different to that in conventional finance. Also the Islamic financial market is quite young and many cases have no precedent. Malasian sukuks have though developed a framework for banks to handle default in a similar manner as conventional bonds.

Kuwait's Investment Dar eyes second debt-for-assets deal by March

Investment Dar, the Kuwaiti firm best-known for its stake in luxury carmaker Aston Martin, hopes to complete a second debt-for-assets deal with creditors by the end of March. The firm has received the backing of a significant majority of investors for the proposal, which would see creditors voluntarily exchanging debt for ownership of a portfolio of assets. No details or terms for the so-called settlement-in-kind proposal have been released, although the Nov. 18 update said there would be no losses imposed on creditors under the plan and no change to the existing maturity of the debt.

Kuwait's Investment Dar legal battle over Boubyan Bank stake continues

Kuwaiti firm Investment Dar is making a renewed legal push to secure ownership of a major asset at the centre of its long-running restructuring process. The case is a rare test of Kuwait's Financial Stability Law, introduced in 2009 to assist debt renegotiations. The firm has been embroiled in litigation over a stake in Kuwait's Boubyan Bank, which it sold to Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) in 2008, with the right to buy it back. CBK currently holds a 19.9 percent stake in Boubyan. Investment Dar hopes to sell the stake to repay creditors. For its part, CBK said last week it cancelled a proposed 120 million dinar capital-boosting bond due to "legislative and technical issues".

Kuwait Finance House’s September net profit falls 10 per cent

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) said its net profit fell 10.2 per cent in the third quarter to September. It fell to 35.5 million Kuwaiti dinars in the third quarter compared to 39.2 million in the same quarter last year. Total assets jumped to 17.1 billion dinars in the third quarter as against 14.7 billion dinars in the same period last year. The company’s financing income, which contributed to 76 per cent of its revenues, jumped the most by 35 per cent to 185 million dinars. However, investment income fell by 66 per cent to 24 million dinars. Total deposits reached 10.9 billion Kuwaiti dinars, up 7.5 per cent compared to December 2013. Chairman Hamad Al-Marzouq said that the achieved results come amid major changes taking place in the bank.

Telal Al-Baraka Holding Group appoints Saudi Kuwait Finance House for new projects development

The Holding Group has signed a strategic agreement with the Saudi Kuwaiti Finance House. The bank will act as a financial advisor for the group to arrange Islamic funding, in addition to executing residential, administrative, industrial, and commercial projects in Mekka, Medina, and Jeddah. The selection of the bank was based on financial and technical criteria. The group also operates hospitals, airports, and other private and public facilities.

KFH appoints Al-Nahedh as new CEO

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has announced that the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mazin Saad Al-Nahedh will officially commence his duties as of October 1st 2014 after having obtained the required regulatory approvals. Mazin Al-Nahedh has over 21 years of diversified banking experience and is a graduate of Business Administration (Finance) from the University of California USA. Before holding his position at KFH, Al-Nahedh served as Group General Manager - Treasury, General Manager - Corporate Banking Group, and Retail Banking General Manager at the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). The appointment is in line with KFH's Board of Directors' directives and strategies towards improving business models, while paving the way for a younger generation of Kuwaiti professionals to hold leading positions at KFH.

KFH offers Gold Account at 7 branches

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced that the debut Gold Account it had launched last year, has become available for clients at 7 branches as of today. The branches are; Al-Fiahaa, Al-Shaab, Al-Salmyia, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Alfahaheel, Alqaser, and the headquarter branch. The expansion of the product aims at facilitating the efforts of clients and expanding the service. The gold biscuits each weigh 100 grams and has a purity value of 999.9, the purest form of gold. Each gold biscuit is issued and certified by KFH and the Ministry of Commerce.

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