Al Bawaba

The huge uproar against the Halal industry and what it means for its prospects

There is an increasingly loud chatter brewing about halal food in non-Muslim countries and amongst a segment of Muslims, and, it seems, it’s not all positive. The differing reactions should be a basis for a multi-jurisdiction primary-based research on the rational for halal and kosher in non-Muslim countries, as this may provide a blueprint for positioning, placing and promoting, especially benefitting suppliers. Today, there is no global halal industry body like Bahrain-based AAOIFI or IIFM or Malaysia-based IFSB to provide guidelines. It is hoped that the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) would, one day, roll off the tongue for halal as AAOFI, launched in 1991, is for Islamic finance concerning accounting and auditing.

Iran has its eyes set on Turkish banks

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) approved expansion requests from Bank Mellat last month in light of the U.S. and the UN Security Council loosening economic sanctions. Afterwards, applications from the Iranian banks Pasargad and Tejarat to set up shop in Turkey were approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bank Mellat has operated in Turkey through its three branches in Izmir, Istanbul and Ankara. Turkey and Iran have reportedly come to an agreement allowing an increase in banking transactions between the two countries. Earlier this year, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a visit to Iran aimed at strengthening economic ties between the neighboring countries.

ADIB launches capital-protected silver notes

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has launched new capital-protected silver notes to allow customers to invest in a metal that analysts believe may soon see a price rebound. The Shari’a-compliant notes, which mature in two years, provide 100 percent capital protection at maturity to minimize risk. The notes are currently open for subscription with a minimum amount of US$30,000. This latest offering is part of ADIB’s wealth management approach to provide customers a diversified suite of investment solutions. ADIB’s structured notes have been well received by investors, particularly three capital-protected gold notes and two capital-protected oil notes that matured at the beginning of this year.

Emirates Islamic Bank contributes AED 7 million to Dubai Health Authority

Emirates Islamic Bank contributed AED 7 million to Dubai Healthcare Authority to support Rashid Hospital in purchasing computed tomography (CT scan) machines, which will be used for medical imaging procedures at the government healthcare institution. The donation reflects Emirates Islamic Bank’s commitment towards the development of the UAE healthcare industry by working alongside government hospitals. The financial aid to Rashid Hospital follows similar initiatives by Emirates Islamic Bank to healthcare institutions in the UAE in recent years. Emirates Islamic Bank’s recent contribution to Rashid Hospital is also in keeping with its objective to support charitable causes via a dedicated Zakat Fund at the bank. In 2012 alone, the bank’s Zakat Fund contributed over AED10 million to various charitable causes.

Tunisia may delay Sukuk issue to next year

Tunisia's first issue of a sukuk is likely to be postponed to next year. Tunisia had originaly planned to issue a sovereign sukuk this July to raise $700 million. Thus, the government wanted to push through a legislation to permit the issue, and hoped parliament would approve the bill by end-April or early May. But so far, the parliament has not begun considering the legislation because it has been occupied drafting a new constitution that would permit elections expected later this year. Postponing the $700 million issue will increase pressure on the country's budget this year. Tunisia is running a large state budget deficit, which it has projected at about $3.2 billion this year, and the sukuk was intended to help fill that gap. Tunisia might have to use IMF funds to fill the gap left by the sukuk delay.

Tunisia gets $1.2 bn funding from Islamic Development Bank

Tunisia has won $1.2 billion in funding from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), aimed at backing industrial, agricultural and trade projects. The IDB funding line will include loans and grants, and will be for three years, with disbursements of $400 million each year until 2015. The IDB has also given Tunisia a financial guarantee to issue a sukuk worth $600 million before 2014. Tunis is also in talks with Qatar about the Gulf state making a deposit at the Tunisian central bank with easy conditions. The assassination in February of opposition politician Chokri Belaid triggered the worst street violence since the revolution. Elections expected towards the end of this year will create fresh uncertainty. The state budget deficit is expected to rise to around 5.9 percent of gross domestic product this year from 5.1 percent last year.


Unicorn Transaction named Islamic Finance Deal Of The Year

Unicorn Investment Bank (Unicorn), the Bahrain-based financial services group, announces that its successful close of a US$450 million 5-year Sukuk on behalf of leading Saudi real estate developer Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company (Dar Al-Arkan) has been named Islamic Finance Deal of the Year for the Middle East by pre-eminent international business magazine The Banker.

