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Sharjah Islamic Bank profit drops 23 %

Sharjah Islamic Bank released that its profits declined 23 % to AED 231.59 mn in 2008, down from AED 301.83 mn in 2007.

AmanahRaya-JMF looks into Islamic REITs

AmanahRaya-JMF Asset Management Sdn Bhd, which currently manages RM 7.5 bn in funds, is looking at going into Islamic real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the next two or three years, says managing director/chief executive officer Sharizad Jumaat, and exclude non compliant components by 2011.

Rating of Korean Kexim for Islamic securities

According to a Press Release on 9 February, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it had assigned its 'A' rating to Export-Import Bank of Korea's (Kexim; foreign currency A/Stable/A-1; local currency --/--/A-1) three-year, Malaysian ringgit (MRY) 220 million, 4.75%, fixed-rate senior unsecured bonds, priced on Feb. 4, 2009. The notes are to be drawn down from a MRY3 billion multi-currency Islamic and conventional medium-term program.

Capital Management House (CMH) increased profits to Dh 52.8 mn

The Bahrain-based Islamic investment company Capital Management House (CMH)said its net income increased to USD 14.4 mn (Dh 52.8 mn) last year compared to USD 5.6 mn a year ago. The firm's board recommended 16.6 % stock dividend. Asset under management have grown to reach USD 105.9 mn and the equity base USD 128.8 mn.

Amlak Finance Jordan reducing its capital

The board of Amlak Finance Jordan decided to reduce its capital to 1 mn Jordinian Dinar in order to preserve the rights of the shareholders, and in consideration of the global financial crisis, which hit specifically the mortgage markets.

The main investors in the company are cited, that the decision on this specific sector does not preclude high confidence in the Jordanian investment environment and the strength of the Jordanian economy, which is less affected by the crisis than other region and stressing that their investments in other crucial sectors in the Kingdom are still ongoing according to plans.

GBCorp income rises 8.1 % to USD 53.1 mn

Global Banking Corporation (GBCorp), the Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, said its total income in 2008 increased 8.1 % to USD 53.1 mn compared to USD 49.2 mn for the previous year. Its net profit reached USD 21.2 mn. Total assets reached 93 % to USD 455.9 mn against USD 236.2 mn for the previous year. The bank had USD 723 mn worth of fund under its management.

Bank Indonesia to reduce CAR for banks aiming to spin off Islamic commercial bank

Bank Indonesia plans to reduce the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) for conventional banks wishing to set up a shariah commercial bank through a spin-off from Rp 1 trillion to Rp 500 billion as of March.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), looks into establishing an Islamic bank in Indonesia as partner.

The Islamic Bank of Asia aims for expansion

The Islamic Bank of Asia, majority owned by DBS is looking for acquisition opportunities in Malaysia and Indonesia, although it is also keen on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. The Islamic Bank of Asia currently focuses on commercial banking, corporate finance, capital market and wealth management services. The step towards Malaysia and Indonesia targets the retail markets.

Kuwait Finance House Malaysia more than doubles paid up capital

Kuwait Finance House Malaysia said last Friday it has received a USD 300 mn capital injection from its parent, increasing the paid-up capital to USD 500 mn.

Qatar International Islamic Company seeks stake in Al Jisr Takaful Company

The Qatar Islamic Insurance Company (QIIC) hopes to buy half-a-million shares of Al Jisr Takaful Company which is being set up as a joint venture between Qatari and Bahraini investors. The paid-up capital of the proposed Islamic insurer will be QR 250 mn and some 30 per cent of its equity will be divided equally between Qatari and Bahraini owners through a public offer.

The owners are national insurance firms and major institutions from the two countries. Qatar Foundation as well as the civil and military pension funds in Qatar are tipped to own around 40 % of the proposed company’s equity. The remaining 60 % of the equity will be offered to the Qatari and Bahraini public (citizens) through an initial public offering (IPO).

Qatar Islamic Bank announces profit growth

Mohamed Salem reported in The Peninsula that Qatar Islamic Bank released a net profit to QR 1.64 bn, representing a 30.8 % growth over 2007. The profit in 2007 was QR1.25bn. The bank also announced it plans to launch a rights issue to raise its capital by 10 %.

