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Swiss banks going onshore in the Middle East

Andrew White reported in Arabian Business on 11 April about Swiss banks going onshore in the Middle East.

Pasha Bakhtiar, managing director at Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch (LODH) focusses over the next 10 to 20 years to grow the presence in areas with strong wealth creation, which is the case in the Middle East. Last year the bank established a formal presence in Dubai to better offer its services to existing and new clients in the GCC. Lombard sees an advantage in being a family owned bank like the family businesses in the region.

Hans Nützi, CEO at Clariden Leu agrees that Private Banking becomes more international opposed the way clients banked 5 to 10 years ago. Clariden Leu has a local 13 people asset management team in Dubai and sees demand for structured products.

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/516200-banking-on-the-old-school

Gulf Finance House: USD 10 bn Caspian Energy Hub

Gulf News reported on 11 April that Gulf Finance House aims to develop the USD 10 bn Caspian Energy Hub in collaboration with the Government of Kazakhstan and PFC Energy International and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The project, shall be a services hub that caters to commercial, technical and human resource needs of the oil and gas industry in the Caspian region. The hub also aims to become a global technical training centre for the oil & gas industry.

Esam Janahi is chairman of Gulf Finance House, Vahan Zanoyan is CEO of PFC Energy International and both presented the concept to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazar. Ulf Wokurka is deputy chairman of the Management Board of Kazakhstan Holding for Management of State Assets. Gani Uzbekov is deputy chairman of the Board of Sustainable Development Fund called "Kazyna".

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Oil_and_Gas/10204695.html

Islamic bank is planned in Ghana by the end of 2008

Felix Dela Klutse reported in Daily Guide on 10 April that an Islamic bank is planned in Ghana by the end of the year.

Professor Thomas Kubi is a promoter of the bank and gave an interview to CITY&BUSINESS GUIDE in Accra, Ghana. According to this the bank would be offering corporate banking, housing finance, car finance, retail banking products and other permissible services. The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana, which is the regulator of the country’s banking industry, had agreed in principle for the setting up of the bank in the country.

He further disclosed that an international Shariah advisory firm, Dar Al Istithmar, in collaboration with his outfit, MCA International Consult, had already prepared a proposal outlining the strategy to introduce Islamic banking to the country.

Source: http://www.modernghana.com/news/162238/1/Ghana-welcomes-islamic-bank

Indonesia plans to sell two Sukuks in the second half year

Harry Suhartono from Reuters reported on 8 April that Indonesia's finance ministry plans for the second half of the year 2008 two Sukuk domestically and international following the approval of the new bill.

Indonesia's finance ministry plans to sell Islamic bonds in the international and domestic markets in the second half of 2008, a senior official said late on Monday following the approval of new bill on Islamic debt.

Rahmat Waluyanto is the treasury director general at the finance ministry. According to him the ministry has suitable underlying assets worth 15 trillion rupiah (USD 1.63 bn).

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said it might take between one to 1.5 months for the ministry to draw up the necessary regulations following the approval of the bill.

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINJAK28409420080408

More information in regard to the Sukuk bill:
http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINJAK29608520080408

AlBaraka: Algerian subsidiary posts strong results

Bahrain Tribune reported on 9 April that, Banque Albaraka D'Algerie, a subsidiary of Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group (ABG), announced a net income increase to USD 19 mn in 2007, which is a 34 % growth.

Mohammed Seddik Hafid, Board Member and General Manager of the bank. Adnan Ahmed Yousif is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banque Albaraka D'Algerie and President and Chief Executive of Albaraka Banking Group.

Source: http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093192151

Singapore's Islamic finance efforts

Pratap John reported in Gulf Times on 8 April that Singapore now provides tax neutrality between conventional and Islamic financing, such as by sales tax exemption for financing based on the Murabaha structure. MAS now allows the city state’s banks to offer Murabaha financing, investment products and deposits.

Angelina Fernandez is director of communications of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Ong Chong Tee is deputy managing director of MAS.

