United Arab Emirates

Ajman Bank appoints CEO

Ajman Bank has appointed Mohammad Amiri as its new chief executive officer (CEO). A UAE national, Amiri served Ajman Bank in various capacities from October 2010 to April 2013, first as deputy CEO before being promoted as acting CEO. In his career in financial services, Amiri has been associated with leading organisations such as Dubai Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and HSBC Bank Middle East Limited in senior management positions.

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.

UAE banks to get 5 years to obey exposure rules -association

In an effort to prevent any repeat of Dubai's corporate debt crisis, the UAE central bank plans to restrict the amount of exposure banks can have to the debt of government-related entities. The rules will be issued by the end of this year and banks are expected to be given about five years to finish complying with them. A period of consultations between the central bank and commercial banks ensued. Last week, the UAE central bank issued restrictions on mortgage loans in order to limit speculation in the real estate market; the caps were not as stringent as initially planned because of lobbying by the banking industry.

IDB to launch Dh37 billion sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has announced that it intends to list Dh37 billion sukuk programme on Nasdaq Dubai. The move represents a momentous addition to the constant successes of ‘Dubai the Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative. Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani, president of the IDB, said that Dubai’s exchange and regulatory architecture together with its commitment to providing Islamic finance solutions of high quality make it a natural home for IDB's securities. It is noteworthy that Dubai capital markets have successfully attracted sukuk issues of Dh46 billion since the launch of ‘Dubai, the global sukuk centre’, and this number is expected to reach Dh60 billion by year end.

Emirates Islamic Bank floats US $1bn sukuk on NASDAQ Dubai

Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB) listed two sukuk, each with a nominal value of 500 million dollars, a total of 1 billion dollars (AED 3.67 billion), on NASDAQ Dubai. The issuances raised the total value of Sukuk listed on Dubai’s exchanges to 12.08 billion dollars (AED 44.4 billion), the third largest amount in the world. The listing of EIB’s Sukuk on NASDAQ Dubai took place in September. The yield on the HSBC/ NASDAQ Dubai US Dollar NASDAQ Dubai-Listed Sukuk Index has fallen to 3.76% from 4.5% at the beginning of September, implying greater demand for the securities in the index.

United Arab Emirates: Dubai Islamic Bank puts the past behind it

Dubai Islamic Bank, the UAE’s largest Islamic lender, is refocusing on growth, says CEO Adnan Chilwan. This year, Chilwan expects a double-digit rise in DIB’s financing portfolio for the first time since 2008. Chilwan says that in early 2014 DIB’s ratio of non-performing assets will fall below 10%. DIB is reaping the benefits of a rebounding local real estate market, but Chilwan says he is not fuelling another bubble in the sector. He also says the bank aims to reduce the proportion of its portfolio dedicated to real estate financing to between 22% and 25%. According to Chilwan, an important part of efforts to sustainably grow the bank’s revenues has been a greater focus on retail: including personal and car finance, as well as mortgages.

First Gulf Bank acquires Aseel Islamic Finance

First Gulf Bank (FGB) has increased its stakes in Aseel Islamic Finance, through a purchase agreement which has raised the bank’s ownership from 40% to 100%. With a paid-up capital of AED 800 million, Aseel is now FGB’s Islamic banking and finance arm, planning to develop more products for small medium enterprises. Aseel Islamic Finance will maintain an independent board of directors with Hana Al Rostamani as the Chairperson, while Javed Afzal was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer.

