Trade Arabia

Bahrain Islamic Bank swings to $10m profit

Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) has reported a net profit of BD3.8 million ($10.1 million) during the first nine months of the year from a net loss of BD20.8 million during the same period last year. Net profit for the third quarter this year amounted to BD1.4 million versus a net loss of BD4.9 million during the same quarter last year. This is after setting aside provisioning amounting to BD3.4 million for the quarter under review as against BD5.4 million during the corresponding previous period. The bank made an operating profit of BD12.9 million during the first nine months of the year. Operating profit for the third quarter was BD4.8 million. Chairman Abdul Razaq Al Qassim said the results reflect a prudent policy and all earnings represent principal activities involving the bank's assets.

Saudi Tasnee gets $1.06bn Islamic loan

Saudi Arabia's National Industrialization Company (Tasnee) has signed a sharia-compliant loan facility worth SR4 billion ($1.06 billion) with seven Saudi banks and Emirates NBD. The Saudi banks which contributed are Riyad Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Bank Al Bilad, Saudi British Bank, Samba Financial Group, Banque Saudi Fransi and Saudi Investment Bank. The financing, signed on Sunday, will be repaid in eight years including a one-year grace period. The loan, which was covered 1.5 times, will finance the company's stakes in future projects and refinance existing loans.

Merger issues ‘may cause GCC insurers to default’

Inflated valuations and a reluctance to relinquish control are preventing smaller insurers in the GCC from consolidating, and in a move to avoid reporting losses, they could distort market pricing for all, according to the RatingsDirect analysis from Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. The reports adds that a small number of well-established insurers are reaping the benefits of the fast-growing insurance markets in the GCC region. The GCC insurance sector grew to nearly $16 billion in terms of gross premium written and we observed growth rates of over 10 per cent in the region's largest insurance markets in 2012. Ample capital is available within the industry to back the growth in insurance premiums. Both regional and international investors are looking for a slice of the business because of the growth potential. This creates a highly competitive marketplace in which all companies are contending for profitable business. The ensuing competition puts pressure on margins.

Sedco to distribute Islamic funds via private banks

Saudi investment firm Sedco Capital plans to register its Islamic funds in Switzerland and distribute them through tie-ups with global private Banks. This is part of efforts to diversify its client base outside Saudi Arabia. Sedco Capital has incorporated environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into two of the equity funds, widening their appeal to include ethically minded investors in general. The firm hopes this will allow its funds to be marketed to investors beyond traditional Islamic areas in the Middle East and southeast Asia. The firm aims to be able to source two-thirds of its assets under management from outside Saudi Arabia in four to five years. One fund is to be signed by October and the second one by December.Sedco Capital's two ESG funds, launched in May last year, have $230 million in assets and are managed by Stockholm-based Informed Portfolio Management.

Mortgage lender Tamweel to delist from Dubai bourse

Sharia-compliant mortgage lender Tamweel said on Monday its shareholders had approved the company's delisting from the Dubai stock exchange, paving the way for its acquisition by Dubai Islamic Bank. Dubai Islamic Bank said in January it planned to acquire all of Tamweel, in which it owned 58.2 per cent, through a share swap agreement which would see each Tamweel shareholder offered 10 DIB shares for every 18 Tamweel shares they held.

Top Bahraini banks face possible downgrade

Moody's Investors Service said it has placed four Bahraini banks - National Bank of Bahrain (NBB), BBK, BMI Bank and Bahrain Islamic Bank (BIsB) - on review for possible downgrade of its deposit, issuer and senior debt ratings. As part of the same rating action, Moody's has also placed on review for downgrade the standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of BIsB. Moody's decision comes following the potential weakening in the sovereign's capacity to provide support to the banks, as signaled by the agency's decision to place the Baa1 Bahraini government bond rating on review for possible downgrade. The sovereign review was prompted by the fiscal implications of Bahrain's high and rising break-even oil price; the outlook for lower trend economic growth in the country over the medium term and the impact of a low-growth, high government expenditure and weaker oil price scenario on Bahrain's long-term debt sustainability.

GCC banks close dual-currency deal for Asya

A consortium of Gulf-based banks has announced the successful closing of a $230.5 million and a euros 115.3 million syndicated dual-currency Murabaha financing facility for Turkish Bank Asya. Launched at $225 million, the facility was oversubscribed to close at $382 million equivalent with participation from 28 banks from across the globe. The facility carries a profit rate of 125 bppa over the relevant benchmark. The proceeds from the facility will be used by Bank Asya to expand its financing activities in Turkey. ABC Islamic Bank, Barwa Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Noor Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank were the Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers and also the Bookrunners for the deal.

