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Al Baraka Banking Group's Turkey subsidiary strengthened

Al Baraka's Turkish subsidiary, Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank, has concluded a syndicated Sharia compliant Murabaha financing, raising a total of $196m and EUR 175.5m. A total of 23 banks from 15 countries participated in the facility, managed by the lead arrangers Standard Chartered Bank, Noor Islamic Bank (Dubai), ABC Islamic Bank (Bahrain), Barwa Bank (Qatar) and Emirates NBD Capital (Dubai). Meanwhile, the Bahrain All-Share Index slipped 0.20% to 1,194.88 points on Sunday. Al Baraka Banking Group closed even at $0.725.

Al Salam Bank snatches stake in Saudi education company

Al Salam Bank-Bahrain has acquired an equity stake in the Education Experts Company for Education & Training, one of the fastest growing education companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Abdullah bin Mansour Al Qahtani, Chairman of the Education Experts Company expressed pleasure in partnering with the Bank. Meanwhile, the Bahrain All-Share Index declined by 0.11% to 1,183.59 points on Wednesday, and Al Salam Bank-Bahrain lost 2.15% to BD0.091.

Oman's Alizz Bank preparing for Q4 launch

Oman's Alizz Islamic bank has announced the completion of its comprehensive training plan, as part of preparations for to launch operations in the fourth quarter of the year. The training programme introduced branch, call centre and operational staff to the Shari'ah-compliant lender's full range of Islamic products and services and its corporate values.

Al Hilal to issue $500m Islamic bond

Abu Dhabi-based Islamic lender Al Hilal Bank plans to launch a $500m sukuk by the end of the year. The bond is expected to be used for general business purposes such as liquidity management and to form the first tranche of a $2.5bn bond programme.

Ithmaar Bank says chief executive to retire

Bahrain's Ithmaar Bank has announced its chief executive Mohammed Bucheerei is to retire at the end of August and be replaced by Ahmed Abdul Rahim, currently general manager, as acting head. Bucheerei led the bank's transition from an Islamic investment bank to a retail Islamic lender offering a range of Shari'ah-compliant products.

Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt posts 68% jump in H1 profits

Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt has announced its net profit for the quarter ending June 30, 2013, jumped around 68% to EGP413.2m. The Shari'ah-compliant lender reported net profits of EGP281m for the corresponding period a year earlier.

Al Baraka Bank Egypt recognized by Other Ways Management Association Club

Al Baraka Bank Egypt, a subsidiary banking unit of Al Baraka Banking Group, announced the winning of the 'The Majestic Five Continents Award for Quality and Excellence' granted by the European Foundation 'Other Ways Management Association Club'. The Award will be delivered in a grand ceremony to be held in Geneva on 18 November 2013, and will be attended by official delegations and businessmen from 40 countries around the world. Al Baraka Bank Egypt won the prize as a result of aspects like high quality of customer service, creativity, teamwork, diversity of products of development and corporate finance, lease and assets finance, retail and treasury products, and foreign operations. Mr. Ashraf El Ghamrawy, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Al Baraka Bank Egypt, emphasized the bank's pioneering role in development finance and social responsibility through the Bank's Zakat fund, and the consolidation of partnership relations with all government and private agencies, among others.

SABB to sell Islamic bond to boost capital

Saudi British Bank (SABB), an affiliate of HSBC Holdings and the kingdom's third-largest listed lender by market value, is reportedly aiming to sell a Tier 2 capital-boosting Islamic bond before the end of the year. HSBC is advising SABB on the potential riyal-denominated transaction.

Capital Intelligence assigns Ratings to Gulf Finance House B.S.C.

Capital Intelligence (CI) has assigned Gulf Finance House (GFH) Long and Short-Term Ratings of 'BB-' and 'B', respectively. The ratings are supported by a significant reduction in leverage as a result of debt repayment and increases in equity, the successful restructuring of debt with an extended repayment period, and the return to profitability in 2012. The factors currently constraining the ratings are the forced debt restructuring in 2012, tight liquidity (although this improved in H1 2013), an encumbered asset base, a small balance sheet coupled with single name and sector concentrations in the asset base, reliance on deal flow for income generation, and the still challenging investment environment.In view of the improvement in both liquidity and leverage in H1 2013, a 'Positive' Outlook is assigned to the ratings.

