Investment Banking

Turkey mandates banks for sukuk issue

Turkey mandated banks for its second sovereign sukuk issue in international markets and will hold a series of investor meetings in the Middle East and Asia. HSBC, QInvest and Standard Chartered have been mandated to explore opportunities for a possible lease certificate issuance in the international capital markets. Turkey has borrowed $4.2 billion from international capital markets so far this year and plans to borrow a total of up to $6.5 billion through a mix of Eurobond, Samurai and sukuk issues by the end of the year.

Leeds United owner GFH Capital buying London property, plans tech fund

Dubai-based GFH Capital is snapping up central London property in search of attractive yields and may launch technology funds with a U.S.-based partner as it seeks to capitalize on business startups in the GCC. GFH Capital has been buying London properties with values between $15 million and $50 million. It is currently looking at purchasing a pair of properties for about GBP20 million, according to chief executive David Haigh. Those investments aim to exploit good prospects for returns on luxury flats in central London. In addition to its London property strategy, GFH Capital is looking at launching private equity funds that seed startups in the region. Besides, the investment in Leeds, Haigh said, was doing well.

Seera's net income reaches $5.1 million

Bahrain-based Seera Investment Bank has reported a net income of $5.1 million for the first half of this year compared with a net income of $1.7m for the same period last year. Total income was $8.5m compared with $4.6m last time. The increase in income was attributed to an increase in management fees on assets under management and the early settlement of financing relating to the bank's aviation portfolio. Total assets of the bank were $349m. Seera's balance sheet remains strong with a capital adequacy ratio of 23 per cent and liquid assets of $33m. Profit for the second quarter was $5.5m compared with a profit of $830,000 for the same period last year. Seera has investments in the industrial manufacturing and transportation sectors in addition to smaller investments in the utilities and real estate sectors.

S&P downgrades Bahrain's Al Baraka Bank to junk status

Standard & Poor's reduced Al Baraka's rating from BBB- to BB+ with a negative outlook on the back of increased sovereign and economic risk in the regions where it operates, particularly Egypt and Jordan. Operating environment and credit conditions in the MENA region is expected to remain tough over the coming 12-18 months. Consequently, S&P foresees an adverse impact on Al Baraka's business and financial profiles. The negative outlook reflects S&P's view that the lender's capitalisation could deteriorate if, for instance, Egypt defaults and economic conditions worsen in Jordan. This is the first time that Al Baraka has been downgraded. Earlier this week, the lender said that net income for the second quarter of 2013 rose 11 percent from a year ago to $42 million.

Bahrain's GFH sees H1 profits fall despite cost cutting

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House has announced a net profit of $4.2m for the half year of 2013. Net profit fell compared to $5.7m in the corresponding half year period in 2012 despite a drive to reduce costs. Second quarter net profit also dropped to $2.7m from $4.7m for Q2 2012. Total income for the second quarter was $13.4m compared to a total income of $19.7m for the second quarter of 2012. It said income was primarily generated from management fees from funds under management, investment income and recoveries. It added that operating costs for the half year period reduced by 27 percent to $19.6m compared to $26.9m for the prior year period, underlining ongoing efforts in the streamlining of operations. GFH's new strategy calls for it to become more involved in its investments, and to hold projects until completion rather than passing them to third parties to develop as was done in the past.

Bank Nizwa obtains investment banking licence

Bank Nizwa, Oman's first full-fledged Islamic bank, has received an investment banking licence that will allow it to manage funds and issue instruments such as Islamic bonds. The bank launched operations in January and is gradually rolling out a range of sharia-compliant products, aiming to grab a 5 percent share of the country's overall banking market in five years. In December, Oman became the last country in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council to adopt Islamic finance, issuing extensive regulations for the sector.

Kuwait Finance House consolidates all its direct investment activities to one investment arm

General Manager of International Banking and Acting Chief Investment Officer at Kuwait Finance House KFH Shaheen Al-Ghanim has announced the emerging KFH Investment Company, previously named Liquidity House. He added that this company will be KFH's main investment arm locally, regionally, and globally. Renaming Liquidity House to KFH Investment is one of the results of the new investment strategy, which is considered to be part of KFH's development and restructuring plan. All of KFH investment holdings and activities will be consolidated and supervised by KFH Investment Company. Furthermore, Al-Ghanim revealed that this company will survive Liquidity Management House (LMH). He noted that the Shareholders General Assembly of LMH had been convened last Thursday and approved changing the name of the company.

Bahrain Bank Al Khair Eyes Retail Push With Khaleeji Merger

Islamic banks Al Khair and Khaleeji have set up a committee to study the feasibility of a merger, with any agreement subject to due diligence and approvals by shareholders and the regulator. Bank Al Khair, a Bahrain-based investment bank, expects its potential merger with local player Khaleeji Commercial Bank to help provide it with retail banking exposure and more stable revenues. A merger would create an entity with paid-up capital of about $500 million and assets in the range of $600 million to $1 billion. An independent firm is now finalising valuations for the two businesses. A deal would probably involve both cash and an exchange of shares. Bank Al Khair posted a first-quarter loss of $2.8 million, while Khaleeji had a profit of BD302,000.

Venture Capital posts net profit of $20.2m

Bahrain-based Venture Capital Bank reported a fifth consecutive quarter of profitable performance. The Islamic investment bank posted a net profit of $20.2 million on total revenue of $39.6m for the 15 months ended March 2013. For the quarter ended March this year, the profit was $1.7m and the revenue $5.08m. Total revenue increased 472 per cent on annualised basis to $39.6m for the 15-month period. Concurrently, total expenses decreased by 26pc on an annualised basis to $13.5m for the 15-month period as a result of cost reduction and organisational improvements. Shareholders' equity has grown by 9pc on an annualised basis to $199.2m as of March this year. The results affirm the bank's strategic focus on key sectors, such as healthcare, agribusiness, oil and gas and shipping and in the more economically and politically stable markets in the Mena region.

