Bank of London and the Middle East

The #continuing allure of #Islamic #finance

The total Islamic finance industry was estimated at around $ 1.9 trillion in assets for the year end of 2016, and it pales into insignificance compared with traditional finance. However of special interest is the growing popularity of Islamic finance from both the Muslim and non-Muslim financial institutions and investors. Islamic assets are very much concentrated in the banking sector which holds $1.5 trillion in total, with the Islamic bonds or sukuks worth $320 billion, and investment funds and insurance or so called takaful worth $56 billion and $25 billion respectively.
The majority are purchase and sale or murabaha and leasing or ijara transactions. Some major Gulf companies are turning to the sukuk market to raise funds, with Saudi Aramco and the Government of Saudi Arabia both successfully launching sukuk tranches which were heavily oversubscribed.

Islamic bank BLME to acquire SME-focused leasing business

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) said it would acquire Renaissance Asset Finance as part of efforts to grow its leasing business. Dubai-listed BLME said in a statement the acquisition would be finalised in early April, without disclosing a deal size. The Islamic lender helped launch Renaissance in 2014 when it provided a financing line of 35 million pounds, with both firms seeking to fill a funding gap for mid-sized companies. Renaissance offers financing solutions including sale and leaseback transactions, with a maximum advance of 2 million pounds.

MOVES-Islamic bank BLME's CEO to resign effective June 11 - statement

Britain's Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) said on Sunday its chief executive Humphrey Percy would step down effective June 11. Percy, who has served as CEO since August 2006, will also step down as a board member of the bank, BLME said in a statement. No reason for his departure was given in the statement, which quoted him as looking forward to the new challenges. An announcement on his successor as chief executive of BLME will be made in due course, the statement added.

BLME releases comment on current state of Sukuk market

The Sukuk market does not look like it will replicate the volume of issuance that was seen in 2012. However, there has been a healthy flow of new deals that come to market this year, particularly from debut issuers, according to a new comment released by BLME. 2014 not has been a landmark year for the Sukuk markets due mainly to the new entrants to the market, particularly the issues from outside of the GCC region and Malaysia. The UK, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and South Africa issue provided much needed diversification to the market, the comment noted. Besides, the sukuk market benefited from a shortfall in Sukuk supply and a large demand specifically for US$ denominated issuances in addition to the relatively strong fundamentals in the GCC.

Demand for Islamic Sovereign Bonds on the Rise, Says BLME

Chief Executive of Bank of London and the Middle East, Humphrey Percy expects the sukuk market issuance to grow and that will be underpinned by new sovereigns. He is not only referring to the U.K.’s maiden sukuk but also potential new Islamic bond sales by Luxembourg, South Africa and Hong Kong. Mr. Percy argues that demand for high-quality sukuk is on the rise because under ever more stringent banking regulations those investments can be treated as part of the lenders’ mandatory liquid assets buffers. In addition, as global interest rates could go up, entities would be more compelled to consider selling sukuk, Mr. Percy said. And the more sukuk issuance from relative newcomers outside the traditional markets, the better for the overall development of the industry, Mr. Percy noted.

Islamic bank BLME eyes first dividend in ’16

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME), Britain’s largest stand-alone Islamic bank, aims to pay its first dividend in early 2016 as the lender diversifies its revenue and funding streams. Founded in 2006 by Kuwait’s Boubyan Bank, BLME has not paid a dividend, but its net distributable reserves are expected to reach a sufficient level in 2015, chief executive Humphrey Percy said. BLME, which provides corporate banking and wealth management services, posted a net profit of £4m ($6.6m) in the first half of 2014, up from £1m during the same period last year. This was aided by diversification of revenue streams, with the corporate banking division seeing its total operating income grow 32.5 percent from a year earlier.

BLME sees Gulf sukuk issuance picking up, longer tenors

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) expects Islamic bond issuance to pick up in the Gulf next year as companies refinance maturing debt in a strong economic climate. Scheduled sukuk maturities in Gulf Arab countries next year are expected to trigger a flurry of fresh issues. Many of the new sukuk will be larger than the instruments they replaced. Because of rising economic confidence in the Gulf, tenors of newly issued sukuk will likely become longer, with some moving out towards seven years from the five-year tenors which have dominated in recent years. BLME's assets under management include a $65 million sukuk fund rated A by Moody's Investors Service. Its balance sheet grew to 1.04 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) at the end of last year.

Manager to offer Islamic bonds

Australian investors are expected to involve in one of the most rapidly growing asset classes soon. A new tie-up between Australia's Islamic fund manager and Europe's largest Islamic bank is on the way. According to plan, the Crescent Islamic Cash Management Fund will allocate up to half of its assets to investment-grade sukuk at the beginning of 20113.