Million and 800 thousand users downloaded Quran application launched by KFH

The number of the I phone Quran application users that was launched by Kuwait Finance House (KFH) 3 years ago has reached a million and 800 thousand, around 1800 daily users. The third version of I phone Quran application has high resolution, in addition to having the numerous features like night Reading and different color schemes. Moreover, the number of Android users of the Quran application has increased to reach 50 thousand, about 60 users a day. The Android app has been recently launched with many distinguished features, and users can download the application for free by typing 'KFH' during the search. KFH is keen to upgrade its applications and its programs on the internet. KFH is also eager to use advanced technology to serve the public, since this is part of its social responsibility.

KFH organizes meeting with installment finance suppliers

Kuwait Finance House (KFH), represented by the Personal Finance Department, has organized a meeting with suppliers of installments finance. The meeting discussed the current market conditions and how to find means to improve it in a beneficial way to all parties on the one hand, and catering to clients' needs on the other. Personal Finance Executive Manager at KFH Talal Al-Hnaidi said, on the sideline of the meeting, that the bank is keen on organizing continuous forums and meetings with large companies and institutions. Moreover, Al-Hnaidi mentioned that KFH supports merchants and communicates with them to discuss the market conditions and to share ideas, thoughts and information that can serve the progress business and can contribute in strengthening the economy and obtaining growth.

Arcapita completes sale of 3PD, generating positive returns for investors

Arcapita Bank announced the sale of 3PD Holding, Inc. (3PD), a last-mile logistics company in the United States and Canada, for $365m. 3PD was acquired by XPO Logistics Inc., a transportation logistics companies serving North America. Arcapita acquired a majority stake in 3PD in 2006 and afterwards provided investment capital to 3PD. Its portfolio managers worked closely with the founders and management of 3PD to develop and deliver a strategy that propelled the business to a market leadership position despite a weak economy. Profitability has since grown by over 70%. The sale of 3PD to XPO is considered to be strategically the right step in the business' development.

GCC insurance industry to hit $40bn by 2017

The GCC insurance industry is slated to grow to approximately $28bn by the end of 2015 and tip $40bn by 2017. Opportunities for both local and international insurers are huge, according to Markaz (Kuwait Financial Centre) in their latest GCC Insurance report, which looks at the trends in Insurance Premium volumes across the GCC. This includes the takaful (Islamic Insurance), life, non-life, health, and reinsurance domains and compares the macro insurance factors such as insurance density, insurance penetration, and so on, of the GCC states with that of world. The drivers for the insurance industry in the GCC include the rising income levels, high amount of expatriate population, the increasing awareness among the population about the benefits of insurance, the government's policies mandating insurance in some sectors. The region also has a favorable demographic trend with youth population projected to grow and the middle class set to rise in the next few years.

Jordan Islamic Bank leader in solar electricity generation

Jordan Islamic Bank began some time ago to develop a plan to provide alternative energy in its branches through the use of electric power generation using solar cells. The Bank seeks to disseminate to all branches and offices which achieves savings and a reduction in the electricity bill incurred by the bank, and contributes to the alleviation of high electrical loads in the Kingdom, thus contributing to the national economy and environmental protection. The Jordan Islamic Bank is one of the main Islamic banks in Jordan and the Arab states, where it has a proven track record of excellence successes. The Bank has a branch network of 80 branches and offices, employing about 2,000 employees, which embodies the vital role played by the Bank in the Jordanian economy.

Sohar Islamic rolls out Shari'ah-compliant home finance scheme

Bank Sohar's Islamic banking arm, Sohar Islamic, has launched a Shari'ah-compliant home finance programme, as part of its plan to expand the products and services portfolio. The new product features flexible terms, which offer financing for up to 80% of the property value, with a repayment period of up to 25 years.

