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HSBC Gets Approval For Selling Sukuk In Hong Kong

HSBC has received approval from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to sell Sukuk (Islamic Bonds) in Hong Kong, the first local bank in the territory to do so.

Bruno Lee is head of liabilities business and wealth management.

French management school offers Islamic finance course

Grande Ecole Sup de Co Reims (Groupe Reims Management School) suggests a new course specialising on Islamic finance, which is coordinated by Ghassen Bouslama and offered in English.

Bahrain's Albaraka sees '09 profit growth at 7 %

The chairman of Bahrain-based Islamic lender Al Baraka Banking Group BARKA.BH expects a 7 % rise in profit this year.

Waad is legally binding for compensation, says scholar

Shariah scholar Abdulazeem Abozaid is cited in the Qatari newspaper The Peninsula to say that promises are binding in Islamic finance structuring to the degree of compensation for loss but not for entering into the contract.

Real Estate firms - good and bad news

Emaar Economic City in Riyadh, as subsidiary of Emaar Properties Dubai, announced that it has so far earned SAR 2 bn from the sale of the first phase of residential units.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Real_Estate_Property/10300746.html

Nakheel has joined Thailand's Amburaya Hotels & Resorts to transform Thailand's idyllic Koh Samui Island with the launch of a stunning integrated resort development comprising 17 luxurious private residences and a 75-key all-villa hotel.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Real_Estate_Property/10300825.html

Dubai-based developer Limitless said Thursday it is reviewing a $12 billion (Dh44.04 billion) residential and commercial project in India because authorities there have not yet bought the required land. Its announcement came a day after the developer cut 7 per cent of its workforce and delayed a key contract on its $61 billion Arabian Canal project due to the global economic downturn.

http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Real_Estate_Property/10300811.html

Egon Zehnder executive search assigned to find new EON Bank head

Yap Leng Kuen reported in the The Star that the International search firm Egon Zehnder International has been appointed to find a replacement for former EON Bank CEO Albert Lau Yiong.

Islamic Bank of Britain launches mortgage product in Scotland

Jane Bradley reported in the Scotsman on 3 April that Islamic Bank of Britain is introducting its mortgage product to Scotland. It is understood the launch is just the beginning of a wider push into Scotland – which is likely to include the opening of a physical branch and back office operations as well as the introduction of online retail banking for Scottish customers.

Brunei short term Sukuk

The Ministry of Finance, Brunei Darussalam announced the successful pricing of its 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th issuance of short-term Sukuk Al-Ijarah securities. The accumulated total of these four Sukuk issuance was B$ 165 million; B$ 31 million for Series 24, B$ 60 million for Series 25, B$ 11 million for Series 26 and B$ 63 million for Series 27.

Ghurair in AED 1.27 bn Islamic facility

The well-diversified Al Ghurair Group has signed a USD 347.2 mn (AED 1.275 bn) Islamic facility with a group of financial institutions including Mashreq. The facility has been structured in Ijara and Musharaka that require a sale and lease-back of the asset owned by the client.

Standard Chartered and Mashreq, which is majority owned by the Al Ghurair Group, were the lead book-runners and participating banks include First Gulf Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Arab African Bank and Ajman Bank.

Gassner's picture

Sustainability, Islamic Finance and Managing Risk While Seizing Opportunities

I just published an article with the Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes Newsletter, giving an overview about the lines of arguments regarding performance and ethical screens, be it Islamic or Sustainability and what empiricial findings have been published.

It is claimed by critics that the reduction of the universe through ethical screens shall reduce the performance, likewise corporate social responsiblity comes against a cost. Similar counterarguments have been raised regarding Islamic screening criteria.

Bank Sarasin published a study doing own research with partners and reviewing published empirical analyses in the literature. It shows that there is no negative impact on performance. My review of empirical analyses in regard to Islamic finance concluded the same and all publications let conclude that ethical screens add value by way of risk management. An example is the debt limitation of the Sharia tolerance criteria.

Ethical screens may therefore improve the investment decision process and more research shall determine, which factors add value to the portfolio and therefore form part of a professional process.

Projections for Takaful - Views of Best RE CEO

Nopporn Wong-Anan wrote in Arabianbusiness on 30 March that Saleh Malaikah, chairman of Islamic reinsurance operator BEST Re sees the takaful business growing by 17 % over the next 3 years. The growth prospects lying in the fact that insurance coverage is not widely used in the Middle East and shows therefore potential; Saudi Arabia has a market share of 20 % in takaful from the overall insurance market, and promises the highest growth rate. In Malaysia the takaful market share has reached 30 %.

