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Call for Islamic Microfinance in Nigeria

Maje T. Sanusi reported in the Triumph Newspaper on 24 Marcht about the Micro-Finance Investors Forum organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and held in Kano. The Principal of Oasis Associates, Malam Ahmad Dogara has called for Islamic Micro financing in the Nigeria’s banking system.

Bahrain Financial Exchange appoints Shape Financial as advisor

The Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX) has employed the consultancy services of the SHAPE™ Financial Corp. SHAPE is a leading specialist in the formation of solutions for Islamic finance markets and will assist the BFX in the development of Sharia compliant Islamic finance products for listing on the Exchange. The initial work will be conducted across Islamic capital markets, Sukuks, REITs, ETFs and Murabaha sectors.

Annual General Meeting Shamil Bank

Shamil Bank has taken over Faisal Private Bank in Switzerland completely and is itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank. Shamil Bank also acquired a 34 % stake in takaful company Solidarity.

Shamil Bank reported USD 66.8 mn in total income, and a net profit of USD 22.8 mn last year during their Annual General Meeting.

Faisal Al Alwan is the CEO of Shamil Bank.

ADIB board approves AED 2 bn sukuk

The board of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has approved issuing a AED 2 bn (USD 545 mn) sukuk to the government.

Reuters: Dubai Islamic Bank prepares USD 817 mn capital hike

Dubai Islamic Bank is considering raising AED 3 bn (USD 817 mn) in fresh capital and converting emergency government deposits into regulatory capital. The bank's board of directors would discuss the two measures on March 25, the bank said on Tuesday in a statement on the bourse website.

Rival banks, such as Union National Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Emirates NBD Bank in the UAE have already launched similar moves.

Forum African de la Finance Islamique, Avril 1 et 2 2009

Isla Invest Consulting, the first french advisory services compagy is
going to organize the second edition of FAFI, the african islamic
finance forum in Casablanca, 1 and 2 April 2009 in Casablanca, Morocoo.

More details in french:

Crise financière & finance islamique, quelles perspectives pour l'Afrique ?

La Place de Paris a adopté, au cours des six derniers mois, des
mesures censées lui permettre de devenir le « hub » de la finance
islamique en Europe et d'être aussi compétitive que la place de Londres.

Trois mesures phares ont été adoptées en 2008 :
- Conditions de la cotation de sukuk sur Euronext - Paris
- Neutralité fiscale des opérations de murabaha
- Déductibilité fiscale de la rémunération versée au titre des sukuk

Elles complètent la recommandation de l'AMF de juillet 2007 concernant
les OPCVM Islamiques.

KuveytTürk aims to enter German retail market

KuveytTürk aims to cater for German Muslims from payment services to the whole range of Islamic finance products in the years to come. The application process for a financial services branch with both regulators is ongoing but not yet finished contrary to what media sources were reporting yesterday.

Amlak and Tamweel's future direction is getting clearer

Nadia Saleem reported in the Gulf News that the possible merger of the UAE's largest Islamic mortgage providers, Amlak Finance and Tamweel, is in the final stages of being resolved, while the liquidation option has been taken off the table and quotes Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy informing reporters about it.

Aside from merger, keeping them seperate and liquidation was under discussion.

Gulf Opportunity Fund is taking a 70% stake in L'azurde

The Gulf Opportunity Fund made it's second investment by taking a 70% stake in L'azurde, the world's fourth largest manufacturer of gold and jewellery and leading Middle East brand. The Fund is led by Investcorp and its consortium partners Eastgate Capital Group, is the private equity investment arm of NCB group of Saudi Arabia, and The National Investor.

Export Credit Insurance by ICIEC

The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) is offering Export Credit Insurance which offers to protect the exporters from the risk of payment default by their buyers or importers on one hand, and offers them a number of indirect and direct financing products on the other hand. This dual solution approach mitigates the principal inherent risks in international trade, encouraging exporters in entering new markets and expanding customer base.

The concept was presented in Saudi-Arabia and the ICIEC is going to present the possibilities to other IDB member countries.

Nigeria circulates draft of Islamic banking regulation

According to Les Afriques the Central Bank of Nigeria is circulating a draft of their regulation for Sharia compliant financial institutions.

IDB plans USD 500 mn sukuk

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) said that it planned a USD 500 mn sukuk, to finance its 2009 financing program.

