UPDATE 1-Profits up at Saudi's Al Rajhi Bank, flat at Samba

Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank reported a 28.2 percent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit on Thursday, beating analyst forecasts as operating income was pushed up by higher fee income from banking services and other revenue. The kingdom's second-largest lender by assets made 1.95 billion riyals ($519.6 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 1.52 billion riyals in the same period a year earlier. Samba Financial Group, the kingdom's third-largest bank by assets, reported flat net profit for the fourth quarter. It concludes a mixed earnings season for banks, with as many profit falls as rises at the kingdom's major lenders as the slump in oil prices begins to take some toll. Samba made a profit of 1.23 billion riyals in the three months to Dec. 31, the same figure it reported for the corresponding period a year earlier.

Kuwait's Boubyan Bank says gets regulatory nod for capital-boosting sukuk

Kuwait's Boubyan Bank has received regulatory approval to issue a capital-boosting sukuk worth $250 million, the bank said in a bourse filing on Wednesday. The lender received approval from the Kuwaiti central bank to issue Basel III compliant Islamic bond that will enhance its Tier 1, or core, capital, it said. The bank will take a final decision on the sukuk and its timing after receiving all other approvals, the bank added.

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.

MIDEAST DEBT-Gulf sovereign bond issues to surge as governments plug deficits

Governments in the wealthy Gulf Arab oil exporting countries look set to borrow from the international bond market at a record pace this year, putting fresh pressure on bond prices, as they cover budget deficits created by low oil prices. For the first 18 months after oil began tumbling in mid-2014, governments largely held off from borrowing abroad, preferring to draw down their fiscal reserves and in some cases borrow domestically. That strategy is reaching its limits as the drawdown begins to alarm financial markets and push up local market interest rates. So governments in the six-nation GCC will turn to the foreign debt market to help cover deficits which are expected this year to near $140 billion, or 11 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

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.

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).

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.

UPDATE 1-Qatar International Islamic Bank, CIH to set up bank in Morocco

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) has signed an agreement with Moroccan lender Credit Immobilier et Hotelier S.A. (CIH Bank) to set up a bank in Morocco. In November, central bank governor Abdellatif Jouahri said Morocco would start issuing Islamic banking licences within the next year. QIIB will take a 40 percent stake in the new bank, which is expected to launch in coming months after necessary approvals, the Qatari institution said on Thursday without giving details of the venture. The Qatari joint venture is part of QIIB's strategy to pursue overseas investments and diversity its portfolio, the lender said in a bourse statement. Islamic banks from Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have also expressed interest in entering Morocco.

S.Arabia licenses 900-mln-riyal national home finance company

Saudi Arabia's central bank has granted a license to its national home finance company, Bidaya and it will launch with 900 million riyals ($239.94 million) in capital. The decision by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) joins efforts to boost home ownership in the kingdom, where a shortage of affordable housing has become an economic and social issue. In development since 2010, Bidaya 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). The company aims to make financing more readily available in a kingdom where home ownership levels lag behind the global average of 70 percent.

Suriname's Trust Bank plans conversion to Islamic banking

Suriname's Trust Bank will convert its operations to become a full-fledged Islamic bank, after it signed an agreement with the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank to advise on the transition. Trust Bank would become the first full-fledged Islamic bank in South America. The lender, which decided on the transition in June, is implementing a strategy focused on small- and medium-sized businesses and adopting Islamic finance principles would support this aim, Chief Executive Maureen Badjoeri said. Suriname is the only country from the Western hemisphere to be a member of the IDB group. It has received financing from the IDB worth a combined $149 million for 18 projects.

Qatar's Barwa Bank lists $2 billion sukuk programme on Irish exchange

Qatar's Barwa Bank has listed a $2 billion Islamic bonds programme on the Irish Stock Exchange, taking the lender a step closer to tapping the sukuk market for the first time. Rating agencies Moody's and Fitch assigned ratings of A2 and A+ respectively to the sukuk programme. Barwa Bank hasn't specified a timeframe or size for its potential debut deal. Barwa is classified as a systemically important bank, with 53 percent of its share capital owned by the Qatari government through Qatari Holding LLC and other government funds. Barwa's sukuk programme uses an agency-based structure known as wakala. The transaction is being arranged by Citigroup.

Kazakhstan studies lower capital requirements for Islamic banks

Kazakhstan's central bank is considering halving the capital requirement for Islamic banks to 5 billion tenge ($16.3 million) from 10 billion tenge, part of a series of initiatives to attract foreign capital to Central Asia's largest economy. The majority Muslim state is keen to develop Islamic finance, according to a Thomson Reuters study released on Tuesday. A proposed reduction in capital requirements for Islamic banks would apply for both local and foreign investors, deputy governor Nurlan Kussainov was quoted as saying in the study. This could encourage new entrants in a market that now has one full-fledged Islamic bank, Al Hilal Islamic Bank.

Bahrain's Arcapita and Saudi's Al Rajhi Capital exit real estate fund

Bahrain-based Arcapita has sold real estate assets it jointly held with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Capital for 1.35 billion Saudi riyals ($359.81 million), the two companies said in a joint statement. The ARC Real Estate Fund, which had a lifespan of five years, acquired seven assets in logistics, warehousing and retail in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, they said in the statement. The fund appointed an external consultant to advise on the sale in April. They did not say who they had sold the assets to. Al Rajhi Capital is the investment banking arm of Saudi Arabian lender, Al Rajhi Bank.

