United Arab Emirates

Ex-Merrill Lynch big hitter Crocker leaves Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank

Stuart Crocker, global head of private banking and wealth management at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Merrill Lynch veteran, has left the bank. Regional private banks were supposed to be making a challenge to the dominance of big international players and Crocker was one of the landmark hires to bolster the case for the local Banks. Crocker joined Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) in May 2011 as global head of private banking and wealth management. Apparently, there is no replacement lined up and Crocker's exit comes amid a change of strategy at the bank. ADIB didn't respond to requests for comment.

Dubai Public Prosecution to adopt My Savings initiative

'My Savings' is a new initiative announced by the Government of Dubai in collaboration with National Bonds Corporation. During the introductory session on the goals and mechanism of the initiative, National Bonds elaborated on the benefits and advantages of the employee savings programme. The presentation was attended by senior officials,human resource directors and employees from Dubai Public Prosecution who confirmed their support for the initiative. Dubai Public Prosecution employees who opt to participate in the Shari'a compliant 'My Savings' programme will specify a fixed amount to be set aside from their salaries every month as part of their savings and Takaful plan with National Bonds Corporation. Moreover, the initiative also offers employees a 10% discount on Takaful family coverage programmes, as well access to free consultations pertaining to income management and financial planning.

Treasury Sanctions UAE-Based Evaders

The U.S. Treasury Department has placed sanctions on Al Hilal Exchange and Al Fida International General Trading, both based in Dubai. The two institutions were targeted for their role in providing financial services to Bank Mellat, which is itself under U.S. sanctions for being involved in Iran’s nuclear program. Both the exchange house and the trading company helped Iran maintain access to foreign currency Exchange. Moreover, Al Hilal also provided services to Bank Melli, which is also under U.S. sanctions. Representatives from each firm couldn’t be reached.

Can Dubai Become The World’s Leading Islamic Business Hub?

Dubai recently announced that its latest aspiration was to become the leading Islamic business hub in the world. Under the umbrella of Islamic finance, the emirate is hoping to provide the best facilities for Islamic finance instruments, Islamic insurance, the halal food industry and Islamic trade and quality-management standards. Dubai has numerous advantages as an Islamic finance hub, like its existing strong business and financial infrastructure as well as an established regulatory framework and political and socio-economic stability. Moreover, the emirate plans to set up a central Shariah board to supervise all Islamic financial products used in Dubai. However, the emirate needs to integrate a Shariah- compliant business framework with the already established conventional framework. Furthermore, Dubai also faces rivalry from the other GCC nations.

Hawkamah reaches out to regional Private Equity players for greater engagement

Hawkamah’s Private Equity Task Force aims to encourage Private Equity firms to appraise or to re-appraise their corporate governance status and to adopt best practice standards. Its remit is to assist the Private Equity Industry in the MENA region by developing corporate governance principles and practice guidelines. Leonardo Peklar, Hawkamah CEO stressed that adopting a better corporate governance culture focuses on adapting the principles to regional cultural requirements and realities. Within this framework, implementing corporate governance positively impacts performance and aligns the interests of stakeholders.

Former Goldman Sachs Executive To Lead GCC SME Lender

Brandon Short, a former Goldman Sachs investment banking executive for MENA, will join with two former senior executives from Deutsche Bank to form World Business Partners UAE ("WBP"), a small business finance company based in Dubai. The other co-founders of WBP are Doug Naidus, former Managing Director and Global Head of the Residential Lending Division of Deutsche Bank, and former Chairman and CEO of MortgageIT, and Alex Gemici, former Managing Director and Head of MENA Residential Finance for Deutsche Bank. World Business Partners UAE will offer a Shariah-compliant financing solution ranging from AED 35,000 to AED 1.5 million for small businesses seeking working capital. WBP’s ijara asset sale-leaseback program allows SMEs to use the cash equity of their existing assets to fund their businesses’ growth and expansion.

Dubai may issue sovereign bond in 2013

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, advisor to Dubai's ruler, has said the emirate may issue another sovereign bond in 2013. He also said the government is looking at alternate means to repay its debt if asset sales don't materialise. When asked if an alternative to asset sales was in place, he confirmed that they were considering it. However, he could not specify what, since it's confidential information because of the restructuring.

Emirates Islamic Bank Reports 101% Q1 Profit Jump

Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB) reported a first quarter net profit of Dhs33.2 million, a 101 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The total income for the three months rose up by 42 per cent to reach Dhs443 million. EIB also reported a 42 per cent increase in operating profit before an impairment of Dhs195 million in the first quarter. The bank’s non-performing ratio as of March 31, 2013, improved to 19.2 per cent, from 20.4 per cent on December 31, 2012. EIB’s customer deposits stood at Dhs26.3 billion while the customer financing increased five per cent to Dhs20.7 billion. The bank maintained a financing-to-deposit ratio of 93 per cent, and a capital adequacy ratio of 16.3 per cent. According to Jamal Bin Ghalaita, chief executive officer of Emirates Islamic Bank, the bank has targeted segments of SME and priority customers and also continued to develop its commercial segment.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi Financial Centers to be complementary

Industry experts and analysts said Abu Dhabi World Financial Market (ADWFM) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will complement each other in attracting investments to the UAE. The focus of the ADWFM will be on energy, oil and gas, renewable energy, carbon credits and other new products, benefitting from the fragile recovery in the USA and European markets. Abu Dhabi will differentiate this centre in terms of capabilities in annual operational costs, prompting businesses from the region and from the EU and US to invest in the UAE market.Both DIFC and ADWFM will be housing regional headquarters for many of the world’s biggest banks and finance firms as well as energy companies. The ADWFM will have a positive impact on the UAE economy regarding per capita income and unemployment.