Fitch Affirms Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank at 'A+'; Outlook Stable

Fitch Ratings has affirmed UAE-based Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank 's (ADIB) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A+' with a Stable Outlook, and Viability Rating (VR) at 'bb'. The bank's IDRs, Support Rating and Support Rating Floor reflect
Fitch's opinion that there would be an extremely high probability that support would be provided by the UAE authorities if needed. In addition, Fitch believes that support would be forthcoming from the Abu Dhabi government (AA/Stable/F1+). Although Fitch expects the overall asset quality issues and exposure to a seasoning financing book to continue to present challenges in the short term, these are manageable. Fitch believes that the VR remains sensitive to any deterioration in asset quality, capital or profitability.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank arranges Islamic financing deal for London property

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has arranged a £20 million (Dh118.02 million) structured Islamic financing transaction to fund the development of Westbourne House, a prime 1980s commercial property in central London, combining office and retail space. ADIB’s financing package for Westbourne House was specifically tailored to meet the investors’ aims of acquiring, refurbishing and reselling high-value luxury properties to overseas buyers. The deal marks ADIB’s debut in London’s real estate market at a time when the British government is promoting the city as a centre for Islamic finance.

EIIB-Rasmala eyes mid-market European sukuk, doubling assets

EIIB-Rasmala, a venture between London-based European Islamic Investment Bank and Dubai's Rasmala Group, plans to widen its range of Islamic investment products with the hope of doubling assets under management over the next two years. The firm, which manages over $1 billion in assets, sees growing mid-market opportunities for its Islamic asset management and investment banking business lines, chief executive Zulfi Hydari said. By mid-market, the firm means medium-sized customers which may no longer be served by big investment banks. In investment banking, the firm is focused on arranging Islamic bonds, with deal sizes between $75 million to $150 million. Earlier this month, the firm already arranged the first tranche of a $100 million sukuk programme from FWU Group.



First Gulf Bank acquires full ownership of Aseel Islamic Finance

First Gulf Bank (FGB) has increased its stakes in Aseel Islamic Finance, through a purchase agreement which has raised the bank's ownership from 40% to 100%. With a paid-up capital of AED 800 million, Aseel is now FGB's Islamic banking and finance arm. Aseel will offer a full-fledged range of Islamic solutions, such as Business Financing, Murabaha and Ijarah products for SMEs, Takaful, Investment products, Corporate Deposits, and Trade facilities in addition to Real Estate services. It will also share responsibility for managing the bank's existing Emirati Al Awwal Islamic savings certificates programme, Transaction Accounts and Individual Deposits. Aseel Islamic Finance will maintain an independent board of directors with Hana Al Rostamani as the Chairperson, while Javed Afzal was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer.

Fitch Rates Al Hilal Bank's USD2.5bn Trust Certificate Programme 'A+'/'F1'

Fitch Ratings has assigned Al Hilal Bank's (Al Hilal; A+/Stable/F1) USD2.5bn trust certificate issuance programme a final Long-term rating of 'A+' and a final Short-term rating of 'F1'. At the same time, Fitch has assigned Al Hilal's USD500m senior unsecured fixed rate certificates (sukuk) issued under the programme a Long-term rating of 'A+'. The certificates have a profit rate of 3.267% per annum and mature on 8 October 2018. The ratings assigned to the programme and the certificates are driven solely by Al Hilal's Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs), as the sukuk structure is viewed as an originator-backed/asset-based structure. The ratings of the trust certificate issuance programme and the certificates are highly sensitive to any rating action on Al Hilal.

Islamic Development Bank considering sukuk programme in Dubai

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is considering setting up an Islamic bond issuance programme in Dubai. It would be the IDB's first sukuk programme in a Middle Eastern country. While discussions are at an early stage, the IDB has seen growing demand for its sukuk and already plans to expand its main London-listed programme to $10 billion from the current $6.5 billion.The IDB sukuk could offer a much-needed boost to trading volumes and encourage issuers from outside the emirate to choose Dubai as their listing venue. Support for sukuk issuance is part of a broad cooperation agreement signed in July between the IDB and the government of Dubai.

