Real Estate

SEDCO Capital outsources external Shari’a Audit of its $160 million real estate funds to Shariyah Review Bureau

SEDCO Capital announced assigning the External Shari’a Audit of its $160 million real estate funds to Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB). The two funds which SRB will be periodically auditing the implementation of the Shari’a h guidelines are SEDCO Capital Partners Group Opportunities Fund and SEDCO Capital Real Estate Income Fund I. SRB will independently ensure that the investments, Zakah verification, implementation of the modalities and reporting functions are conducted in accordance with the Shari’a guidelines set out by SEDCO Capital Shari’a Supervisory Board.

Warning over tax clampdown on property owners

Plans to levy capital gains tax on property owners who hold their homes through a company structure risk discouraging investment in the private rented sector, tax specialists and investors warn. Scott Nicol, vice-president of Gatehouse Bank, which channels Middle Eastern investors' money into UK property, said he was also worried about the proposals. Gatehouse backed Sigma Capital last year to develop 6,600 privately rented houses in a deal worth £700m. If all the homes are built, Sigma will become Britain's biggest private landlord.

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.

Islamic lender Gatehouse Bank sets up £11.7m Fitzrovia funding

Gatehouse?Bank has completed its first real estate financing deal. The £11.7m deal funds a joint venture between Princeton Property Partners and Resolution Property, and will turn an office block in Fitzrovia into eight flats. Meanwhile, Gatehouse Bank has hired Nick Westoby from RBS, Arnaud Schaller from Credit Agricole and Eduardo Martin from Banco Popular Espanol to bolster its real estate financing unit. Gatehouse said it has financing deal worth more than £500m in the pipeline.

QIB-UK offers property opportunities in London

QIB-UK, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), is offering real estate investment opportunities for premium clients looking to purchase properties in London. The bank’s network gives interested clients early access to residential real estate opportunities. They will enjoy privileged introductions to opportunities in the London real estate market both for buyers and investors alike. In addition, the bank offers a full suite of Shari’ah-compliant structured commercial real estate financing products including investment, residential development and mezzanine financing to clients.

Middle East investors expected to spend $180 billion in global real estate markets over next decade

Middle Eastern investors are expected to spend $180 billion in commercial real estate markets outside of their own region over the next decade, according to the latest research from global property advisor CBRE. Europe is the preferred target with 80% of the $180 billion (around $145 billion) targeted for the region over the next 10 years. While some increase in interest towards the Americas is expected, the need for Middle East investors to diversify away from US dollar-dominated investments will counteract the fundamental attractiveness of real estate as an asset choice. CBRE estimates that about 10% of the capital (around $18 billion) will flow into the region.

U.K.: Willis to offer sharia-compliant commercial real estate coverage

Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. is set to offer sharia-compliant commercial real estate coverage in the United Kingdom. The coverage will be offered through the Islamic insurance platform developed by Cobalt Underwriting Services Ltd. The policy retains price neutrality, meaning premiums are equivalent to those in a conventional insurance policy. In March, Cobalt Underwriting added QBE Insurance Ltd.'s European division to its platform.

Insurance broker Willis adds Islamic real estate cover in UK

Insurance broker Willis Group Holdings will offer sharia-compliant commercial real estate coverage in Britain for the first time. New York-listed Willis will offer the coverage through the Islamic insurance platform developed by London-based Cobalt Underwriting. The policy retains price neutrality, meaning premiums are equivalent to those in a conventional insurance policy. Cobalt's platform uses a syndication model to help spread risk across a panel of underwriters, allowing multiple insurers to pool their capacity while each can subscribe to their desired level of risk though individual Islamic windows. The risk is priced by a lead insurer and other firms must then subscribe under similar terms.

Emaar said to secure $1.5bn sharia-compliant loan

Dubai-based Emaar Properties has reportedly secured a $1.5 billion sharia-compliant loan from five local lenders. Emaar, developer of the world's tallest building, has raised the seven-year facility which will pay 175 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor). This is half the rate of the existing loan, which was due to run until 2016 and had an interest rate of 350 bps over Libor. The funds have been provided on an equal basis by three Dubai lenders - Dubai Islamic Bank, Mashreq andNoor Bank - and two from Abu Dhabi - First Gulf Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The lenders plan to market the transaction to other banks in a syndication phase, which could begin in the next two weeks.

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Saudi's Dar Al Arkan raises $400 mln from sukuk issue

Saudi Arabia's Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co raised $400 million through an Islamic bond, with strong demand for the paper helping to reduce the cost at which it borrowed. The developer attracted a final order book of more than $1 billion for its five year sukuk. Final pricing came at a profit rate of 6.5 percent. This was tighter than the 6.75 percent earmarked earlier on Wednesday and well inside the high-6s percent given as initial pricing thoughts on Tuesday. Alkhair Capital, Deutsche Bank , Emirates NBD and Goldman Sachs were coordinators and bookrunners of the deal. Abu Dhabi-based Al Hilal Bank, as well as Qatari trio Al Rayan Investment, Barwa Bank and QInvest were also bookrunners.