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Bahrain central bank grants licence to Bank of London and The Middle East

The Bank of London and The Middle East has been granted a licence by the Central Bank of Bahrain to open an office in the kingdom. The bank is a Financial Services Authority authorised independent wholesale Sharia-compliant bank based in London.

Bank of London and the Middle East launches Sharia'a Compliant premier deposit account in Sterling, US Dollars and Euros for inv

Bank of London and the Middle East plc whose main shareholders are Boubyan Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, the Securities House and the Public Institution for Social Security, announced today the launch of its Premier Deposit Account (PDA) in Pound Sterling, US Dollars and Euro for Kuwait investors.
BLME's PDA offers investors competitive returns on their deposit with BLME when compared with other UK Financial Institutions' deposit products.

BLME First Half 2010 Financial Results

Bank of London and The Middle East, the London based wholesale, Sharia'a compliant bank, today reported a healthy return to profitability for the first half of 2010.
BLME's results were spurred by the:
* strong performance by the Markets division, particularly the management of the Bank's investment portfolio and capital;
* continued top quartile performance of the US Dollar Income Fund;
* cash recoveries from assets that were subject to credit impairment provisions in 2009; and
* strengthening of the Corporate Banking team, resulting in a steady acceleration in earnings and improved contributions from the three financing areas: Property, Leasing and Trade Finance.

BLME considers listing on London Stock Exchange

Bank of London and the Middle East plans to focus on its wealth-management business this year and then aim for listing on the London Stock Exchange next year.

Bank of London and the Middle East plans three funds

Bank of London and the Middle East, or BLME, plans to launch at least three funds in 2009 targeting a US dollar based fixed income fund, a UK real estate distressed assets fund and an equities fund according to Adrian Gayler, the newly appointed head of private banking at BLME, told Zawya Dow Jones.

Bank of London and the Middle East launches Private Banking

TradeArabia reported on 27 January that the Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), will be extending its wealth management division with the launch of a private banking business. The new project will be headed by the newly appointed head of private banking Adrian Gayler, who joins BLME from Merrill Lynch International Bank Limited. Gayler will be based in BLME’s new private banking offices in Mayfair, London, along with the already established specialist wealth management team

Bank of London and the Middle East arranges GBP 10 mn facility for OCADO LTD

Press Release

London, 27 January, 2009 – Bank Of London And The Middle East plc (BLME), the London based wholesale, Sharia’a compliant bank, today announced that it is providing a £10 million leasing facility to Ocado Ltd (Ocado), the UK independent online grocer.

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Bank of London and the Middle East appoints Senior Advisor

Bank of London and the Middle East released on 14 April the appointment of Mahmoud Faruqui as Senior Advisor.

Having been involved in the Islamic finance industry for over 30 years, Mahmood has extensive experience in advising banks on Strategy, Governance and Sharia'a aspects of product structuring and documentation.

Mahmood has previously worked as Board Member/Advisor of Habib Bank, Alfaysal Investment bank, Faysal Bank, Faysal Islamic Bank of Bahrain, Dar-Al-Maal Islami (DMI) Geneva, and Habib Bank AG Zurich.

As a founder member and secretary at the Pakistan Banking Council, he played a key role in negotiating and obtaining authorised bank status for five Pakistani banks from the Bank of England.

Humphrey Percy is CEO of BLME.


Bank of London and the Middle East participates in Qatar infrastructure financing

AME Info published a press release on 8 April that The Bank of London and The Middle East plc (BLME) announced that it has participated in USD 20 mn of Forward Lease financing to Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), for the construction of the Ras Abu Fontas A1 (RAF A1) water desalination plant to be built in the northern part of Ras Abu Fontas, Qatar. The Islamic tranche of the transaction was introduced to BLME by European Finance House, London based subdiary of Qatar Islamic Bank. Out of the total project budget of USD 600 mn, USD 150 mn is Islamic financing which is being underwritten by QIB.

Humphrey Percy is CEO of BLME. Mike Clark is CEO of European Finance House.


Performance of UK based Islamic banks

Malar Velaigam wrote on 25 March in Investors Chronicle about the progess of Islamic banking in UK from an investor's perspective. Only two Islamic finance companies have UK quotations, and neither of them has proved a very attractive investment so far.
The first Western Shariah-compliant commercial bank, the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB). The bank floated in October 2004 at 25p a share, but now trades at half that price having hit a high of 13.7p and a low of 4.75p in the last year. It reported losses in 2005 till 2007. However, deposit basis and account numbers are growing substantially, while IBB customer base only represents 2.3 % of the 1.8 mn Muslim target market in UK yet.

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