Russian VTB Bank to enter sukuk issuance market

Oksana Kobzeva reported on 18 March on ArabianBusiness that Russia's second largest bank VTB may become the country's first issuer of sukuk. VTB Capital and Liquidity Management House, a subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House, on Wednesday signed a protocol of intention aimed at cooperating in the development of Islamic finance in Russia and other former Soviet countries.

VTB Capital is headed Yuri Solovyov

AlKhabeer joins Islamic finance conference in Spain

Al-Khabeer has been invited to participate as the only private company from the Arab World in the first-ever Business Forum on Islamic Finance, organized by the IE Business School in Spain in collaboration with the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. A total of 50 senior-level corporate executives, ambassadors and journalists are expected to take part in the forum, which will include working papers, round-table discussions and Q&As.

The forum will be an excellent venue to identify new growth opportunities and discuss business prospects with potential partners from Spain and Latin America.

Allianz Takaful begins Bahrain operations

Allianz Takaful, the regional subsidiary of Allianz Group, has announced the launch of its Middle East operations in Bahrain. The company will be offering Allianz's globally trusted financial services in full compliance with Sharia principles. The company will be introducing a variety of products starting from motor insurance to sophisticated items such as retirement and saving schemes.

Dr Abdul Rahman Khalil Tolefa is CEO.

Global sukuk sales to fall again in 2009

Experts are expecting further drop in Sukuk isssuance in 2009. Local currencies help to support the markets, K. Salman Younis, head of Kuwait Finance House's Asian operations was cited.

Islamic Bank of Britain reduces losses in 2008

Islamic Bank of Britain, which offers Sharia-compliant banking services for individuals and businesses, reduced its loss by 15 % to GBP 5.9 mn in 2008 down from GBP 6.9 mn 2007. The bank put the reduction down primarily to growth in fee and commission income.

The customer numbers increased by 10 % to over 47,000 and deposits increased by 15 % GBP to 158 mn.

Two new major products were launched, an Islamic home finance and a 60-day notice savings account, which was launched in December 2008.

Unicorn Bank to make further investment of USD 12.9 mn in Dawood Islamic Bank

Dawood Islamic Bank Limited has received Rs. 1 billion (USD 12.9 mn) investment from Unicorn Investment Bank Limited, based in Bahrain , this was stated in a statement issued from Bank’s headoffice in Karachi. Dawood Islamic Bank launched in 2007 with an initial paid-up capital of Rs. 3 billion. The Dawood Islamic bank has a branch network of 21 branches spread over the major cities of Pakistan , including Karachi , Lahore , Islamabad , Faisalabad , Multan , Sialkot , Iqbalabad and Joharabad.

Unicorn already had a 22.2 % equity stake in Dawood Islamic Bank prior to the current investment. With the new investment the equity of Unicorn Investment Bank, in Dawood Islamic Bank has increased to 37% percent

Aamir Khan is Managing Director and Head Global Private Equity of Unicorn Investment Bank and a founder Director of Dawood Islamic Bank

Said Rafique Dawood is Chairman Dawood Islamic Bank.

KFH inaugurates research website

The research firm of Kuwait Finance House, KFH Research Ltd.,inaugurated a dedicated portal to be found at:

http://www.kfhresearch.net

Ratings On Dubai-Based Government-Related Entities Lowered On Deteriorating Economic

Press Release

Dial-in Details for 11AM GMT/3PM Dubai Teleconference To Discuss Rating Actions Below

DUBAI, March 17, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said it had lowered its ratings on six Dubai-based government-related entities (GREs) by one notch. The 'A+' ratings on DIFC Investments LLC, DP World Ltd., Jebel Ali Free Zone (FZE), and JAFZ Sukuk Ltd. were lowered to 'A', and the 'A-1' short-term ratings were affirmed. The 'A/A-1' ratings on Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority were lowered to 'A-/A-2', while the 'A+' long-term rating on Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group LLC (DHCOG) was also lowered to 'A'. The outlook on all entities remains negative. (A separate research update for each of the entities will follow.)

Thee ratings on the GREs reflect both their individual stand-alone credit profiles and our expectation that the United Arab Emirates (UAE; unrated) federal government, backed by its largest constituent, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (AA/Stable/A-1+), will continue to provide, as and when the need arises, financial support to the Dubai government, which owns the rated GREs.

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