The Peninsula

QINVEST bullish on #Turkey, bets on EM equities

Qatar’s QInvest is set to reinforce its presence in Turkey. Head of Asset Management at QInvest, Dr Ataf Ahmed is seeing huge opportunities in various asset classes in Turkey. In 2016, QInvest acquired ERGO Portfoy, rebranded as QInvestPortfoy and became a leading asset management group in Turkey. The company is also seeing opportunities within Emerging Markets (EM) equities, despite the inherent volatility of the asset class. Inflation is coming in under control and there are a number of positive surprises in economic growth. There is also exposure to broader EM within some of the global funds and mandates, however this represents approximately 10% of total assets across all QInvest funds. In the GCC region businesses have adjusted to low oil prices. According to Ahmed, GCC nations are reinforcing their plans to diversify the economies, moving into sectors like finance, trade and tourism.

QIIB to begin operations in #Morocco with four branches

Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) inaugurated the bank’s new branch at the Mall of Qatar. CEO Abdulbasit Ahmad Al Shaibei said the bank is expected to start its operations in Morocco by the first quarter of 2017 with four branches. The lender had signed a joint venture agreement with the Moroccan Bank Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH) for the establishment of a bank in Morocco in December 2015. Under the agreement, QIIB will have 40% stake in the proposed bank. The new QIIB branch is on the ground floor of the Mall of Qatar, considered to be one of the most important shopping destinations in the region.

QIB offers online travel #takaful plan to customers

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has introduced online instant purchase for its new Travel Takaful plan. From now on, QIB’s customers can conveniently purchase Travel Takaful plan through the Bank’s website The comprehensive plans are offered by Damaan Islamic Insurance Company (Beema) and provide a wealth of coverages. Benefits include compensation in case of lost/delayed baggage, delay in departures, or in the event of lost passports, National IDs and driving licences.
A key benefit is the coverage of medical expenses incurred abroad, including hospital and surgical costs, dental emergencies and other needs that can occur when traveling.

Ezdan’s $500m debut #Sukuk a huge hit

Ezdan Holding Group has priced its inaugural Sukuk transaction in the debt capital markets with a $500m 5-year Sukuk issue. The transaction attracted an order-book up to $837m, with 71 investors participating. Investors from the Middle East took 68% of the issuance, with European investors subscribing for 21% and Asian investors taking 11%. Group CEO Ali Mohammed Al Obaidli said the investors’ strong interest resulted in the order book reaching to $837 mn, around 1.67 times of the offer amount.

QInvest completes debut $200m five-year syndicated facility

QInvest, Qatar’s leading investment group and one of the most prominent Islamic financial institutions in the world, announced the completion of its debut $200m five year syndicated facility.

The facility is in line with the bank’s funding diversification and capital efficiency plan and was arranged by QInvest’s key regional and international relationship banks, namely Masraf Al Rayan, Al Khaliji France S.A. and Natixis. QInvest previously announced that it was named the “Most Innovative Investment Bank from the Middle East” at The Banker magazine’s Investment Banking Awards 2015.

Al Rayan Bank operating income jumps 168pc

Al Rayan Bank, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), yesterday announced its strongest financial performance to date, resulting in the Bank more than doubling its operating income and posting its first profit since its inception in 2004. The bank’s operating income increased 168 percent to £11.8m in 2014 from£4.4m in 2013. The bank saw 86 percent increase in total customer financing, to £450.3m. Retail deposits increased 59 percent to £509.8m and while wholesale deposits increased 53 percent to £31.7m. Increasing consumer confidence, the continued strength of the housing market and opportunities to provide property finance to the commercial sector as well as to investors in the Gulf has enabled Al Rayan Bank to post its best results to date.

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.

Ehab Eshehawi is QIIB’s new COO

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) has announced the appointment of Ehab Eshehawi (pictured) as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Eshehawi has more than 25 years’ experience in managing Technology and Operations in the USA, Europe, Asia and Mideast, including 14 years’ experience in the US with Fortune 500 Companies, and 15 years’ experience with international banking institutions. He spent the last 15 years with Arab Banking Corporation and Ahli United Bank focused on supporting banking mergers and acquisitions. Eshehawi is holder of a Bachelor degree in Business Administration, minor in Business Computers Information Systems, and a MBA from the USA.

Islamic finance body IILM re-issues $890m sukuk

Malaysia-based International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM) has reissued $860 million of its three-month Islamic bond. The three-month sukuk, rated A-1 by Standard and Poor's, was priced at a yield of 0.52 percent. The issuance was fully subscribed by nine banks acting as primary dealers, including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, CIMB and Maybank. IILM last went to the market in May to re-issue $490 million worth of three-month paper, designed to meet a shortage of highly liquid, investment-grade financial instruments which Islamic banks can trade to manage their short-term funding needs. Shareholders of the IILM are the central banks of Indonesia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.

QIB, Noor Bank, Warba Bank lead arrangers for $155m loan

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Noor Bank and Warba Bank, the mandated lead arrangers, announced the successful closure of a $155m Shariah-compliant receivable backed syndicated financing facility for a UAE-based Jafza entity. The facility is a transaction that enabled the obligor to securitise its future receivables guaranteed by multinational oil and gas companies. Noor Bank acted as lead arranger and bookrunner for the facility besides its role as the account bank, documentation bank, Shariah-coordinator, as well as investment and security agent. The facility was designed to refinance existing debt and finance the company’s future capital expenditure.