Mashreq Capital to launch Islamic equity fund

Mashreq Bank has said its investment unit plans to set up an Islamic equity fund of up to $100m in the third quarter of this year to invest in stocks across the Gulf region, given lower returns in the bond market. Mashreq Capital hopes to raise between $75m and $100m for the fund, and will seed it with a $20m investment from the bank.

NASDAQ Dubai welcomes the listing of Sharjah Islamic Bank Sukuk during a bell ringing ceremony at DFM

Mohammed Abdulla, Chief Executive of Sharjah Islamic Bank rang the opening bell at Dubai Financial Market (DFM) to celebrate the listing of a Sukuk issued by Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) on NASDAQ Dubai. The listing of SIB's 500 million dollar Sukuk provides further support for the campaign to promote the 'Dubai the Global Center of Sukuk' initiative launched in January 2013. SIB's listing brings the nominal value of Sukuk listed on Dubai exchanges to 12.125 billion dollars. SIB's Sukuk was more than 6 times oversubscribed with 53% of the Sukuk allocated to MENA based investors, 30% allocated to investors based in Asia and 17% to investors based in Europe.

Record low borrowing costs are buoying Gulf issuers' credit quality-for now

According to a report titled "Record Low Borrowing Costs Are Boosting Gulf Issuers' Credit Quality, But Will They Last?", published by Standard & Poor's, corporate and infrastructure issuers in the Gulf region are benefitting from sustained positive macroeconomic fundamentals and strong appetite from regional and international investors. Moreover, GDP growth of 4% and above in 2013 is expected for most of the GCC nations. All GCC sovereigns have stable outlooks. The key risks to this rosy picture are an escalation in regional political instability or an unexpected fall in oil prices. Fortunately, these risks are negatively correlated, with any threat to supplies of hydrocarbons normally resulting in immediate price hikes.

SIB squeezes buyside with tight sukuk

Investors labelled a $500m sukuk from Sharjah Islamic Bank this week as exceptionally tight, but the deal nonetheless drew $3.2bn of orders on Tuesday. The sukuk priced inside the initial guidance range, ending up with a profit rate of 2.95% after the leads mooted low 3% on Monday.

ADIB closes Dhs302m syndicated Islamic financing for ENPI

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has closed an Dhs302m ($82m) syndicated Islamic financing deal for Emirates National Factory for Plastic Industries L.L.C. (ENPI). This financing will be used in conjunction with ENPI's recent acquisition of 100% share of ENPI Packaging Division by Saudi Printing & Packaging Company. ADIB acted as the Mandated Lead Arranger, Sole Bookrunner, Investment and Security Agent Bank for the deal. Other banks that participated in the financing deal included Al Hilal Bank, Mashreq Al Islami as Mandated Lead Arrangers, ADCB, Ajman Bank and FGB as Lead Arrangers.

UAE's Sharjah Islamic Bank launches $500 million sukuk

Sharjah Islamic Bank launched the sale of a $500 million sukuk on Tuesday at a profit rate of 2.95 percent. Final pricing is due to follow later on Tuesday. Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank, HSBC Holdings, Kuwait's Liquidity Management House, a unit of Kuwait Finance House , and Standard Chartered Plc are mandated lead arrangers on the sukuk.

BRIEF-Ajman Bank appoints Mohammed Zaqout chief executive officer - statement

Ajman Bank appoints Mohammed Zaqout as chief executive officer. Zaqout's appointment will be effective on April 21 pending regulatory approval.

Sharjah Islamic Bank sets guidance for 5-year sukuk

Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) will issue a $500 million five-year sukuk on Tuesday after strong demand helped the lender to set price guidance at lower end of initial indications. Lead arrangers released official price guidance at 3.125 percent. The sukuk has attracted strong demand, with order books seen over $2 billion at the time official guidance was released. The deal size has been capped at $500 million. Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank, HSBC Holdings, Kuwait's Liquidity Management House, a unit of KFH and Standard Chartered Plc are mandated lead arrangers on the sukuk.

Mystery surrounds 4% Ajman Bank purchase

An unknown investor has bought almost 4 per cent of Ajman Bank. Shares were up as much as 2.6 per cent to Dh1.58 each, after a block of 38.8 million shares were traded yesterday morning. The bank did not comment on the share movement, which represents 3.8 per cent of Ajman Bank's share capital. Ajman Bank which is 25 per cent owned by the emirate's government, has frequently been at the centre of rumours that it was the takeover target of an unnamed institutional investor,

DIB repays Finance Ministry

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has repaid the Dh3,752,543,000 deposit, in full and well ahead of contractual maturity which it received from the Ministry of Finance in 2008. In March 2013, Dubai Islamic Bank announced the successful pricing of a US$1 billion Tier 1 Capital-eligible issuance, with a perpetual (non-call 6) maturity which will provide a significant boost to the current Tier 1 Capital ratio. For the 12 months ended December 31, 2012, DIB group reported a net profit of Dh1.19 billion, compared to Dh1.05 billion in 2011, an increase of 13 per cent while the bank continues to boast one of the best liquidity ratios (88.7% as December 2012) in the market.

Dana Gas reports progress in operations, sukuk restructuring

Dana Gas said it has collected a total of Dhs271m ($73.7m) in receivables so far this year. Payment delays were behind Dana Gas's default on a $1bn convertible sukuk last year on Oct. 31, the sukuk's maturity date. Dana Gas added it was on track to complete the Sukuk refinancing process in the second quarter of 2013. The sukuk-holder meeting and final shareholder meeting to approve the refinancing transaction will be held on April 23 2013.

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