Islamic Microfinance should be Introduced Internationally: Dr. Fatima Al-Blooshi

Islamic Microfinance is an effective tool for the poverty alleviation and it should be introduced around the globe to state an effective policy for ultimate poverty alleviation from the world, Dr. Fatima Mohamed Yousif Al-Balooshi, Minister (Ministry of Social Development - Bahrain) stated. Dr. Fatima Al-Blooshi was speaking as a Chief Guest in the 3rd Global Islamic Microfinance Forum (GIMF) held on 6th to 8th October, 2013 in Dubai. Muhammad Zubair Mughal (CEO - AlHuda CIBE), said that the involvement of interest in micro financing is one of the major causes behind the increasing poverty in Muslim countries. He said that the forum aimed to streamline the policies for poverty reduction, to promote the Research and Education in Islamic Microfinance industry and to enhance its outreach on global canvas.

Al Hilal Bank's debut Sukuk oversubscribed at $6.3 billion

Al Hilal Bank (AHB), rated A1by Moody's and A+ by Fitch, priced its highly successful debut $500 million Sukuk issued at par with 3.267 per cent semi-annual profit rate with a spread of 170 bps over the US Dollar at five-year mid swaps (MS). AHB, Citigroup, HSBC, NBAD and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Joint-Lead Managers and Joint Bookrunners, with BIBD, Maybank IB, SIB and UNB acting as co-Managers. The geographical distribution of the issue was as follows: 37 per cent to the UAE, 21 per cent to the rest of the Middle East, 22 per cent to Asia, 17 per cent to Europe, and 3 per cent to US offshore investors. The Trust Certificates will be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange under AHB’s $2.5 billion Trust Certificate Programme.

Ajman Bank's new Acting CEO

The Board of Ajman Bank has decided not to confirm CEO, Mohammed Zaqout and instead named on an interim basis Seifeldin Abdelkareem as the Acting CEO. The decision has been taken by mutual agreement, the board said. The bank maintained earnings momentum recording a breakthrough performance with record growth rate of 382 per cent in 2012 year-end compared to 2011 year-end. Ajman Bank began its operations in 2008 and now operates 11 branches across the UAE.

UAE's Ajman Bank sacks CEO

Ajman Bank has sacked its Chief Executive Mohammed Zaqout, less than six months after appointing him to lead the United Arab Emirates' lender. The Islamic bank said it had terminated the services of Zaqout with effect from Sunday, with Chief Financial Officer Seifeldin Abdelkareem becoming acting CEO. The bank, listed on the Dubai Financial Market since 2008, is 25-percent owned by the government of Ajman.

Seven pillars of wisdom for Dubai’s three-year Islamic hub strategy

Dubai has embarked on a three-year strategy to place itself firmly at the centre of the Islamic economy. The first steps in the seven-pillar plan, which includes 46 initiatives to be implemented within a three-year window – reduced from five – will be taken next year. The seven separate strategic directions are: finance; the halal food industry; family friendly tourism; the digital economy; fashion, arts and design; economic education; and standards and certification. Dubai has already launched plans to be a global centre for the issuance of sukuk to challenge the supremacy of sukuk centres such as London and Kuala Lumpur. Next month the emirate will host the first Global Islamic Economy Summit, organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and the international news and information group Thomson Reuters.

Al Hilal Bank prices USD500m sukuk

Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank priced its debut $500m five-year sukuk issue, as Gulf issuers flood back to the market to take advantage of conducive market conditions. The transaction priced at par with a profit rate of 3.267 percent and a spread of 170 basis points over midswaps. The spread had tightened significantly from the initial price thoughts, released on Sunday, which had indicated a spread of 190 bps over the benchmark.

Islamic Finance Forging Ahead Despite Contrasting Fortunes

Global Islamic Finance is expected to maintain its rapid pace of growth, strengthening its credibility as a real alternative to conventional finance. However, structural problems continue to limit its potential while its growth has made the industry more sensitive to global economic fluctuations. The contrasting fortunes shaping Islamic Finance will be the subject of a conference to be hosted by S&P in Dubai on 2 October, 2013. Prospects for the Sukuk sector will be one of the key focuses of the Conference. Another major theme is the widening sovereign adoption of Islamic Finance instruments. S&P analysts from across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America and a panel of senior Islamic Finance industry participants will speak at the S&P Islamic Finance Conference.

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