Allianz has seen robust performance in Muslim markets

Allianz Indonesia grew by 8.5 % and is the fourth biggest life insurer in the country. In 2008 the MENA region has proven to be one of Allianz's growth powerhouses. Revenues from the region grew to 2.4 billion euros, an increase of 40 percent from last year. In Asia Pacific Property and casualty business (P&C) remains growth driver, unique opportunities to strengthen distribution.

Allianz offers conventional and Islamic coverage.

Inovest offers water technology investment

Inovest (previously Al Khaleej Development Company – Tameer), a Bahrain-based shariah compliant investment company, has launched a new water technology venture in partnership with a US company.

The project size is USD 32 mn, from which USD 24 mn will be the net equity, and USD 7.2 mn is being subscribed by Inovest and its technology partner.

The product launch is subject to approval from Central Bank of Bahrain and other statutory approvals, the company added

Inovest CEO is Dr. Khalid Abdulla.

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Two Islamic banks in Kenya founded, but first year of operations not yet profitable

James Makau reported in Business Daily on 31 March that the Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank became the first fully fledged Islamic banks in Kenya but both had to record losses in their first year of operations as operating expenses and heavy set-up costs took a heavy toll on earnings.

Gulf African Bank recorded a loss of Sh281 million last year while First Community Bank (FCB) posted a loss of Sh307 million within the same period despite both players recording increases in net income during the year.

Sukuk sales may reach record on Gulf demand

Sukuk sales may rebound and reach a record this year, with the Gulf accounting for about two-thirds of the debt issued as higher yields attract investors according to NCB Capital. There is an estimated ‘pipeline’ of about USD 39.3 bn of so-called sukuk, Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at Saudi Arabia’s NCB Capital, said in a report. He estimates the pipeline from the Gulf Cooperation Council to be USD 24.6 bn.

The average extra yield on corporate and government sukuk above the London interbank offered rate is 12.26 % points, up from 5.76 % points a year ago, according to HSBC-Nasdaq Dubai indexes.

CIMB Islamic has USD 2.5 bn Sukuk in pipeline / plans infrastructure fund

B.K. SIDHU reported in The Star Malaysia on 30 Marcht that it has won 19 mandeates to raise nearly USD 2.5 bn from the Islamic capital markets and that it is planned to launch a USD 500 mn infrastructure fund. The issuers of the Sukuk are partially situated in the Gulf including a sovereign.

Badlisyah Abdul Ghani is the CIMB Islamic chief executive officer.

Bursa Malaysia Readies Islamic Short-Selling System

Bursa Malaysia’s regulated platform has not finalised the precise structure yet. But according to Bursa Malaysia CEO Yusli Mohamed Yusoff Short-selling is perceived as an essential ingredient for capital markets to perform efficiently.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Address The Growing Takaful Market

Press Release

LONDON, March 30, 2009 -- In a report published today, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services explains the way that its rating approach has been adapted to meet the growth of takaful insurance.

The article, "Standard & Poor's Approach To Rating Takaful And Retakaful (Islamic Re/Insurance) Companies," says that the last five years have seen takaful (Islamic insurance) grow from a niche product servicing relatively limited demand to become a mainstream risk management offering.

"In particular, we have seen rapid growth in the Arab world and an expansion across Europe. A further market development has been the growth of retakaful as a Sharia-compliant version of reinsurance," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Kevin Willis.

Standard & Poor's has rated a number of Islamic insurers and reinsurers and so is able to comment on the way that the rating criteria have been adapted to address the specifics of this product.

ADIB converts USD 599 mn to regulatory capital

Stanley Carvalho reported in Arabianbusiness on 29 March that Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank became the fourth Abu Dhabi bank to announce it has secured financing from the Ministry of Finance. ADIB secured AED 2.2 bn of government deposits and converted it into regulatory capital following similar moves by rivals in the credit crisis.

With the conversion into Tier 2 capital, ADIB's total equity increases to AED 11.02 bn and its capital adequacy ratio (CAR) will be 19.75 percent.

Tiras Mahmoud is CEO of ADIB.

AGM Al Baraka Group

Albaraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG) held its Ordinary and Extra Ordinary General Meetings today in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. A cash dividend of USD 27.9 mn was decided, which represents 4 % of the issued capital further bonus shares were approved in an amount of USD 46.5 at the rate for one share for every 15.

After deducting all the expenses, the total net income amounted to USD 201 mn in 2008, reflecting an increase of 37.1 % over the income in 2007 after excluding the effect of the extraordinary profit arising from the IPO of the Group's unit in Turkey from the profits of 2007.

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