Growing interest in Bahrain banking sector

Efforts to make Bahrain and its economy more business friendly has attracted growing interest from the Gulf and beyond, Rasheed Al-Maraj, the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB), told CNBC Europe’s “Closing Bell” programme in an interview from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

CEO of HSBC Amanah to Speak at Euromoney's Islamic Finance Summit in February

CEO of HSBC Amanah will deliver the keynote address at Euromoney's Islamic Finance Summit in London on 23rd February 2010 at The Landmark.

In his speech, Mukhtar Hussian is expected to highlight how to put the economic crisis and lessons learnt from recent sukuk defaults to good use. He will also reveal how the industry can drive competitiveness with conventional banking, while ensuring stable growth through 'best in class' risk management. Also on the agenda: Why high-profile sukuk defaults have generated a timely debate, enforceability and the lessons the industry must learn about reputational risk.

Legal & General Gulf Takaful B.S.C (c) Launches in Bahrain

Legal & General Gulf Takaful B.S.C (c), a wholly owned subsidiary of Legal & General Gulf B.S.C (c), a joint venture between UK-based Legal & General Group Plc and Ahli United Bank Group (AUB), announced the launch of its retail business in Bahrain.

Khalijia Invest announces the launch of its operations and commencement of activities as a Shari’ah compliant investment company

Khalijia Invest as one of the recently established investment companies in the region, specializing in Corporate Finance and Asset Management, operating in compliance with Shari’ah guidelines announces the commencement of its operations, under its five licenses awarded by the Saudi Capital Market Authority.

Islamic finance well positioned for GCC recovery

NCB Capital, the investment banking arm of National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia’s largest bank, believes that Islamic finance, an increasingly important element of the GCC financial sector, is well positioned to lead the way in the region’s pending economic recovery.

Tamweel successfully closes USD 235 mn syndicated bank facility

Tamweel PJSC, a Dubai-based real estate financer has closed a 3-year USD 235 mn syndicated bank facility.

ABN AMRO and Noor Islamic Bank served as lead arrangers and joint bookrunners for the transaction, which has been priced in both US dollars and UAE dirhams, and will reach maturity in three years.

Wasim Saifi is Chief Executive Officer of Tamweel.
Gaurav Agarwal is Chief Financial and Support Services Officer, Tamweel.
Hussain Al Qemzi is Chief Executive Officer of Noor Islamic Bank.
Vishnu Deuskar is Head of Global Markets ABN AMRO UAE.


Sharia compliant Ajman Bank holds founding general assembly meeting

Albawaba reported on 20 April that Ajman Bank PJSC it had held its Founding General Assembly meeting for shareholders of the company.
Convened on Wednesday 16 April, the shareholders approved all of the meeting’s resolutions including the completion of the incorporation of the Bank; the adoption of the Bank’s Memorandum and Articles of Association; the Founders’ report and the Pre IPO Auditing report.

Ajman Bank will be Ajman’s first commercial bank. Investors include the Government of Ajman and some of the UAE’s leading financial institutions and private individuals.

The Board of Directors comprises:

HH Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Vice Chairman
HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member
Dr Ali Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Member
Mr Ali bin Abdullah Al Hamrani, Member
Mr Yousef Ali Fadil Bin Fadil, Member
Mr Salem Rashid Al Khadar, Member

The Fatwa and Shariah Board comprises:

Dr Husain Hamid Hassan, Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrazaq Al Siddiq,
Dr Jassim Ali Al Shamsi

Yousif Khalaf, the CEO of Ajman Bank and former CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank and Ithmaar Bank.

Millennium Finance Corporation announces UGB as new shareholder

Al Bawaba reported on 30 March on the new share holder of Millenium Finance Corporation (MFC), which is United Gulf Bank BSC (UGB).

MFC, a Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) licensed investment bank, was established by an experienced team of bankers from major international investment banking firms, in partnership with DIB. UGB is the investment banking arm of the KIPCO Group, Kuwait.

Khaled Al Kamda is Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Islamic Bank, Masaud Hayat, Managing Director of UGB, Keba Keinde, Chief Executive Officer of MFC, and William Khouri, Chief Executive Officer of UGB all signed off the transaction.


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