QIB-UK offers property opportunities in London

QIB-UK, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), is offering real estate investment opportunities for premium clients looking to purchase properties in London. The bank’s network gives interested clients early access to residential real estate opportunities. They will enjoy privileged introductions to opportunities in the London real estate market both for buyers and investors alike. In addition, the bank offers a full suite of Shari’ah-compliant structured commercial real estate financing products including investment, residential development and mezzanine financing to clients.

Malaysia expects global Islamic financial industry to grow next year

The global Islamic financial industry is expected to grow to US$2 trillion next year from US$1.3 trillion currently, propped up by growing demand from non-conservative countries, Malaysia's Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan said. The Islamic financial industry will expand because of the stability of the Islamic financial system. The system is not shaken by the economic downturn anywhere in the world, he added. Furthermore, the Islamic financial system was also fairer such as in terms of profit distribution, Ahmad said. In Malaysia, the growth of Islamic Finance would benefit both Muslims and and non-Muslim consumers, he said.

Pakistan sets up Islamic banking committee to expand activity

Pakistan's Ministry of Finance has set up a committee to explore areas to promote Islamic banking in the nation, including studying converting conventional banks into sharia-compliant ones. Regulators in Pakistan are rolling out a range of initiatives, such as a media awareness campaign, to expand Islamic banks' share of the total banking sector to 15 percent by 2017. The committee will submit recommendations on 10 areas by December 2014, including legal obstacles to converting banks into Islamic ones and changes required to remove those obstacles. Other tasks for the committee include formulating a comprehensive policy framework and timeframes for the industry's progression. The commitee comprises scholars and regulators as well as bankers.

Kuwait Finance House makes $362m of provisions

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced 103 million Kuwaiti dinar or $362 million of precautionary provisions on Tuesday, as it posted a smaller than expected rise in second-quarter net profit. The bank did not provide any more details on the provisions, which cover the first half of the year, nor a comparative figure for the same period the year before. It added that indicators related to profit growth and operating revenues were positive. Net profit rose to 26.8 million dinars in the three months ended June. The lender did not provide further details on its profit. It said it would continue with its expansion plans after its 319 million dinar capital increase last month.

Kuwait Finance House says client settles $297m debt

Kuwait Finance House said on Monday that a customer had settled $296.6 million of debt owed to the bank and that the impact of the receipt would be reflected in its second-quarter results. The customer had owed 32.6 million dinars or $114.3 million to KFH and 51 million dinars to subsidiaries. KFH did not give any details about the debtor, or say whether the customer was a corporate entity or an individual. The bank is expected to release second-quarter earnings in August.

Oman sukuk gets regulatory approval

Oman’s first corporate sukuk has received regulatory approval and the five-year, RO50m ($130m) private placement aims to close next month. It will be issued by Tilal Development Co and the proceeds will be used to repay existing debt and expand the Muscat Grand Mall. The sukuk, rated BBB+ by Capital Intelligence, will pay a five percent profit rate and use an ijara structure, a common Shariah-compliant leasing arrangement. Omani domestic investors such as pension funds and insurance firms have expressed interest in the sukuk and it could have a broader regional appeal, in particular from Qatar. A corporate sukuk could also be welcomed by local Islamic banks, which are eager for access to more sharia-compliant investment products while Oman’s Islamic money markets are underdeveloped.

IILM announces short-term sukuk plan

Kuala Lumpur-based International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) announced its inaugural short-term sukuk programme aimed at addressing liquidity challenges faced by Institutions that offer Islamic Financial Services. The launch of the programme is pursuant to the granting of an A-1 public rating by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services. The completion of this phase of the programme paves the way for the issuance of the IILM inaugural sukuk which is expected to take place in the second quarter 2013. The sukuk programme will be the first Shariah-compliant US dollar denominated financial instrument in the market to be issued at maturities of up to one year.

QIIC to consolidate its market position this year: Chairman

According to Qatar Islamic Insurance Company (QIIC) Chairman Sheikh Abdulla bin Thani Al Thani, the company recorded good results in 2012 by generating a premium of QR206m and aggregate net profit of QR74m, of which net policyholders’ surplus amounted to QR16m.He noted the shareholders’ profit reached QR58m, constituting earnings per share of QR3.5. The Board of Directors, in co-ordination with the Shariah Supervisory Board, has decided to reimburse policyholders with cash surplus equaling 20 percent of the premiums written in 2012. The general assembly approved the company’s nine-point agenda, including its financial statements for the year 2012 and election of two people in the current QIIC Board of Directors.

Qatar says Islamic bank to be set up with IDB

Last April the Qatari government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Islamic Development Bank and Saudi Arabia's Dallah Albaraka Group to establish an international Islamic bank with initial capital of $1 billion. Finance Minister Youssef Kamal, however, has not given details about the timing, ownership or other aspects of the new institution but said it would be set up soon.

Qatar gears up to sell QR4bn in bonds, sukuk

Qatar will sell QR4bn ($1.1bn) of three-year and five-year bonds and sukuk. The Qatar Central Bank will offer local banks QR3bn worth of bonds and QR1bn worth of Shariah-compliant notes. The local currency issues will take place quarterly, but it was not specified how much of each maturity would be sold. The objective behind an issuance is reportedly to build a domestic sovereign yield curve.

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