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Polaris Investment Trust Plans to Issue Taiwan Islam ETF

Philip Liu CENS.com reported on 2 April that it plans to roll out Islam ETF in the second quarter this year.

The firm is also in talks with Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) for licensing of its Taiwan Islam Index for use in issuing the Islam ETF in Abu Dhabi. The MSCI Taiwan Islam Index consists of 60 constituent stocks, selected from the over 120 constituent stocks of MSCI Taiwan Stock Index, whose operations conforms to the tenets of Islam.

Liu Tsung-sheng is president of Polaris Investment Trust.

Source: http://news.cens.com/cens/html/en/news/news_inner_22868.html

USD 158 mn AirAsia sukuk issue approved

Trade Arabia reported on 28 April that the RM 500 mn Sukuk issues is approved by the market regulator.

Bank Islam Malaysia and Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) are the joint principal advisers, lead arrangers and lead managers for the issue.

Kuwait Finance House shall be the guarantor for the sukuk programme. Malaysian Rating Corp has assigned a long-term rating of AA+(bg) for the issue.

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/newsdetails.asp?Sn=CM&artid=142568

SABIC new Sukuk issue received approval by regulator

Gulf Base cited Reuters that Saudi SABIC received regulatory clearance for its planned SAR 5 bn Sukuk sale. The approval was posted on the Saudi bourse website. SABIC is the worlds biggest chemicals firm by market value.

Source: http://www.gulfbase.com/site/interface/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?n=61385

Dar eyes UK Islamic banking unit

Arabian Business reported on 28 April that Investment Dar its proposed British bank unit 'Dar Capital' might start with capital of up to GBP 100 mn. A project study should be finished by year-end.

Chairman of Investment Dar is Adnan Al-Musallam.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/517695-dar-eyes-uk-bank-with-up-to-100-ml...

Banks appointed for Pakistani Sukuk

The Guardian reported on 25 April that Pakistan appointed advisers for first domestic Sukuk, being Dubai Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan as Managers. The estimated size of the Sukuk might be 20 bn Pakistani rupees.

Ashfaque Hasan Khan is special secretary at the Finance Ministry.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/feedarticle?id=7484821

Al Khaliji bank in Qatar gets more active in Islamic finance

Pratap John in Gulf Times reported on 24 April that Al Khaliji bank will be concluding more Shariah-based transactions including co-arranging a Sukuk in Qatar after obtaining the Qatar Central Bank’s approval for an Islamic branch. The bank plans to open branches successively.

Al Khaliji chief executive officer is David Proctor.

Source: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=214610...

Jordan Islamic Bank well rated and positioned

Arab News reported 28 April about Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB), being one of the oldest establishments along with Dubai Islamic Bank and Kuwait Finance House. Fitch Ratings end March 2008 assigned a 'BB-' foreign currency long-term issuer default rating (IDR) and a 'B' foreign currency short-term IDR to JIB with a long-term stable outlook.

JIB is a subsidiary of the Al-Baraka Banking Group (ABG), which is incorporated in Bahrain and is the restructured holding company of the financial services division of Jeddah-based Dallah Al-Baraka Group (DAG) headed by Saleh Kamel.

Musa Shihadeh is the general manager of JIB.

Source: http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093194499

Arab Bank lists funds on the Cayman Island Exchange

CPI Financial reported on 22 April that Arab Bank Fund Managers (Guernsey), a subsidiary of Arab Bank lists nine investment funds on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange. The IIAB Sukuk and Murabaha MENA Fund and the IIAB MENA Feeder Fund, are Shari’ah compliant funds and are both part of International Islamic Arab Bank Protected Cell Companies (IIAB PCC). The investment adviser for these funds is AB Invest in Jordan.

All of the funds are dollar denominated and open-ended, with monthly valuation and dealing.

The Guernsey administrator for all the funds is Legis Fund Services.

Source: http://www.cpifinancial.net/v2/News.aspx?v=1&aid=203&sec=Wealth%20Manage...

Millennium Private Equity first close

Finalternatives reported on 22 April that Millennium Private Equity has held a first close on its Global Energy Fund, which has raised USD 200 mn, and its Telecoms, Media & Technology Fund at USD 150 mn. Both are targeting USD 1 bn in equity. The funds shall have a tenor of 7 years, targeting 20 % IRR and investing between USD 20 to 100 mn per transaction.

Sponsors of the funds include Dubai Islamic Bank, United Gulf Bank, the Bahrain-based investment banking arm of the KIPCO Group of Kuwait, and the Saudi Arabian Islamic Development Bank, each conbtributing USD 50 mn to each fund, as well as Kuwait Finance House, which invests USD 50 mn into in the Global Energy Fund.

Keba Keinde is chief executive of Millennium Finance Corporation and chairman of Millennium Private Equity. Millennium Private Equity, a subsidiary of Millennium Finance Corp., is based at the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Source: http://www.finalternatives.com/node/4155

CIMB to expand Islamic banking in Middle East

The Star Malaysia reported on 22 April that CIMB group intends to expand its Islamic banking business in Dubai and Saudi Arabia via acquisitions.

The group via Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd recently acquired a 19.99% stake in China-based Bank of Yingkou Co Ltd.

CIMB group chief executive is Datuk Nazir Razak.

Source: http://biz.thestar.com.my/services/printerfriendly.asp?file=/2008/4/22/b...

Markaz completes structuring of Arbun Call Option

Kuwait Financial Centre 'Markaz' released on 23 April that they developed an Arbun contract, functioning similar to an American option. Kuwait Stock Exchange is trading conventional options since 2005.

The Arbun (downpayment with revocation option) can be both cash and physically settled at anytime on or before the maturity date. The product has been submitted to the Kuwait Stock Exchange for their review and approval.