UPDATE 1-Saudi's Kingdom Holding, Alinma plan $2.2 bln fund for tallest building

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding said its affiliate Jeddah Economic Co (JEC) had arranged financing to complete construction of the world's tallest building. JEC agreed with Alinma Bank to establish an 8.4 billion riyal ($2.2 billion) real estate development fund that will finish work on the $1.2 billion Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. The Islamic fund will also develop the 1.5 sq km (0.6 sq miles) first phase of the Jeddah Economic City project. In addition to Kingdom Tower, the scheme is to include Saudi Arabia's largest shopping mall. Alinma Bank will finance the new fund, which is to be managed by Alinma Investment, Kingdom added without elaborating on how the money would be raised.

Risk management, SME financing top Islamic banks agendas-survey

Islamic banks around the globe view risk management, equity financing and deepening their client base as the most pressing issues facing the sector in coming years, a survey released on Friday showed.
The survey drew input from the heads of 83 Islamic finance institutions, the first comprehensive attempt to measure business sentiment in a growing-yet-diverse industry which holds around $2 trillion in assets globally.
The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), a non-profit organisation headquartered in Manama, conducted the survey between April and June. Two-thirds of the respondents were full-fledged Islamic banks.
Commercial financing remains the top revenue driver, but financing to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) ranked second-highest, the survey showed.
SMEs are seen as leading revenue for Islamic banks in Asia, with trade finance ranking highest in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the Gulf region SMEs are also in focus, partly due to concerns about over concentration of business from large firms.

Islamic finance body IIFM launches cross currency swap standard

The Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) launched a standard contract template for sharia compliant cross currency swaps on Thursday, as the industry body seeks to enhance use of hedging tools in the sector. As Islamic finance grows, institutions are increasingly taking larger positions, often in various currencies, prompting the need for widely-accepted mechanisms to manage such risks.
It is the seventh standard issued by the IIFM, a non-profit industry body which develops specifications for Islamic finance contracts. Applications of the standard are mainly for interbank treasury placements, but it can also be used alongside Islamic bonds (sukuk) as well as trade and corporate finance deals, chief executive Ijlal Ahmed Alvi told Reuters.

Kazakhstan set for debut sovereign sukuk in early 2016

Kazakhstan's parliament has approved legislative amendments to facilitate Islamic finance, paving the way for Central Asia's largest economy to issue its first sovereign sukuk next year, a government official said.
The amendments, which still require the president's signature, would also allow for the conversion of conventional banks into Islamic ones, said Yerlan Baidaulet, an adviser to the Investments and Development Ministry.

«We expect the sovereign sukuk in early spring of next year. Probably in March, it depends on the decision of the Ministry of Finance as it has its own budgetary process», Baidaulet said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Kuwait. The legal amendments to the banking services and securities laws are the latest steps by the majority Muslim state to help develop Islamic finance. A dedicated Islamic banking law is also currently in preparation, Baidaulet said. Lawmakers have also passed a law to establish an offshore centre in the capital Astana, which is partly aimed at attracting Islamic finance business, he added.

UPDATE 1-MOVES-Standard Chartered appoints CEO for Islamic banking business

Standard Chartered has appointed Rehan Shaikh as chief executive of its global Islamic banking business, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
Shaikh moves to Standard Chartered Saadiq from Dubai Islamic Bank, where he was senior vice president and business head, private sector and transaction banking. He previously worked for StanChart in Pakistan from 1998 to 2007, the statement said.
He takes over from Sohail Akbar, who was interim chief executive of the Islamic banking operation after the departure of Afaq Khan earlier this year.
StanChart remains committed to the business despite a period of hiatus across other parts of the bank as global chief executive Bill Winters moves to restore profitability. It announced plans this month to reduce costs by $2.9 billion by 2018 and cut 15,000 jobs.
"Islamic finance is an integral part of the business at Standard Chartered and we continue to see growing demand from clients in many of our markets," said Sunil Kaushal, the bank's regional chief executive for Africa and the Middle East.

The world needs the moral and human side of Islamic finance: Turkish minister

Islamic finance is based on growth of assets, not financial engineering, and this organic growth makes it different from Western debt constructs, Justice and Development (AK) Party parliamentarian and economist has said.
Ibrahim Turhan, member of Turkish parliament for AK Party from Izmir, made the remarks in an interview with Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Second International Islamic Finance and Economics conference in Istanbul on Thursday.
Turhan, who is also an economist and former chief executive officer of Borsa Istanbul, said: “One of the principal causes of financial crisis of 2008-2009 was the vast market that had grown up for securitized instruments.

IFSB to develop standards for Islamic capital markets, insurance

The Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) plans to develop guiding principles for capital markets and insurance, seeking to encourage regulatory consistency across new and established markets, its secretary general said.
The new guidelines from the 188-member IFSB, one of the main standard-setting bodies for Islamic finance, will complement existing ones which cover commercial banking.
A wider set of standards could assist the International Monetary Fund which plans to include Islamic finance in its surveillance work, known as the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP).
"Before the FSAP there has to be a set of core principles and that really is the instrument that we feel is going to point the way and facilitate consistency across borders," IFSB secretary-general Jaseem Ahmed told Reuters.
The standards on capital markets and Islamic insurance (takaful) would complement regulatory guidance from the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

Syndicate content