AME Info

New bank to open in Gaza Strip

A new bank is set to be inaugurated in the Gaza Strip next week, although it has not yet received the necessary licence from the Ramallah-based Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA). The Al-Intaj bank has a capital of $20m and a board of directors chaired by Kuwaiti businessman and member of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy, Dr Riyadh Al-Khulaifi. The bank... will be headquartered in Gaza City and have branches in other parts of Gaza Strip in the coming years. 50% of its capital will be channelled to production-oriented activities, while 40% will be allocated to the traditional transactions. The remaining 10% will be set aside to the 'murabahat' (Shari'ah-compliant transactions), the lender's deputy board chairman Rushdi Wadi said.

Islamic Microfinance research study initiated in Yemen

AlHuda Center of Islamic banking and economics (CIBE) Initiated a Islamic Microfinance research study for Yemen Microfinance Network (YMN) in Yemen. This study will be conducted in Yemen's capital Sana'a including Taiz, Adan and Almoukla, so that the Islamic Microfinance products can be examined broadly and further Islamic Microfinance products can be developed with the compatibility of the existing structure. The share of Islamic Microfinance in Yemen's Microfinance sector is approximately 90% and the remaining 10% are also converting their portfolio into Islamic Microfinance. The increased outreach of the Microfinance sector is expected to help eradicate poverty.

Dubai Public Prosecution to adopt My Savings initiative

'My Savings' is a new initiative announced by the Government of Dubai in collaboration with National Bonds Corporation. During the introductory session on the goals and mechanism of the initiative, National Bonds elaborated on the benefits and advantages of the employee savings programme. The presentation was attended by senior officials,human resource directors and employees from Dubai Public Prosecution who confirmed their support for the initiative. Dubai Public Prosecution employees who opt to participate in the Shari'a compliant 'My Savings' programme will specify a fixed amount to be set aside from their salaries every month as part of their savings and Takaful plan with National Bonds Corporation. Moreover, the initiative also offers employees a 10% discount on Takaful family coverage programmes, as well access to free consultations pertaining to income management and financial planning.

Tamkeen, Family Bank launch 'Mantoojati' initiative

Tamkeen and Family Bank announced the launch of 'Mantoojati', a joint initiative aimed at enhancing the growth and sustainability of productive families in Bahrain. Through "Mantoojati", the beneficiaries will receive support to set up kiosks in selected shopping malls around the kingdom to market their products and services to a wider customer base. The support will be around BD6000 per applicant and will cover the cost of renting and setting up a booth. This will be complemented by the advisory services already provided to the beneficiaries by Tamkeen and Family Bank. According to Dr. Atef Elshabrawy, CEO of Family Bank, the programme seeks to encourage and motivate local and home-made goods and crafts, which the bank supports through funding and guidance.

Jordan Islamic Bank financial results

The Board of directors of Jordan Islamic Bank that is represented by Mr. Adnan Ahmad Yousif approved the financial statements of the 1st quarter of the current year. The Bank has achieved net profits after tax that amounted to $14.67m compared to $10.16m during the same period last year. Shareholders' equity at the end of the first quarter of the current year increased by 4.6% to reach about $336.95m. The Bank's assets with the managed accounts added to (restricted investment accounts and Muqarada bonds) amounted to about $4.67bn. Customers' deposits (including managed accounts) at the end of the 1st quarter of the current year reached approximately $4.200bn. Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif expressed his satisfaction over the results the Bank.

Mideast syndicated loans rebounding: Barclays

British lender Barclays has said Middle East syndicated lending is recovering from a three-year low, as companies seek to lock in cheaper funding costs to repay debt maturing this year and in 2014. Regional loans surged nearly 50% in the first quarter from a year earlier to $15.2bn, led by borrowings from the UAE, said the CEO for the Middle East and North Africa, John Vitalo. Market conditions were now conducive to borrowing, reducing loan margins leading to an overall reduced cost to the borrower, Vitalo added. There was also a hunt for yield by the international banks given their demand-starved markets and interest from regional companies to borrow, he said.

Dubai may issue sovereign bond in 2013

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, advisor to Dubai's ruler, has said the emirate may issue another sovereign bond in 2013. He also said the government is looking at alternate means to repay its debt if asset sales don't materialise. When asked if an alternative to asset sales was in place, he confirmed that they were considering it. However, he could not specify what, since it's confidential information because of the restructuring.

Mashreq Capital to launch Islamic equity fund

Mashreq Bank has said its investment unit plans to set up an Islamic equity fund of up to $100m in the third quarter of this year to invest in stocks across the Gulf region, given lower returns in the bond market. Mashreq Capital hopes to raise between $75m and $100m for the fund, and will seed it with a $20m investment from the bank.

NASDAQ Dubai welcomes the listing of Sharjah Islamic Bank Sukuk during a bell ringing ceremony at DFM

Mohammed Abdulla, Chief Executive of Sharjah Islamic Bank rang the opening bell at Dubai Financial Market (DFM) to celebrate the listing of a Sukuk issued by Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) on NASDAQ Dubai. The listing of SIB's 500 million dollar Sukuk provides further support for the campaign to promote the 'Dubai the Global Center of Sukuk' initiative launched in January 2013. SIB's listing brings the nominal value of Sukuk listed on Dubai exchanges to 12.125 billion dollars. SIB's Sukuk was more than 6 times oversubscribed with 53% of the Sukuk allocated to MENA based investors, 30% allocated to investors based in Asia and 17% to investors based in Europe.