Major CSR forum opens in Jeddah

The two-day Forum for Corporate Social Responsibility, where several issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Saudi Arabia will be discussed, opened in Jeddah on April 9. Moreover, the names of the winning Saudi companies recognised for implementing social responsibility programs launched by the Chamber of Commerce last year will be announced at the forum. Several sessions tackle the different aspects of CSR, such as aligning business strategy and social responsibility programs, or linking youth social initiatives with funding sources and technical support.

S&P sees strong years ahead for sukuk

According to a report released by Standard & Poor’s (S&P), the sukuk market can expect another few strong years after global issuance of sukuk expanded for the fourth year in a row in 2012. The report “Investors Are Snapping Up Sukuk, Despite Questions About Creditworthiness” points out that there is little to hinder another strong performance by the sukuk market in the next few years. The sukuk market is believed to have the potential to grow and join the mainstream. New sukuk issuance worldwide is expected to exceed $100 billion again this year. However, yields in the region have been declining, and even fell under those on conventional debt.

NBB plans to acquire Bahrain Islamic Bank

The National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) is likely to acquire the loss-making Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) and give itself an Islamic finance arm. NBB’s chairman Farouk Almoayyed said that the acquisition is a business opportunity as his bank does not have an Islamic banking operation. They are confident that it will do well under their management, he added. Last year, BisB, the first Islamic bank in Bahrain, posted a net loss of BD36 million ($94.95 million). NBB however is looking strong and is keen to move into the Islamic market.

Savola EGM approves sukuk issuance

At a recent extraordinary general meeting (EGM) the Savola Group gave its approval for the issuance of a sukuk. The bond's total total value shall not be higher than the company’s paid-up capital. THe EGM furthermore voted the delegation of the issuance of such tradable debt instruments to the Board the authority without reverting to the General Assembly.

Kuwaiti lender sees Islamic banking boom

According to the chairman of Boubyan Bank, Islamic banking in Kuwait is growing double as fast as conventional banking. Throughout the Arab region, the demand is expected to be strong. In the first nine months of this year, credit volumes at Islamic banks in the kingdom reached KD11.1 billion ($39.3 billion). This is an increase of 13.2% compared to the same period in 2011. Meanwhile, conventional banks were able to register credit growth of 5.6% reaching KD18.6 billion. This is the reason why Boubyan has no interest in in overseas expansion yet.

Turkish refiner secures $200m GCC funding

Turkish refining company Türkiye Petrol Rafinerileri (Tüpra?) has signed a $200 million, one-year facility with a group of nine banks from the GCC region. The sole bookrunner and structuring advisor was Qatari investment bank QInvest. The list of GCC banks includes Qatar Islamic Bank, Barwa Bank, The Commercial Bank of Qatar and First Gulf Bank. The lead arrangers of the deal are Ahli United Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Doha Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank.

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King & Spalding advises Jadwa in beverage firm stake buy

King & Spalding, a leading international law firm, said it had advised Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment Company in the acquisition of a significant equity stake in Gulf Union Foods Company (GUFC), a top producer of juices and beverages in Saudi Arabia.

Key Islamic finance standards published

Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the international standard-setting organisation for Islamic finance, has published its new standards publications. It is entitled Sharia Standards 2010 and Accounting, Auditing, and Governance Standards 2010. The Sharia Standards 2010 publication contains 41 Sharia standards including 11 new standards.

DIB launches new Takaful scheme

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest Islamic bank in the UAE, has launched a comprehensive accidental death and disability insurance plan offered at a very affordable annual premium, a statement said.

ADIH starts work on $400m Indian project

Abu Dhabi Investment House (ADIH) has begun enabling works and site facilities for its $400 million India Entertainment City (IEC) development in Navi Mumbai.

World Bank for Islamic finance standardisation

The World Bank plans to support standard-setting bodies of the Islamic finance industry in turning their voluntary standards into binding banking regulations, a bank official said.

World Bank for Islamic finance standardisation

The World Bank plans to support standard-setting bodies of the Islamic finance industry in turning their voluntary standards into binding banking regulations.

Bahrain Sukuk oversubscribed

Bahrain's USD 750 mn sovereign sukuk issue attracted an order book of about USD 4 bn and the size was increased to USD 750 mn. The sukuk was priced at the low end of expectations at 340 basis points over US Treasuries. Some 55 % of the issue went to Middle Eastern investors, with Europe accounting for 26 % and Asia for 15 % of the investor base of almost 200 accounts.

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