alizz islamic bank's IPO oversubscribed

According to an announcement by alizz islamic bank SAOG, the Initial Public Offering worth RO 40.8 million had great success and was oversubscribed. Investors from category 1 had applied for up to 100,000 shares and received all of their application amounts. Category 2 investors had applied for more than 100,100 shares. They have been allotted 83.95% of their application amounts. It is planned for the constitutive general meeting of the bank to be held on November 20, 2012.

Tilal seeks CMA approval for Oman’s first Sukuk

Omani real estate firm Tilal Development Company has persistently been asking the Capital Market Authority (CMA) for approval to raise funds by issuing a sukuk. According to Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi - executive president of CMA - as soon as Tilal are ready with a plan, CMA are ready to grant them approval for raising money by means of sukuk. Currently, the next step is for Tilal to submit a formal application for the issue. CMA are encouraging companies to float sukuk issues. The only thing necessary for bringing regulation for sukuk is a minor amendment in the Capital Market Law.

Muscat International Islamic Finance Forum publishes key recommendations

In conclusion of the two-day Muscat International Islamic Finance Forum a set of key recommendations was compiled by the organisers. The recommendations are a result of the discussions among the participants which included senior industry figures, global investors, takaful operators, bankers, as well as top Shariah scholars. The recommendations include the following areas: regulatory framework, Shariah, asset liability management (ALM), in-country value (development of real economic sectors & SME), asset / fund management, education, takaful, sukuk, and media & awareness.

Dar al Sharia to help Bank Sohar develop Islamic window

An agreement was signed between Bank Sohar and Dar al Sharia, which will build the foundations of a Shari'ah-compatible Islamic window. According to the deal, Dar al Sharia shall provide help to the Omani lender in terms of issues relating to Islamic banking and financial services. These include Shari'ah-compliant structuring and documentation services for all types of products.

Tilal seeks CMA nod for floating Sultanate's first sukuk issue

Tilal Development Company turns to Capital Market Authority (CMA) for raising funds by the country's first sukuk issue. According to Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi, executive president of CMA, they are ready to grant Tilal their approval as soon as the latter are ready with a plan. Al Salmi further added that Islamic financial instruments like sukuk are necessary for Islamic banks in order to invest their deposits. A lack of Islamic debt instruments could result in a deposit growth much higher than the anticipated growth in terms of assets which would make deposit investment very difficult.

Oman commissions KPMG to recommend changes in tax law

The government of Oman chose KPMG to work on recommendations for the amendment to the tax legislation. The amendment aims to accommodate Islamic banking products and services. Thus, Shari'ah-compliant services will not be less favourable compared with conventional products any more.

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Oman set for changes in tax laws to suit Islamic banking

The plans of the Oman government for the near future include an amendment to the current tax legislation. The goal of the amendment is accommodation of Islamic banking products and services as well as the creation of a level playing field with its conventional counterparts. The Ministry of Finance gave KPMG the project of recommendations on amending the tax legislation. Due to the different procedure regarding entering transactions, it is currently possible that the profit becomes liable to tax in the first year. This way, Islamic banks are likely to be considered disadvantageous in comparison with conventional banks.

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Does Islamic finance have a responsibility to reduce unemployment

According to expectations, financing SMEs shall be a measure to deal with unemployment in the MENA region. Reports suggest rapid growth of the market share of Islamic banking in Egypt due to the change in public policy. Smaller markets such as Oman and Morocco are also considered important in this context. Observers point out that Islamic finance is a potential source of spurring economic growth in the countries which experienced the Arab Spring. However, it is highly doubtful whether Islamic finance can solve the unemployment issue especially among young people. The question is rather if it should make conscious efforts to contribute to dealing with unemployment as part of its business strategy instead of a byproduct of its activities.

Islamic finance to be demand-driven: KPMG

KPMG organised a seminar on Islamic Finance-Lessons Learnt from abroad & Challenges faced in Oman. The seminar was the latest in a series of Breakfast Seminars held by KPMG. At the seminar, a comparative analysis of Islamic Finance models which are implemented in different countries was made and pros and cons of the different approaches were discussed at length. A methodical approach for the development of Islamic Finance industry infrastructure was pointed out to be an optimal approach for best results in Oman.

BankDhofar EGM nod for Islamic Banking Window

BankDhofar intends a move to introduce sharia-compliant banking services. Therefore, they plan the launch of an Islamic Banking window. The approval for the move was given at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the bank's shareholders. Also, it was agreed upon the appointment of a Sharia Supervisory Board.

