United Arab Emirates

Islamic banks prove resilient in face of economic headwinds

Islamic banks in the UAE have proved that they are better equipped to deal with a difficult operating environment than their conventional peers, with all leading institutions reporting strong growth in assets, profits and asset quality in 2015. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), the largest Islamic bank in the UAE by total assets, reported a group net profit of Dh3.83 billion, up 37 per cent compared Dh2.8 billion in 2014. Total income increased to Dh7.54 billion, up 21 per cent compared with Dh6.23 billion for 2014. Net revenue increased to Dh6.48 billion, up 19 per cent compared with Dh5.43 billion for the year 2014. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s (ADIB) full-year net profit stood at Dh1.93 billion in 2015, growing 10.5 per cent on the previous year.

Sharia compliant banks deliver strong investor returns

Islamic banks in the UAE delivered strong shareholder returns last year as they reported strong earnings and better asset quality. Dubai Islamic Bank’s (DIB) earnings per share increased to Dh0.81 in 2015 from Dh0.61 in 2014, return on assets increased by 40 basis points to 2.80 per cent in 2015 from 2.4 per cent in 2014. Return on equity increased by 190 basis points to 19.8 per cent in 2015 from 17.9 per cent in 2014. For the year, the DIB board has recommended distribution of a cash dividend of 45 per cent. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s (ADIB) maintained strong liquidity position while simultaneously continuing to manage its cost of funding.

Abu Dhabi Financial Group lifts stake in GFH to 10 pct

The capital markets arm of Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) has raised its stake in Dubai-listed GFH Financial Group to 10 percent, ADFG said on Wednesday. Integrated Capital's stake was 7.4 percent previously, data from the Dubai Financial Market shows. Bahrain-based GFH, an Islamic investment bank, is among the most traded stocks on Dubai's bourse. The shares have gained 41 percent since the end of November, while Dubai's index fell 4.4 percent over the same period. ADFG has about $3.2 billion in assets under management, its statement said.

Emirates Foundation and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank announce Partnership in support of Financial Literacy in the UAE

Emirates Foundation and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) have partnered in support of financial literacy through Emirates Foundation's programme 'Esref Sah', which aims to educate youth on ways to manage their current and future financial and asset base. The three-year agreement was signed by Mohanna Al Muhairi, Chief Operations Officer of Emirates Foundation , and Mohamed Ali Al Fahim. Region Head, Corporate Banking. With a commitment of AED 1.5 million, the agreement, which offers both financial and knowledge-sharing technical support, is in line with the Foundation's business philanthropy model. On the other hand, this partnership comes as part of ADIB's UAE vision to invest in development programmes.


Al Hilal Takaful has signed a distribution agreement in Abu Dhabi with Euler Hermes, specialized in trade credit insurance. The agreement was forged recently at Al Bahr Towers, Al Hilal Bank’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, during a special ceremony attended by Euler Hermes’ Regional Board. The partnership will enable Al Hilal Bank’s Abu Dhabi customers to take advantage of a broad range of trade credit insurance solutions for the management of business-to-business trade receivables offered by Euler Hermes.

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group Announces its Sustainable Business Leadership Forum 2016

The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) announces the upcoming Sustainable Business Leadership Forum. The Forum fosters sustainable development, innovation, and responsible business growth. The Forum offers a platform for sustainability practitioners from every sector to share their sustainability practices. The Forum will also provide opportunities to learn from regional sustainability leaders and be exposed to some of the latest sustainability approaches from global thought-leaders. The Abu Dhabi Sustainable Business Leadership Forum will take place from: 17-18 February 2016, in Abu Dhabi.

UPDATE 1-Sharjah reopens Gulf sukuk market with $500 mln 5-year deal

The emirate of Sharjah priced a $500 million five-year Islamic bond issue on Wednesday. The deal will help Sharjah narrow its budget deficit and also pave the way for other regional borrowers to complete deals after a lull of nearly three months as Gulf financial markets wobbled under pressure from increased geopolitical risk and oil prices slumping to a 12-year low. The deal was priced at a spread of 250 basis points over midswaps, the document showed, at around the same level as the initial price thoughts set on Tuesday. Adjusting for the tenor extension, the current transaction paid a new issue premium of between 35 and 40 bps, several investors and bankers said. The bond performed well in the secondary market with bid/offer quotes of 100.15-100.35.