GFH net profit soars 50pc to $1.5 million

Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House (GFH) reported a 50 per cent increase in net profit at $1.5 million for the first quarter this year. Total income for the period was at $11.1m. Income was primarily from fees from funds under management and a profit of $4.9m from repurchase of debts at discount. The bank's strategy of streamlined operations continued to bear results with a 30pc reduction in operating costs for the current quarter at $8.3m compared with $11.9m in first quarter of last year. GFH acting chief executive Hisham Al Rayes said GFH Capital undertook due diligence on a number of potential strategic investors for Leeds United FC and exit arrangements for Mega City Navi Mumbai focusing on profitable growth.

European Islamic Investment Bank: Ex-Bank – Love It!

European Islamic Investment Bank (EIIB) is an Islamic finance institution which operates in accordance with Sharia’a law, and bridges the gap between the financial markets of the West/OECD & the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. EIIB evolved into an investment company which invests in bonds/loans on a relatively un-leveraged basis and a mixed bag of private equity (PE) investments. A strategic review was also completed, which confirmed EIIB’s new focus on building recurring revenue streams, primarily within the Asset Management business. With further head-count reductions & cost control to come, plus geographical & functional integration savings to be captured, EIIB's losses will be eliminated in due course.

Sharia lenders team up to fund Iraq's promising food sector

Iraqi Islamic Bank for Investment and Development has teamed up with a Bahrain-based Baraka Islamic Bank to develop an investment vehicle that will target Iraq's lucrative and promising food sector. The fund has already acquired interest from Arabian Gulf and European investors, prompting the Iraqi lender to increase the size of the vehicle from US$50 million (Dh183.6m) to $75m. It will provide financial support to an affiliate company of Iraqi Islamic Bank that has a three-year track record of delivering contracts on sugar stockpile to Iraq's ministry of trade.

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.

EFG-Hermes Takeover by QInvest Mired in Delays as Deadline Nears

The takeover of EFG-Hermes Holding SAE (HRHO), Egypt’s biggest investment bank, by Qatar’s QInvest LLC is mired in delays almost a year after the transaction was agreed. The deal is set to expire on May 4 unless it receives a so- called no objection from Egypt’s regulator on the transfer of its assets to Qatar. The terms of the deal include a four Egyptian pound per share dividend once it is complete. However, EFG-Hermes’s co-chief executives are defendents on charges of illicit gains. Therefore, it is expected that the deal will not go through before the lawsuit is finalized.

Warba Bank builds portfolio of successful investments

Warba Bank announced that it has made significant progress over the past year in building its portfolio of investments in the region and the world. During 2012, Warba Bank completed a series of successful investments in various investment sectors, e.g. the purchase of a property in New York which they developed into a multi - family residential complex. Through its investments, Warba Bank seeks to achieve high returns on investments and guarantee the rights of the Kuwaiti people who are the bank's shareholder.

QInvest Launches the World's First Open Architecture Sharia'a Compliant Managed Account Platform, QMAP

Qatar's QInvest announced the launch of the QInvest Managed Account Platform (QMAP). QMAP is the world's first open architecture Sharia'a compliant managed account platform. It provides investors with the opportunity to select from a range of funds that are managed by professional teams. At QInvest 's Annual General Assembly, H.E. Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al Thani, QInvest 's Chairman, informed shareholders about the launch of the account platform that allows shareholders and investors to invest in asset classes such as mutual funds and hedge funds, managed by globally recognized investment managers.

Saudi Arabia’s Sedco launches Luxembourg platform for Islam-compliant investments

Sedco Capital, the Saudi Arabia-based asset manager, has launched an investment platform of Sharia-compliant funds aimed at high net worth investors and institutional investors. The Sedco Capital Global Funds platform, a Luxembourg Sicav, currently has a choice of seven investment funds with total assets under management of more than $1bn. The plan is for the platform to include over 15 funds totalling more than $1.6bn by the end of 2013.

Press Release: Gatehouse Bank completes US acquisition of GSA tenanted office building

London-based Gatehouse Bank plc (Gatehouse) has completed the acquisition of a 163,000 sq ft, state of the art office building in Salt Lake City, Utah. The deal is expected to return a stable and healthy yield over the investment period. The property is 100% leased to theGeneral Services Administration (GSA) for a fixed term of 20 years. The Class-A office building has been built specifically to meet the critical security requirements of the tenant. Gatehouse Bank was assisted by Arch Street Capital Advisors and sister company GSH in this transaction.

Qatari Shard investor to avoid Europe this year -exec

The real-estate arm of Qinvest, the Qatari investment bank will focus on the United States and its home market and avoid Europe this year. This is because competition makes the European market tougher. With targeted returns of up to 6 percent and over, the bank's plan is to focus on assets in U.S. retail - such as single-tenant units on New York City's Fifth Avenue - and in the less liquid and less crowded Qatari market. Qinvest is in the process of taking over Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes , though regulators have yet to approve the deal.

Kuwait Finance House revamp to include new CEO, investment banking unit

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is mulling over a restructuring exercise that will entail a change of chief executive and the creation of a separate investment banking division. KFH's existing chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Jamelah Jamaluddin had reportedly been chosen to head this new investment banking subsidiary. Datuk Seri Abdul Hamidy Abdul Hafiz, the chairman of Danajamin Nasional and Credit Guarantee Corp, is a likely replacement as KFH's CEO. KFH is seeking approval from the authorities for these changes, which it intends to bring about soon.

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