Bi-annual Bulletin on the Malaysian Islamic Capital Market by the Securities Commission Malaysia

Contents
Revised Shariah Screening Methodology: 1
Expands ICM’s Global Reach
SHARIAH
New Shariah Advisory Council Resolutions 3
DEVELOPMENT
Region’s First Structured Covered Sukuk 7
Royal Award for Islamic Finance Calls for Global 9
Nominations
SC and Autoriti Monetari Brunei to Strengthen 9
Efforts in Greater Cross-border Activities
SC Leads Islamic Finance Taskforce to Publish a 10
Report on Enhancing Infrastructure for ICM
REGULATORY
IFSB-IOSCO-SC Collaborate on Disclosure 11
Requirements for ICM Products
SC Revises Equity Guidelines for SPACS 12
Technical Note on the Application of SC’s 13
Guidelines In Relation to Non-Tradable and
Non-Transferable PDS and Sukuk
FEATURES
2013: Another Resilient Year for the Global 14
Islamic Finance Industry
Global Islamic Funds Industry: Achieving 18
Growth Under Challenging Times
Harmonisation of Shariah Rulings 22
in Islamic Finance
News Round-up 29
STATISTICAL UPDATES
Malaysian ICM – Facts and Figures 32
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Kingdom’s real estate sector stays attractive despite many challenges

The demand for real estate in Saudi Arabia is expected to remain healthy as the rising Saudi population and evolving lifestyles are expected to keep real estate demand positive in the years to come. This is anticipated across the Kingdom, but especially in the major urban centers of Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Al-Khobar and Dammam. According to recent reports, current demographics require that around three million housing units need to be created by 2040 to meet the needs of the growing population. However, a significant rise in building costs is hampering attempts by developers to meet a target of building up to 500,000 low-cost homes. As a result, rental inflation is expected to remain high over the coming years.

Kingdom Tower to Get Financing in First Half, Developer Says

Kingdom Tower, the Saudi skyscraper set to be the world’s tallest building, will probably have construction funding in place by the end of the first half. The developer Jeddah Economic Co. is in talks to bring in Riyadh-based Alinma Bank as an adviser and lender. BNP Paribas (BNP) SA is currently advising the company, but the size of loan being sought hasn't been disclosed. The builder has been looking for financing since at least April 2012. Kingdom Holding Co. and partners, including tower builder Saudi Binladen Group, are trying to arrange funding after investing 8.7 billion riyals ($2.3 billion) in the project. They are seeking a bank loan with a maturity of five to seven years.

IMF urges Dubai to curb property speculation to avoid bubble

The United Arab Emirates should enact stronger measures to curb real-estate speculation in Dubai to prevent an “unsustainable” surge in prices, the International Monetary Fund said. According to Masood Ahmed, head of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, there is evidence that prices of real estate have been rising at a very rapid pace over the past 18 months. However, not everybody shares the same view. The Institute of International Finance, a Washington-based financial industry association, said that the rise in U.A.E. property values probably won’t lead to an asset-price bubble because credit growth remains relatively modest.

REFILE-London-based RiverCrossing debuts with Islamic real estate fund

London-based RiverCrossing Capital Partners, a new Islamic investment firm, has launched its first product, a U.S. real estate fund, as part of a plan to offer non-traditional asset classes to institutional investors in the Gulf. The firm will develop asset-based funds with a non-cyclical nature, chairman Mohammed Abdulmalik said. RiverCrossing's first fund will have a target investment horizon of five years and focus on medical offices, self-storage facilities and senior and student housing in the United States, he added. RiverCrossing aims to raise $45 million in the first tranche of its Alternative Real Estate U.S. Fund this quarter, reaching a total of $125 million with a second tranche in the next 12 to 18 months.

Saudi's home finance firm in final stages: sponsor

Saudi Arabia's national home finance company, Bidaya, may open its doors by the end of this year. In development since 2010, the company is a venture between the finance ministry's Public Investment Fund and the Jeddah-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). Bidaya is in its last phase of development prior to launch and will submit an application for a licence as soon as regulations under the kingdom's mortgage laws are finalised. The "target size" of its paid-up capital will reportedly be 900 million riyals ($240 million). Bidaya will increase access to finance for middle-income home buyers across the Kingdom and thus, raise low levels of home ownership in the country.

GFH Capital placement of prime central London property oversubscribed

GFH Capital has successfully placed its newly acquired prime central London residential property with GCC investors. The placement was oversubscribed by investors seeking attractive opportunities in the UK real estate market. The luxury property, which is located in Kensington, is a five unit Grade II listed building overlooking the Queens Gate Gardens. The investment is expected to deliver above average capital appreciation over the medium term for the bank and its investors. GFH Capital continues to assess other similar opportunities in the UK and US real estate markets where it sees value and upside potential. GFH Capital announced the acquisition of its Queens Gate Gardens property in early January 2014.

Bahrain's GFH to build $3bn Tunisian development

Bahrain's Gulf Finance House (GFH) will start building a $3bn financial park and real estate development north of Tunisia's capital, a project that had been suspended for five years. The project will be one of the largest private foreign investments in the North African state. GFH's project was scheduled to begin in 2009, but financial difficulties at the Islamic bank and Tunisia's 2011 uprising froze several large-scale projects. The $3bn project will start on 15 March, and an agreement has been signed with the Tunisian contracting companies to start practical implementation of the project in a few days, according to Lotfi Zar, the executive director of the project.

GFH signs development agreements in India

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH) has announced the signing of two development agreements for real estate development in India. The flagship investment of GFH in India is the Energy City and Mumbai IT & Telecom City (India Project) developments in New Mumbai, the agreement of which was signed with Wadhwa Group. The second agreement was agreed with Adani Infrastructure & Developers , to explore development opportunities in relation to various infrastructure and real estate projects in India. Adani Infrastructure & Developers will be partnering with Asiastar City Holdings to develop the Phase 2 of GFH’s India Project.

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