Mr. Hussein Zeinnedin is Assistant Vice President - Derivatives at Kuwait Financial Centre 'Markaz'.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/154396.html

Abyaar seeks credit rating for Sukuk sale

Rania El Gamal reported on 23 April in Arabien Business that Kuwait's Abyaar Real Estate Development is in the process of getting a credit rating to help it sell between USD 250 to USD 500 mn of Sukuk for general expansion. Abyaar is talks with NBD Investment Bank, a unit of Emirates NBD. Merill Lynch is advising on the sale for another specific project in Dubai about USD 500 mn.

Abyaar has other financing arrangements with Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic Bank, Kuwait's Global Investment House and Rasameel Structured Finance.

Abyaar has said it wants to expand in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and is seeking opportunities in Turkey, Malaysia and Singapore.

Marzouq al-Rashdan is vice-president of Abyaar.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/517396-kuwaits-abyaar-seeks-credit-rating...

Tamweel successfully closes USD 235 mn syndicated bank facility

Tamweel PJSC, a Dubai-based real estate financer has closed a 3-year USD 235 mn syndicated bank facility.

ABN AMRO and Noor Islamic Bank served as lead arrangers and joint bookrunners for the transaction, which has been priced in both US dollars and UAE dirhams, and will reach maturity in three years.

Wasim Saifi is Chief Executive Officer of Tamweel.
Gaurav Agarwal is Chief Financial and Support Services Officer, Tamweel.
Hussain Al Qemzi is Chief Executive Officer of Noor Islamic Bank.
Vishnu Deuskar is Head of Global Markets ABN AMRO UAE.

Source: http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/226249

Gatehouse Bank licensed as 5th Islamic investment bank in London

Gatehouse Bank, a subsidiary of the Kuwait-based investment firm The Securities House KSCC, has been approved as an investment bank by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and can now offer Shariah-compliant products.

David Testa is chief executive at Gatehouse.

Source: http://www.ukinvest.gov.uk/OurWorld/4029877/en-GB.html

France to host meetings on ‘Islamic finance’

Arab Times reported that the French Senate,is organizing two round table discussions May 14 to examine the role France can play in attracting Islamic funds.

Senates Finance Commission president Jean Arthuis will preside the meeting and Zubeir Bin Terdeyet, Director of Isla Invest, Maya Boureghda, a legal counsellor at BNP Parisbas, Anwar Hassoune, vice-president of Moodys rating company, [deleted], SGAM Asset Management, London, Jean Francois Pon from the Federation of French Banks and Gilles Saint Marc, a lawyer from AARPI.

Source: http://www.arabtimesonline.com/kuwaitnews/pagesdetails.asp?nid=16009&cci...

and https://www.senat.fr/rap/r07-329/r07-3293.html

Gulf Islamic banks continue to outperform conventional peers

Darren Stubing reported on 27 April Gulf Islamic banks continue to grow at a strong pace in excess of conventional banks in the GCC countries.

Islamic financial institutions exceed the return on assets of their peers in the Gulf (3.6 % vs. 2.4 %) and the return on equity (24 % vs. 19 %), net profit grew 11 % compared to 5 %.

Banks with retail banking proved stronger and more conventional banks consider converting to Islamic bank status, such as the Commercial Bank in Kuwait, however, Islamic banks do required better economies of scale to drive down cost-income ratios, which can be achieved by cross-border expansion including M&A.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2008/4/pages/04272008_70eea8abe8c54a...

Nakheel sets USD 1 bn Sukuk price guidance

Mohammed Abbas reported on Arabian Business on 27 April that state-owned Nakheel, developer of three palm-tree shaped islands off Dubai's coast, set price guidance for the 2-year USD 1 bn Sukuk Al Ijara at 225 to 250 basis points above the Emirates Interbank Offered Rate (Eibor). The Sukuk will be denominated in Dirham. 3-month Eibor is at about 1.92 %, according to data from newswire Reuters. Date for sale is not yet set.

Dubai Islamic Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Company and Dubai-based Emirates NBD are Arrangers.

Kar Tung Quek is Nakheel Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/517621-nakheel-sets-1bn-bond-price-guiden...

Syndication markets still suffering

Christopher Mangham reported on Arabian Business 19 April that Syndication markets for Mideast borrowers are increasingly difficult to price with higher margins coming up, while also country limits are often reached. The market remains, however, active with USD 37 bn in Mideast awaiting launch or are under syndication. It becomes more common that bank committments are held flexible in pricing and margins supposed to be increased.

Corporate lending in the Gulf, which did not exist in 2001-2002, totalled USD 67 bn in 2007.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/516908-loan-market-drying-up

Al Jaber Group closes USD 400 mn dual-currency Ijara financing facility

Gulf News reported on 19 April about the USD 400 mn, 5-year dual currency syndicated Ijara facility for the UAE-based Al Jaber Group.

BNP Paribas, Dubai Islamic Bank (through its investment banking arm, Millennium Capital Limited) First Gulf Bank, and National Bank of Abu Dhabi served as the underwriters and bookrunners for the transaction, which has been priced in both US dollar and UAE dirham. The syndicate comprised 7 banks.

Obeid Al Jaber is the Chairman of Al Jaber Group.

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Banking_and_Finance/10206883.html

Moody's comments on Islamic finance

Forbes reported on 15 April about the Moody's study regarding Islamic finance claiming the industry grows at double rate compared to the conventional markets and becomes more international but also remains diverse and heterogene. Interpretation of rules and regulation vary widely, and they perceive a lack of technical and contractual standardisation.

Moody's expects the Sukuk market to become more complex, more structured, larger, more diversified and more liquid as it evolves over time.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/04/15/afx4891802.html

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