Emirates Islamic Bank supports key social activities during Ramadan

Emirates Islamic Bank has tied up with a number of organisations to promote activities and charity campaigns to mark the spirit of Ramadan. The bank is the main sponsor for the Zakat Fund Ramadan Campaign, which aims to emphasise the importance of Zakat during Ramadan. In another major initiative, Emirates Islamic Bank is the Gold Sponsor for the Dubai International Holy Quran Award which aims to encourage young Muslims to memorise and understand the Holy Quran. The bank is also the main sponsor for the Al Ajer Initiative, to encourage people to understand the importance of forgiveness. Moreover, Emirates Islamic Bank is also supporting the Ramadan activities of Emirates Foundation for Youth Development that facilitates public-private funded initiatives. Emirates Islamic Bank has also teamed up with Dar Al Ber Society to provide vouchers worth Dhs500 to 100 underprivileged families during Ramadan.

ICIEC and The Bangladesh Bank sign MOU

The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) and the Bangladesh Bank (The Central Bank of Bangladesh) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The objective of the MOU is to establish a basis for the exchange of information between the two institutions on banking industry's condition and operating performance and ICIEC exposures on the banks operating in Bangladesh. It is expected that the MOU will help pave the way forward for ICIEC in meeting its objectives under the IDB Group Member Country Participation Strategy (MCPS) for Bangladesh, through enhance letter of credit coverage and support in terms of political risk insurance coverage of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The signing of the MoU should enhance ICIEC's ability to support exporting companies operating in Bangladesh, and also will help to attract more FDI.

Shariyah Review Bureau assigned as Shari'a advisor by Wataniya Insurance

Saudi firm Wataniya Insurance Company announced the commissioning of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) as their Sharia advisor. Shariyah Review Bureau will oversee and supervise the company's Shari'a Compliance needs from Product structuring to Certification, and from Investments to periodical Shari'a reviews. According to Mr. Yasser Dahlawi, CEO at Shariyah Review Bureau, outsourcing Shari'a Supervisory functions is changing the landscape of the whole Islamic financial industry. It has been accelerated with greater demand from Institutional clients seeking cost-effective measures and a dynamic environment in having there queries and products quickly reviewed and verified, he added. Shariyah Review Bureau is currently serving 22% of the listed Cooperative Insurance companies in Saudi Arabia.

Sharjah Islamic Bank's ratings affirmed with 'stable' outlooks

Capital Intelligence (CI) has maintained Sharjah Islamic Bank's (SIB) Financial Strength Rating (FSR) at 'BBB+', with SIB's exceptionally sound capital adequacy ratio (CAR) and good liquidity being major supporting factors. Rising non-performing Islamic financing facilities (NPIFFs), a low coverage ratio and high customer concentrations are major constraining factors. While profitability had been under some strain in the recent past, the Bank's good Q1 2013 operating performance is a favourable development. A 'Stable' Outlook is appended to the FSR on the expectation that some of the impaired IFFs will move off the non-performing list later this year, and that the coverage ratio will improve. However, if ratios remain unchanged or worsen, the FSR could be further adjusted downwards at the next review. The Foreign Currency Ratings are affirmed at 'A-' Long-Term and 'A2' Short-Term with a 'Stable' Outlook.

ADIB stages historical exhibition for Ramadan

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) opens its annual Ramadan exhibition this year at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The Road from Jerusalem to Mecca and Medina follows last year's exhibition Discovering Ka'aba withtwo more replicas of central landmarks in Islamic history. The exhibition portrays a historical journey through three holy sites of historical and religious significance. The Road from Jerusalem to Mecca and Medina includes a replica of the Ka'aba which illustrates both the Ka'aba's outer façade and its inner structure. Rare photographs of the Ka'aba that depict its various architectural and design elements will also be on display. In addition, the exhibition showcases the Al-Nabawi Mosque and a model of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The exhibition is open to the public every day from 08:30am to 12:00 midnight throughout the whole month of Ramadan.

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