United Arab Emirates

GFH to list $200m sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House plans to list its upcoming $200 million (Dh734 million) sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. The company said in a statement to Dubai Financial Market that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dubai bourse to list the Islamic bond. GFH said it plans to use the proceeds from the sukuk to repay current outstanding sukuk of $84 million and undertake business acquisitions for financial consolidation and project development in Bahrain and Dubai. The $200 million sukuk will take place in the coming months and a date will be announced later after the approval by the regulatory authorities.

DEWA: A sustained and serious commitment to CSR values and community development

The community and social initiatives launched by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority ( DEWA ) are an integral part of its strategy to serve the public good. DEWA is not only concerned with the provision of power and water, but also making efforts to enhance growth and prosperity in Dubai and the UAE through its social programmes and initiatives. Dubai's first Earth Hour was in 2008, and is one of the many initiatives organised by DEWA to raise awareness about the importance of rationalising consumption of energy. Besides, DEWA organised several environmental activities and awareness programmes to mark World Water Day. Moreover, DEWA organises the Consumer Award to encourage customers to reduce their consumption of electricity and water and follow environmentally-friendly practices.

Noor Bank appoints new Treasurer

Noor Bank announced the appointment of Damian White as Treasurer in a statement on Sunday. The role entails managing the bank’s trading activities, investment portfolio and the sale of market based treasury products to customers. As Chairman of the Asset and Liability Committee, he is also in charge of asset and liability management of the balance sheet. Previously, White served as Group Treasurer of Al Rajhi Bank, based in Riyadh. Before moving to the Middle East he was associated with the National Australia Bank, Melbourne, as Head of Group Funding, and also operated as the Head of the Funding Desk at Lehman Brothers Treasury, London.

Takaful chairman steps down

The Chairman of Islamic insurer Abu Dhabi National Takaful Co. (Takaful) resigned on Tuesday, according to a statement on the Abu Dhabi bourse. No explanation was giving for Khadem Al Qubaisi’s resignation. He has been replaced by Vice-Chairman Khamis Buharoon. Nasser M. Al Murr Al Za’abi has filled the vacated board seat, according to a separate statement on the bourse. Last month, Takaful reported a nearly 25 per cent drop in second quarter net profits. The company made Dh15 million in net profits for the three months ending June 30. Takaful said the fall in net profits was largely due to the increase in net claims incurred in the motor line of business. Earlier, Al Qubaisi was reported to have said that Takaful is in the process of obtaining an international financial rating.

Islamic banks allow tobacco purchase now

Islamic banks that previously did not allow their cards to be used to make purchases at tobacco-selling stores have now changed their policy, except for one of the capital’s major banks. However, all Islamic banking institutions still do not allow their debit and credit cards to make payments at liquor stores and bars. The capital’s national Islamic bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), has implemented this only this year and is still strictly prohibiting their clients from using their cards at alcohol-serving locations. Meanwhile, other institutions such as Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) and Al Hilal Bank have more rigorous policies pertaining to the use of their cards at bars, tobacco-selling facilities and casinos. However, there is a loophole since customers can use the cards in places that serve alcohol but are not registered as bars or liquor stores.

Global Islamic Microfinance Forum to be organized in Dubai

The Global Islamic Microfinance Forum (GIMF) will be organized jointly by AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) and AKHUWAT on November 01-02, 2014. The purpose of this 4th GIMF is to unite Islamic Microfinance Industry under one roof. Islamic microfinance is going through big challenges e.g. non availability of Shariah Compliant funds, misconceptions regarding Islamic microfinance, lack of man power, regularity and Shariah problem. The purpose of this forum is to gather the stakeholders under one platform to find out the remedy to these problems to give a strong support to rapidly increasing Islamic Microfinance industry.

UAE Islamic banking assets crossed $95b in 2013

The UAE is emerging as a serious player in the Islamic banking market with total Islamic banking assets growing to about $95 billion (Dh348.9 billion) in 2013 compared to $83 billion in 2012, according to a report by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry based on a recent study by Ernst and Young. The report shows that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for Islamic banking assets in the UAE is expected to be about 17 per cent over the period 2013-2018. The Dubai Chamber report, however, points out that many Islamic retail banks suffer from lower profitability than the conventional banks, mainly due to higher expenses attributed to complex products, lengthy process steps and more interfaces.

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.

UAE No.1 Middle East debt capital market in H1

The UAE was the most active nation in the Middle East in terms of debt capital market activity in the first half, accounting for 55 per cent of activity at $12.1 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia with 28 per cent. Bonds issued in the Middle East during the first half of 2014 fell 16 per cent from the same period last year, to $22 billion, dragged down by a slow first quarter. Investment grade corporate debt totalled $16.4 billion and accounted for 90 per cent of the first half total. M&A activity totalled $14 billion in the quarter, 2-1/2 times the value registered during the previous quarter. However, the value of M&A deals during the first half of 2014 declined four per cent from the same period last year to $19.7 billion.

DMCC Executive Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem launches

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, DMCC, announced the launch of the organisation's latest CSR initiative, the 'DMCC Foundation'. The ' DMCC Foundation' will be a non-denominational fund to be governed by independent trustees appointed by the DMCC Executive Chairman to oversee the disbursements of funds. All DMCC employees will be encouraged to contribute 2.5 per cent of the average saving potential of their annual salary. The DMCC Executive Chairman has already led by example in doing so. Ahmed Bin Sulayem hopes to encourage other organisations in Dubai to take on the CSR challenge to bring the UAE to forefront of donating nations in the future.