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New vistas of growth

An issuance of a full-fledged Islamic Banking Regulatory Framework (IBRF) by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) is expected in the very near future. Therefore, Oman is ready to dive into Islamic finance. By the end of 2015 a growth in Islamic finance assets of 20% of the total banking and insurance assets in the Sultanate is expected. Investment in research and innovation is encouraged in order to meet the needs of the increasing market appetite.

KPMG to hold Islamic Finance Breakfast Seminar on Oct 15

KPMG's next seminar on "Islamic Finance — Lessons Learnt from other countries and challenges in Oman" will take place on October 15th. Its goal is to gather people involved with both the regulatory and operational aspects of Islamic Finance in Oman. The experience and approaches of other countries in implementing Islamic finance shall be discussed. Furthermore, challenges in this field in Oman shall be pointed out. As a whole, key objectives of KPMG Islamic Finance Advisory Services in Oman are to increase awareness about Islamic Finance, its issues, challenges and solutions.

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Oman finalises Islamic Banking rules

At this year's Oman Investment Forum 2012 the executive president of the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) announced that the regulatory framework for Islamic Banking has been finalised. Also, amendments to the Banking Law are being worked on. The local banks Bank Nizwa and Al Izz Islamic Bank received initial approvals to practice Islamic banking.

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Affordable housing in GCC: National policies and future needs

Affordable housing is a serious problem in the GCC countries since the population is growing. Already measures are being taken to address this problem. For example, amendments to the law on land and building regulations in Bahrain makes construction of additional houses on plots of land and the enlargement of small houses possible. The Diar Al-Muharraq project shall provide over 30,000 housing units. In Kuwait, a budget of 140 billion is designated to the cause of dealing with the urgent need for housing. The funding is part of the country's Five Year Plan 2010-14.

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Fitch issues caution over Islamic banks

Fitch Rating Agency warns about Sharia-complained banks as they do not complete with established conventional banks offering Islamic-compliant products. This is especially the case in Oman who's banking market hasn't been opened yet.

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Markets watch: new Oman banks flex muscles

After Oman allowed sharia-compliant lending last year, new Islamic banks are bolstering their balance sheets in order to challenge the sultanate's larger conventional lenders. Al Izz Islamic bank recently enabled subscription for its initial public offering of 40 per cent of the lender and reports strong interest. In addition, in June 2012 Bank Nizwa attracted 681m rials ($1.77bn) of bids in a successful share sale, which exceeds the necessary amount 11 times. However, competition is not to be underestimated.

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Insurers upset over norms for takaful firms

The move to stipulate a minimum RO10 million capital for takaful firms aroused serious concern among Oman insurance companies. Reason therefore is that such a move will most probably pose a major entry barrier for local companies. That is why insurance companies prefer window operations in takaful business like the proposed regulation in banking sector. The proposal by Capital Market Authority (CMA) concerns a minimum envisaged capital of RO10 million and a three-member board for standalone companies for Sharia-compliant takaful insurance business. Feedback from insurance companies is expected within two week's tima.

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Islamic bank assets at RO 2 billion

According to a study by Al Izz Islamic Bank, the assets of Islamic banks in Oman are expected to pass the mark of RO 2 billion by 2015. The assets of Islamic banks in the country represent 10% of the total banking assets. The study further points out several factors which stimulate Islamic monetary services the most. Among them are demographic indicators, since 72% of the Sultanate's population is aged between 15 and 80 and is mostly Muslim. The concept of Islamic financing is strongly supported by the population.

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We are positioned to lead market: Alizz bank

After Capital Market Authority (CMA) has approved of the prospectus for Alizz islamic bank's shares offering, the bank has set the launch date of its initial public offering (IPO) on September 22. The IPO consists of 400mn shares. Expextations are that the bank will draw unbanked sections of the population into the market and that by 2015 Islamic banking assets in the country will exceed RO2bn.

S&P Report Says Greater Use Of Sukuk In The GCC And Asia Could Fund Infrastructure Needs And Develop Islamic Finance Too

According ot a report by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, a trend to develop and globalize the sukuk market is being set. Since conventional banks worldwide tend to producing fewer and shorter loans, companies look for an alternative in terms of financing. In this case, it is very probable that Islamic financial instruments become a significant source of funding, particularly in the GCC and Asia. While these regions mark the center of a huge estimated $1 trillion market, they also need high capital for developing their infrastructure.

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