Source: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=211745...

Saad Group outlook revised to 'stable' on improved capital structure

Business Intelligence Middle East reported on 9 April that Standard & Poors revisied Saad Group outlookto 'stable' on improved capital structure. At the same time, the 'BBB+' long-term corporate credit ratings were affirmed.

Standard & Poor's credit analyst is Mohammed Fayek.

The potential for a rating upgrade is constrained by leverage and the potential for volatility in portfolio value. A sustained weakening of equity markets or a more aggressive growth strategy and subsequently higher leverage for the group could have negative implications for the rating.

Saad issued a Sukuk.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19032

CIMA launches qualification in Islamic finance

Joyce Goh reported on 9 April in The Edge Daily, that Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) launches qualification in Islamic finance.

CIMA’s new qualification comprises four modules: Islamic commercial law; Islamic banking and takaful; Islamic capital markets and instruments; and accounting for Islamic financial institutions.

CIMA’s director of education is Robert Jelly. CIMA divisional director is Sopiah Suid, CIMA Malaysia's president is Michael Eow.
Deputy Finance Minister attented the signing: Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. Dr Mohd Daud Bakar is president and CEO of IIIF.

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

EIB and Emirates launches Islamic airline co-branded credit card

Business Intelligence reported on 9 April about the Islamic Visa card of Emirates Islamic Bank, Skywards, and Emirates.

The Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Credit Card will come with a list of benefits and features.

Faisal Aqil is General Manager of Retail Banking at Emirates Islamic Bank. Kamran Siddique is Visa General Manager for the Middle East and North Africa.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19053

Tamweel sets up holding - plans Sukuk

Parag Deulgaonkar reported on 7 April about the extraordinary shareholder meeting of Tamweel, deciding to restructure Tamweel as a holding firm. The UAE mortgage business, property investment, escrow management services and Tamweel International will be the first four operating units.

The company also plans to raise Dh 5.1 bn through sukuk in 2008. This total amount includes Dh 1.1 bn of convertible sukuk and Dh 4 bn of non-convertible sukuk.

Further Tamweel has signed a joint venture agreement with Al Oula Development Company in Saudi Arabia, where the company expects to open a subsidiary later this year. Other expansion plans include Egypt.

Wasim Saifi is CEO of Tamweel.
Zayed bin Saqer Al Nehayan is Chairman of Tamweel.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

Bank of London and the Middle East participates in Qatar infrastructure financing

AME Info published a press release on 8 April that The Bank of London and The Middle East plc (BLME) announced that it has participated in USD 20 mn of Forward Lease financing to Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), for the construction of the Ras Abu Fontas A1 (RAF A1) water desalination plant to be built in the northern part of Ras Abu Fontas, Qatar. The Islamic tranche of the transaction was introduced to BLME by European Finance House, London based subdiary of Qatar Islamic Bank. Out of the total project budget of USD 600 mn, USD 150 mn is Islamic financing which is being underwritten by QIB.

Humphrey Percy is CEO of BLME. Mike Clark is CEO of European Finance House.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/152651.html

IIFM aims to finalise Master Murabaha Agreement

Talal Malik reported on 7 April 2008 that the Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) said to finalise soon the standardisation for a Master Murabaha Agreement called Master Agreement for Treasury Placement (MATP). The Agreements are under final review by Sharia scholars.

Khalid Hamad is chairman of IIFM.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/515834-bahrains-iifm-drawing-up-islamic-f...

Korea considers easing Islamic finance

Yoon Ja-young reported on 7 April that Korea regulators plan to revise laws to support banks to reach out to the markets of Islamic countries.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) plans to revise laws through a revision this year. FSC Chairman Jun Kwang-woo sees bankers requests in this regard very positive. Steps should include opportunities for Sukuk.

