John Irish reported on Monday, 24 March in ArabianBusiness that Dubai-based mortgage lender Amlak Finance plans to sell as much as 1.8 billion dirhams convertible and 3 billion dirhams non-convertible Sukuk this year to help finance expansion.
The CEO, Arif Al-Harmi confirmed the approval to Reuters given by the extraordinary general meeting of the board and the Chairman, Nasser Al-Shaikh, revealed that the total plans are to raise 6 billion dirhams this year. Amlak, an affiliate of Emaar Properties, will launch operations in Qatar and Jordan this year and has applied for a licence in Bahrain, Al-Harmi said. Syria is in discussion state.
Amlak delayed a sale of Sukuk late 2007 because of unsecure demand situation caused by the US credit crisis.
ABC Islamic Bank (the Initial Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner) launched general syndication for Kuwaits Munshaat Real Estate Projects Company ("Munshaat"). ABC Islamic Bank had successfully closed the senior phase of the US$100 million, 3-year Syndicated Revolving Murabaha Financing Facility.
Prior to general syndication BNP Paribas, Emirates Bank International PJSC, and Saudi British Bank joined the facility as Mandated Lead Arrangers at the senior stage.
This is the debut syndication for Munshaat and the funds will be used to finance development of prime properties in the Holy Haram area in Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia. Athman Investment Company, Kuwait is acting as the financial advisor to Munshaat Real Estate Projects Company for this financing.
Summary of the facility is as follows:
Borrower: Munshaat Real Estate Projects Company K.S.C.
Amount: US$100 million
Facility Type: Revolving Murabaha Financing Facility Purpose: Financing of prime properties in Makkah & Madinah
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Source: Northern Trust, http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/080318/aqtu043.html?.v=54
Business Intelligence reported on 18 March that the Sharia Board of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) has issued the first standards for trading shares. The establishment of such standards is in line with DFM becoming an Islamic exchange as decided on the Annual General Meeting in 2007. Since then the Sharia Board with its Chairman, Dr Hussain Hamid has focused on the establishment of criteria to classify listed companies in terms of Sharia-compliance and accounting practices.
The standards are divided into five sections and cover the following areas: definitions of terms and criteria; implications for brokers and investors; guidelines for compliance for conventional firms; conventional income guidelines; and general rules and regulations.
Mr Essa Kazim is Chairman of the DFM.
Arthur Macdonald reported in Gulf Daily News that the Sukuk market has suffered from the global financial crisis, but it is likely to recover. It impacted pricing and access to investors. Further the discussion on the Dollar peg of Gulf currencies created addtional uncertainties. Nevertheless the market has grown in ten years from millions to billions, participants of a Sukuk conference in Bahrain said.
Matthew Martin reported on 18 March that Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) is evaluating opportunities to acquire a conventional Egyptian bank and convert it into an Islamic bank, and is also applying for a banking licence in Turkey.
Qatar Islamic Bank will likely follow its strategy of independent brands, like before in regard to European Finance House in London, Asian Finance House in Malaysia and Arab Finance House in Lebanon.
Joyce Goh reported in The Edge Daily, Malaysia about plans of Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB), parent company of CIMB Group, will use its 20% stake in Bank of Yingkou (BOYC) of China as a springboard to expand its business there, particularly latching on its Islamic finance expertise to carve a niche for itself in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. China has a larger Muslim community than China. BOYC is looking to expand to Shenyang — the city in Liaoning province earmarked to be an Islamic finance hub of China. Just three months ago, BOYC received the approval from the Chinese government to transform itself from a local commercial bank into a regional bank, thereby giving it the green light to expand its services in the Liaoning province.
Yong Yen Nie reported in The Edge on 18th March about Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd (Litrak), which may return RM 1 per share after debt refinancing. The firm proposed last Friday the issuance of up to RM1.55 billion in Islamic debt papers under a sukuk programme. The new debt issue is meant to refinance the highway concessionaire’s existing borrowings and redeemable unsecured loan stocks of RM1.2 billion and to fund working capital and other operational purposes.
Analysts said the proceeds from the sukuk bond issue would fully retire Litrak’s existing debts that were taken to fund the construction of the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP).
Saeed Azhar reported on Reuters on 18th March, that Asia-focused Standard Chartered Bank has applied for a license to set up a separate Islamic banking unit in Malaysia, aiming to capture growth in a business that has escaped global credit turmoil.
Standard Chartered had $1.4 billion (699 million pounds) of Islamic banking assets in Malaysia at the end of 2007, more than double the year ago period, he said.
HSBC and Singapore's third-biggest lender, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp , have already received regulatory approval to set up Islamic banking units in Malaysia.
AME Info published a press release on 18th March stating that Fitch Ratings has today assigned ratings to Amman-based Jordan Islamic Bank for Finance and Investment (JIB) of Long-term Issuer Default (IDR) 'BB-' (BB minus), Short-term IDR 'B', Individual 'C/D', Support '3' and Support Rating Floor 'BB-' (BB minus). The Outlook is Stable.
The Guardian reported on 17th March about the takaful business of Prudential. Prudential is looking to expand into Egypt as the executive who runs the insurer's fast-growing Asian business seeks other markets with scope for rapid growth, like before Indonesia, where 25% of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2007 were sharia-compliant products.
Figures on Friday showed that profits of the Pru's Asian operations broke through £1bn for the first time in 2007 and now match the profits achieved by the insurer's traditional UK operations.
Stowe is already responsible for 13 countries. In India, he believes Pru can soon overtake the state-owned insurer that occupies the number-one slot in the country.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will help Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) to conduct research on climatic changes and devise strategies to face the impending environmental challenges.
Pakistan would be adversely affected by climatic change in the years to come and there was dire need that a comprehensive strategy was devised to overcome this, he maintained.
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