Bahrain's GFH buys Dubailand plot for mixed-use project

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) has signed a land sale agreement to establish a new mixed-use residential development in Dubailand. The agreement with Dubai Properties Group (DPG) involves the purchase of a total area of approximately 1,200,000 square feet of land. The project aims to build residential, commercial and retail space and facilities within Dubailand. The new development includes both villas and apartments in the residential part of the project and is expected to launch later this year. The project is scheduled to be completed within the next five years.

The strange story of Gulf Finance House shares

The shares Bahrain’s Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House (GFH), at the Dubai Financial Market, rose close to limit up, by 14.86 percent last Tuesday. The number of trades in GFH stock increased by almost two and a half times on the day before, while volumes were also up many times over. On Wednesday morning, GFH put out a statement saying that it had bought a 1.2 million square foot plot of land from Dubai Properties Group in Dubailand, on which it plans to build residential property. Following the announcement GFH shares rose by another 4.6 percent on Wednesday, closing at AED3.47. The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) did not say whether it would take this specific issue further.

Moody’s Shows Sharjah Coming of Age With Sukuk: Islamic Finance

Sharjah, the third-biggest sheikhdom in the United Arab Emirates, is getting bigger in Shariah finance. The emirate has reportedly approached banks about a debut sukuk sale. Moody’s Investors Service last week gave state-backed Sharjah Islamic Bank PJSC an A3 rating, citing its strong capital buffers. While Moody’s said that Sharjah’s economic growth this year is expected to be only 0.5 percent, the ratings company also pointed to the government’s low levels of debt and strong finances. Sharjah’s economy is well-diversified, with strong manufacturing and a more affordable cost of conducting business than in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Barwa Bank opens representative office in DIFC

Barwa Bank , Sharia compliant banking service provider from Qatar, has announced the opening of a representative office in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). ?Currently in its fifth year of operation, Barwa Bank enjoys strong relations with major corporates, an increasingly growing SME portfolio and one of the fastest growing retail banking activities in Qatar. This momentum is expected to increase in 2014, as it continues to build up activities. This is the first time Barwa Bank has opened an office overseas and is in line with the bank's plans to develop the Sharia-compliant financial market outside as well as within Qatar, said Khalid Al Subeai, Acting CEO at Barwa Bank.

DIFC favours single Sharia board for all institutions

The DIFC is considering creating a single centralised Sharia board for the DIFC , in order to widen the acceptability of any one Islamic institution’s offerings and overcome the problems created by every institution having its own Sharia board and, therefore, limiting the liquidity of the market. Regulatory arbitrage is a problem in the global Islamic financial markets where every institution has its own Shariah board. A centralised DIFC Shariah board would help standardize the Islamic financial products and widen the number of people participating. Still there is not one global standard and every country has its own requirements which is not helping the development of Islamic finance.

Emirates NBD becomes a global leader in arranging US dollar sukuk

Emirates NBD has announced that its Investment Bank is ranked as the leading arranger of US dollar denominated sukuk globally. According to league tables published by Bloomberg, from January 2014 to June 2014, Emirates NBD Investment Bank arranged 10 dollar sukuk issuances aggregating to $5.4 billion, which is the highest number of dollar denominated sukuk issuances led by any arranger during this period. This achievement is the latest in a series of recognitions for Emirates NBD Investment Bank, which has also recently been named the “Best Regional Bank of the Year” by IFR Middle East (Thomson Reuters) and “Best Debt House” by EMEA Finance.

AlKhair Capital successfully manages the last listings of Dar Al Arkan sukuk

AlKhair Capital Dubai has successfully managed the last listing of Sukuk by the Saudi property developer Dar Al Arkan Real Estate & Development Company. AlKhair Capital Dubai was the financial advisor for the Sukuk listings program on Nasdaq Dubai, with a total value of $1.15 billion. The Sukuk program, in US dollars, included a $400 million, listing - the third tranche which was issued last month and orders opened on May 20, 2014. The value of the orders was 2.3 oversubscribed the size of the tranche exporters. The third tranche was issued for five years and will mature on May 28, 2019 at a coupon rate of 6.50%.

Standard Chartered Saadiq opens Islamic Banking Centre in UAE

Standard Chartered Saadiq, the Islamic banking division of Standard Chartered Bank, opened its first dedicated Islamic Banking Centre in the UAE at the Al Khalidiya Branch in Abu Dhabi. The launch of Saadiq Islamic Banking Centre comes in response to the increasing demand for Islamic banking service, the bank said. Standard Chartered has the largest retail distribution network among international banks operating in the UAE with 11 branches, five Electronic Banking Units and more than 90 ATMs and Cash Deposit Machines spread across the country. Standard Chartered Saadiq is the only international bank offering Sharia-compliant retail banking services in the UAE.

Nakheel rules out Sukuk and looks to bank debt

Nakheel has said that it will not sell Sukuk to fund its growth plans, in the hope that its recovery from the risk of default in 2009 will help it secure cheaper funding from banks. Chairman of Nakheel, Ali Rashed Lootah, said the firm will not go for a bond because bonds are more expensive than commercial lending from the banks actually. He considers Nakheel being in a strong position to negotiate with lenders, with banks, and get good terms especially after what they have achieved.

Sharjah Islamic gets A3/Prime — 2 issuer rating from Moody’s

Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday assigned to Sharjah Islamic Bank ( SIB ) issuer ratings of A3/Prime-2 and a stand-alone bank financial strength rating of D+, which is equivalent to baseline credit assessment (BCA) of baa3. The rating assignment reflects SIB’s very strong capital buffers, relatively low borrower and sector concentrations and satisfactory profitability and liquidity metrics, according to the rating agency. Moody’s assessment of Sharjah Islamic Bank’s franchise takes into account the growing importance of Islamic finance and associated franchise opportunities in the United Arab Emirates, according to the rating agency.

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