Thomson Reuters releases a guidebook on Islamic insurance

Thomson Reuters released a comprehensive guide to Islamic insurance titled "Takaful Primer 2013". The guidebook is authored by Dr. Omar Fisher who had earned a PhD. in Takaful through a combined graduate program of the International Islamic University of Malaysia and Camden University of Delaware in 2005. It features an introduction to Takaful system and its unique features. Furthermore, it includes current industry trends, worldwide statistics, and a perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing the Takaful industry. The guidebook contains an extensive glossary of terms in Arabic and English, together with a comprehensive directory of Takaful Operators globally.

Barwa Bank holds its annual general assembly

Barwa Bank Group held its annual general meeting (AGM) on the 14th April at which the financial results for 2012 were approved and a new Board of Directors was elected. The Chairman, H.E. Sheikh Mohamad Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani, gave a detailed report on the bank's activities, and highlighted the group's strong growth in both balance sheet and profitability. The bank's net income for 2012 increased by 41% to QR345m, total assets increased by 32% to reach QR25.3bn. Following the AGM, Barwa Bank Group also held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to approve QR1bn in additional capital through a Rights Issue of 50 million shares at QR20 per share and an Initial Public Offering of 50 million shares at QR21 per share.

Al Salam Bank completes and sells milestone $86m joint venture

Al Salam Bank-Bahrain has successfully completed and sold a joint venture comprising seventy three villas worth an estimated gross development value of RM260.6 million ($86m), in one of Malaysia's Penang Island's largest seafront residential developments. The venture, Martinique Villas By-the-Sea, was named as the Best Villa Development in Malaysia at the South East Asia Property Awards 2011. Successful completion of this project was a result of a tripartite venture involving Al Salam Bank-Bahrain, Eastern & Oriental and CIMB-Mapletree Management Sdn, who entered into the agreement in 2006. The successful collaboration was celebrated at a private event in Penang.

KFH in collaboration with GUST organises scientific trip to Britain

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) organized in collaboration with the Islamic Finance Club at Gulf University for Science and Technology a scientific trip for a delegation of the university students to the United Kingdom. The trip that lasted for 7 days aimed to develop scientific knowledge in Islamic finance and increase awareness of the latest development of this industry. 17 students from various majors of the university participated in this trip. Moreover KFH organized, on the sidelines of the visit, a lecture on the principles of Islamic economy and its impacts on the lives of communities.

ADIB closes Dhs302m syndicated Islamic financing for ENPI

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has closed an Dhs302m ($82m) syndicated Islamic financing deal for Emirates National Factory for Plastic Industries L.L.C. (ENPI). This financing will be used in conjunction with ENPI's recent acquisition of 100% share of ENPI Packaging Division by Saudi Printing & Packaging Company. ADIB acted as the Mandated Lead Arranger, Sole Bookrunner, Investment and Security Agent Bank for the deal. Other banks that participated in the financing deal included Al Hilal Bank, Mashreq Al Islami as Mandated Lead Arrangers, ADCB, Ajman Bank and FGB as Lead Arrangers.

EFG, QInvest merger deal awaiting Egyptian regulator's nod

Egypt-based investment bank EFG Hermes has said its merger deal with Qatari investment company QInvest is to lapse on May 3, unless it receives long-awaited approval from Egyptian regulators. If EFG does not receive a 'no objection' from the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority in the coming days, it will be difficult to implement the joint venture agreement. A spokesman for the authority said the deal was still being studied and that a decision would be announced at the right time, declining to give any details or time frame.

Gatehouse Bank's Chief Executive makes move to Malaysia to link Islamic financial hubs

Gatehouse Bank announced its expansion in South East Asia following the acquisition of the law firm SJ Berwin's offices in London, in collaboration with a flourishing Malaysian Sovereign Wealth fund in September 2012. Richard Thomas OBE, will relinquish his current responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer and will take over a new role with the Bank to spearhead this SE Asia business expansion and operations. Mr Fahed Boodai, Chairman has been appointed as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Kuwait Finance House donates KD8.8m to Zakat House

Zakat House General Manager Abdul Qader Al-Ojail asserted that Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is known for supporting the community, and is considered to be one of the authority's main partners in charity. Al-Ojail received two cheques with a total value of KD8.8m from KFH's Chairman Mohammed Al-Khodairi, in order to financially support Zakat House charitable projects and activities. Al-Khodairi said that KFH's priority is to contribute to the success of Kuwait development projects and to serve the society, in addition to supporting projects executed by official charity institutions.

GFH receives nod to restructure WestLB facility

Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, Gulf Finance House (GFH) has secured approvals from 32 syndicates for the restructuring of WestLB Murabaha facility. GFH also obtained approval from its sukuk holders to restructure its outstanding debt amounting to $105m. All debts are expected to mature in 2018 and provide a two-year grace period for the principal repayment amount.

QInvest to launch 'at least' 30 Islamic funds by 2016

QInvest has revealed plans to launch at least 30 Islamic funds over the next three years on a managed account platform which it introduced this week. QInvest hopes to attract an investor base beyond the Gulf through its Cayman-domiciled funds. Four Islamic funds already exist on QInvest's platform which focus on international equities. All of the funds are actively managed and the focus is on delivering strong returns over the mid- to long term, without focusing on a specific benchmark, according to Ataf Ahmed, head of investment solutions at QInvest Wealth Management.

Oman approves two sukuk issues

Oman's market regulator has given its initial approval for two local firms to issue sukuk. The Islamic bonds will hit the market after clearing the formalities for final approval, said the chief executive of the Capital Market Authority, Abdullah bin Salim al Salmi, without revealing the names of the companies.

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