Sharjah launches $500m 5-year sukuk

The Emirate of Sharjah priced a $500 million five-year Islamic bond issue on Wednesday. The deal will help Sharjah narrow its budget deficit and also pave the way for other regional borrowers. In the uncertain atmosphere, the five-year sukuk drew orders north of $950 million, a comfortable amount but much smaller than the $7.85 billion the emirate attracted for a $750 million, 10-year sukuk in September 2014. The shrinking orderbook reflects foreign investors' increasing nervousness about the impact of lower crude prices on the economy and local market appetite. The deal was priced at a spread of 250 basis points over midswaps, the document showed, at around the same level as the initial price thoughts set on Tuesday.

Sharjah says targeting 5-yr sukuk, could issue as soon as this week

The emirate of Sharjah is targeting a five-year sukuk offering and could launch a transaction as early as this week, a document from lead arrangers showed on Tuesday. The sovereign finished roadshows on Monday in London, following investor meetings in the Middle East and Asia last week, and was now in the process of receiving feedback from the market, the document added. The emirate mandated Bank Of Sharjah, Barclays, Commerzbank, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC and Sharjah Islamic Bank to arrange the meetings and the possible transaction. Sharjah was reported to be planning to raise funds through a dollar-denominated sukuk of benchmark size, in what could be the first sovereign Islamic bond issuance from the region this year.

Emirates Islamic net profit up 76 per cent in 2015

Emirates Islamic has announced its full-year financial results for 2015, with the bank reporting strong growth for the fourth consecutive year. For the twelve months ending December 31, 2015, the bank reported a net profit of AED 641 million, a 76 per cent year-on-year increase. The bank's total net income (net of customers' share of profit) during the period rose to AED 2.43 billion, up 25 percent compared to AED 1.95 billion in 2014. The bank recently launched the ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™, a consumer focused survey on Islamic Banking in the UAE. In addition, Emirates Islamic introduced EI Trade, a customised Shari'a-compliant online trade and supply chain platform for its business and corporate customers.

How Islamic finance plugs SME fund gap

Despite prominence in economic activity, SMEs face a funding challenge. November 2014 figures from Souqalmal.com showed that a mere 28% of respondents had resorted to bank financing, while a full 31% were self-funded. This is a gap that Islamic finance offerings can address. Despite this obvious synergy, Islamic finance is still gearing up to effectively service SME needs regionally. The first challenge is one of volume: there are simply not enough Shariah-compliant banks around. This has a chilling effect on SME financing, particularly in those countries where local SMEs won't consider non-Islamic finance. However, the picture is changing for the better as Islamic finance becomes mainstream and is supported by better regulation.

Hawkamah celebrates tenth anniversary

Hawkamah, the Institute for Corporate Governance at the Dubai International Financial Centre and the first centre specialised in Governance in the GCC, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Over the last decade, Hawkamah has offered advisory services and courses across the Middle East and North Africa region. The Centre is marking its 10th anniversary with the launch of several new strategic initiatives. One of Hawkamah’s milestones in the first quarter of 2016 will be the graduation of the first intake of the Women Directors’ Program, in collaboration with Dubai Women Establishment. The institute will also launch the Arabic version of its flagship ‘Director Development Program’, the DDP. The aim of the programme is to build an understanding of corporate governance and increase the capacity of business leaders.

DP World tops Pan Arab governance index for third time

For the third year running, DP World is the top stock in the S&P/Hawkamah Pan Arab ESG Index. The index is the first of its kind in the Arab world and ranks the transparency and disclosure of regional listed companies based on Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) metrics. The participants are derived from the top 150 Pan Arab companies, by total market capitalisation, listed on stock markets of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabic, Tunisia and the UAE. The index is reconstituted once a year in December and the names of the top 10 companies are announced. It gathers information in the public domain, mainly from Annual Report and Accounts, to assess the leading company.

Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank closes $175 mln two-yr Islamic loan - sources

Abu Dhabi's government-owned Al Hilal Bank has closed a $175 million Islamic loan transaction with three banks, sources aware of the matter said on Thursday. The loan has a life span of two years. The transaction was arranged by Commerzbank, Emirates NBD and National Bank of Abu Dhabi, they added. Al Hilal Bank's spokesman declined to comment. The sharia-compliant lender is one of a number of Gulf-based banks seeking funds to help ease a squeeze on liquidity caused by lower oil prices. The sources on Thursday declined to give the pricing of the loan, although bankers said in November that Al Hilal Bank was marketing the loan with all-in pricing of 150 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor).

Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank: Dubai is leading the revolution in Islamic banking

Looking to 2016 and beyond, innovation will continue to be critical for the ongoing development of the Islamic finance industry. For instance, efficiency can still be improved as Sharia-compliant institutions still lag behind their conventional counterparts, and are increasingly looking to embrace technological innovation in order to minimise operational costs as well as project a modern face of banking that would appeal to a younger generation of customers, which will be critical for ongoing growth. Another area of development is the Islamic asset management sector, as the range of services available remains quite limited and there is a general lack of quality products in this space.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Arab Gulf Fund Program for Development (AGFUND) to Co-Host 18th Microcredit Summit, “Frontier Innovations in Financial Inclusion,” March 15-17, 2016, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The 18th Microcredit Summit, “Frontier Innovations in Financial Inclusion” will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on March 15-17, 2016. The objective of the event is to provide a platform for participants to discuss financial inclusion policies, regulatory frameworks, resilience and empowerment solutions, microfinance products, and synergies with the aim of promoting social inclusion for all. The conference will address themes: (1) “National Financial Inclusion Strategies;” (2) “Pathways to Social & Financial Inclusion;” and (3) “Partnerships that Build Bridges to New Frontiers.” Additional information is available on the event website http://18microcreditsummit.org/.

Sharjah to meet investors ahead of potential dollar sukuk - leads

The emirate of Sharjah has picked six banks to arrange investor meetings starting next week ahead of a potential dollar-denominated sukuk issue, a document from lead arrangers showed on Wednesday. The sovereign has mandated Bank Of Sharjah, Barclays, Commerzbank, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC and Sharjah Islamic Bank to arrange the transaction. Investor meetings will be held starting Sunday in the Middle East, Asia and the United Kingdom and a deal will follow subject to market conditions, the document added.

Noor Bank declared "Most Socially Responsible Bank"™

Noor Bank was named the "Most Socially Responsible Bank"™ at the "2015 Islamic Business Awards"™ ceremony hosted by the reputed CPI Financial. Amjad Naser, Head of Sharia™, Noor Bank, collected the award at the event, which took place at the Emirates Towers Hotel on 10 December. Noor Bank was honoured for its commitment towards enhancing and enriching the lives of the less fortunate. The CPI Financial judging panel nominated the bank among several other industry leading banks in the United Arab Emirates. Following the initial nomination, Noor Bank was voted the unanimous winner by financial professionals within the region.

Nakheel makes Dhs 220m sukuk profit payment

Dubai-based developer Nakheel confirmed that it made a profit payment of Dhs 220m on its trade creditor sukuk. The company said that it has instructed Deutsche Bank, the registrar and paying agent, to make the profit payment to all sukuk holders on the due date of December 15, 2015 against the sukuk issued amount of Dhs 4.4bn to date. Nakheel’s last profit payment on its Dhs 4.4bn sukuk was issued in June this year. The company posted a net profit of Dhs 3.61bn in the first nine months of 2015, up 39 per cent compared to Dhs 2.6bn in the same period last year. The developer has paid off debts worth Dhs 7.9bn and is continuing to make payments on its Dhs 4.4bn sukuk, which is due to mature in August 2016.

Al Hilal Bank appoints Khaled Abdulla Neamat AlKhoori as new CEO

Al Hilal Bank announced the appointment of Khaled Abdulla Neamat AlKhoori as its new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to his appointment at Al Hilal Bank, Khaled AlKhoori held a number of positions at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). At ADIA, Khaled was responsible for managing the firm’s global investment mandate, ensuring a balance between different investment styles, geographies and sectors. He also served as Director of the Private Equity Department for three years, focusing on mega funds and credit investments in the US and European markets. Khaled AlKhoori holds a Summa Cum Laude BSBA degree in Finance and Accounting from Boston University, US, and has completed a General Manager Program from the Harvard Business School in 2005.

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