PLUS plans RM 1 bn Sukuk sales to pay debt, fund projects

PLUS Expressways Bhd, Malaysia’s largest toll-road operator, plans to sell RM 1 bn, 5-year Sukuk to help repay maturing debt and finance expansion projects. Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd supports the sale of the Sukuk. The company aims to raise RM 350 mn in the coming months to refinance debt maturing in June and to raise another RM 200 mn in the second half of the year to fund a road project in Indonesia.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank bolsters Tier 1 capital with government funds

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is issuing a Tier 1 capital Sukuk to the government of Abu Dhabi, raising AED 2 bn (USD 545 mn). The issuance of the Sukuk was approved by ADIB's board of directors on 3 February 2009, and will be subject to obtaining shareholder approval. The Sukuk will pay an expected return at a rate of 6 % per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears from (and including) the issue date for a period of 5 years, and thereafter at a rate, reset and payable semi-annually in arrears, reflecting the initial margin above the then prevailing six month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate.

Tirad Mahmoudis the Chief Executive Officer of ADIB.

Noor Islamic the UAE's top lead arranger in 2008

Noor Islamic Bank topped the 2008 Bloomberg list of leading Sharia’ah compliant Lead Arrangers in the UAE and ranked third on the list of leading Islamic finance Book Runners in the country in its first year of operation.

Hussain Al Qemzi is the CEO of Noor Islamic Bank.

Law firm Ashurst announces formation of Islamic finance restructuring team

Ashurst has formed a multidiscipline team of lawyers from across its global network to assist clients with Islamic finance restructuring and Sharia compliant distressed financings. This comes as a result of increasing client demand for assistance with Sharia compliant transactions and investments that require restructuring due to current market conditions.

UAE Cabinet appoints Steering Committee to Review, Develop Strategies for Amlak, Tamweel

UAE Cabinet appoints Steering Committee to Review, Develop Strategies for Amlak, Tamweel. The high-level Committee, headed by H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, brings together experts from across ministries and regulatory bodies. The move highlights the federal government's support to the UAE economy and strengthening of its financial institutions. The Committee will draw up a comprehensive report of Amlak's and Tamweel's performances under the changed economic environment and present its recommendations on the way forward to the government by the end of February.

Central Bank of Bahrain issues Legal and General two licenses

The Central Bank of Bahrain has granted licenses to Legal and General Gulf and Legal and General Gulf Takaful. The two companies will be established with total paid up capital of BD 10 mn which will be contributed equally by British Insurer Legal & General Group Plc. (LGEN.L) and Ahli United Bank B.S.C. (AUBB.BH).

Asian Finance Bank may halve the size of its planned aviation fund

Loh Li Lian reported on 4 February on Reuters that Malaysian Asian Finance Bank may halve the size of its planned aviation fund to RM 500 mn (USD 138.2 mn) according to Mohamed Azahari Kamil, the chief executive officer of the bank.

Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH) and Standard & Poor's launched National Data Pooling Project (NDPP)

Joint Press Release

Riyadh ? London, February 2 2009

Saudi Credit Bureau (SIMAH) and Standard & Poor's, the leading provider of financial market intelligence, independent ratings, indices, investment research and data across the Middle East?s credit risks launched today the National Data Pooling Project (NDPP) and signed a contract in Riyadh. SIMAH was represented by its General Manager Mr. Nabil Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Standard & Poor?s by Mr. David Pearce, Managing Director of McGraw-Hill International (UK) Ltd and Mr. Bernard O?Sullivan, Managing Director and Head of Standard & Poor?s Risk Solutions in Europe, Middle East & Africa.

In this context, Nabil Al-Mubarak stated that the project comes as the final step in the framework of specialized projects for measuring credit risks, which would enable all participating member banks to fulfill all requirements of Basel II capital adequacy issued in 2005, referring to the fact that the Kingdom has already been implementing Basel II Capital Standards since 2006, and welcoming at the same time the strategic relationship with Standard & Poor's.

Thailand SET plans to launch shariah 50 index

Siriporn Chanjindamanee reported in The Nation on 3 February that the Stock Exchange of Thailand is planning to launch a Shariah 50 index early next quarter before going on a roadshow to the Middle East in the second half. The index would combine 50 listed stocks, making up 47 per cent of the SET's market capitalisation, that are Sharia tolerated.

According to Santi Kiranand, head of market development, have SET and FTSE jointly developed the Shariah index while the selection of the 50 firms was performed by the Yasaar.

The SET also plans to launch a social responsibility index. It is selecting foreign experts, including FTSE, to help develop the index by the third quarter.

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