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2008/04/123_22065.html

Belgium law firm Loyens & Loeff has launched an Islamic finance practice

Law.com reported on 3 April that Loyens & Loeff has launched an Islamic finance practice -- in a move thought to make Loyens the first Benelux firm to target the sector with a dedicated team, following the hiring of Marjorie Sinke as head last February. Sinke -- a former judge at The Hague -- joins Loyens after running her own Islamic finance consultancy. She was also previously an associate at Benelux giant Stibbe.

Source: http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1207133080920

Local currency government sukuk in Pakistan

Reuters reported on 7 April that Pakistan has shortlisted six banks to manage a local currency sukuk to be mandated according to sources Reuters spoke with, those are ABN Amro Pakistan, Dubai Islamic Bank, Meezan Bank, MCB Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, United Bank Ltd. Last month the finance minster, Salman Shah, indicated the issuance till 30 June, the end of the fiscal year. A banker familiar with the plans estimates the size at least to be Rps 20 bn (USD 318 mn).

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINISL24089920080407

Local currency Pakistani sukuk

Trading Market reported on 7 April that three local Islamic banks arranged Rs 91 bn Sukuk in Pakistan: Meezan Bank participated in Rs 57 bn worth of Sukuk financing. Dubai Islamic Bank during the year 2006-07, arranged Sukuks worth Rs 24 bn, which is 41% of the total domestic Sukuk issuances. BankIslami managed Rs. 5 bn in the last quarter of 2007.

Source: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1316415/

Millennium Finance Corporation announces UGB as new shareholder

Al Bawaba reported on 30 March on the new share holder of Millenium Finance Corporation (MFC), which is United Gulf Bank BSC (UGB).

MFC, a Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) licensed investment bank, was established by an experienced team of bankers from major international investment banking firms, in partnership with DIB. UGB is the investment banking arm of the KIPCO Group, Kuwait.

Khaled Al Kamda is Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Islamic Bank, Masaud Hayat, Managing Director of UGB, Keba Keinde, Chief Executive Officer of MFC, and William Khouri, Chief Executive Officer of UGB all signed off the transaction.

Source: http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/224596

Amlak Finance first quarter profits soar by 425%

Gulf News reported on 6 April that Amlak Finance reported a 425 %growth in first quarter net profits to Dh 126 mn compared to only Dh 24 mn in the first quarter of 2007.

Amlak also reported an impressive 165 per cent rise in revenues to Dh 270 mn during the first quarter of 2008 compared to Dh 102 mn in the same period last year.

The Extraordinary General Meeting mandated the board of directors with the issuance of convertible sukuk, up to Dh1.8 billion, in addition to non-convertible sukuk up to at Dh3 billion, for a total value of Dh4.8 billion.

Nasser Bin Hassan Al Shaikh is the chairman of Amlak Finance.

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Banking_and_Finance/10203528.html

Hong Kong and Dubai sign Islamic finance pact

Rita Raagas De Ramos reported in Asian Investor on 7 April about the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Hong Kong’s Securities & Futures Commission the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) calling for mutual cooperation on capacity building and human capital development in Islamic finance, as well as the promotion and development of their respective Islamic capital market segments; both parties will examine the possibility of establishing a framework for the mutual recognition of their regulatory regimes on Islamic funds to facilitate cross-border marketing and distribution of such funds.

The MOU for cooperation on Islamic finance and capacity building was signed by Hong Kong SFC CEO Martin Wheatley and the DFSA CEO David Knott.

Source: http://www.asianinvestor.net/article.aspx?CIaNID=73222

Ahli United Bank and Legal & General to establish regional life takaful company

Business Intelligence Middle East reported on 4 April about the planned 50:50 Joint-Venture between Ahli United Bank and UK-based Legal & General Group. Both parties agreed to set up a takaful life, pension plans and health insurance provider, subject to necessary regulatory and statutory approvals. The authorised capital is reported at about USD 200 mn, of which USD 25 mn will be initally paid up. Operations shall start later the year.

Mr Fahad Al Rajaan is Chairman of Ahli United Bank

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=18873

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