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Uganda: Global Trust Bank to introduce Sharia banking

UGPulse.com reported on 18 December that Global Trust Bank considers to introduce Sharia banking. Global Trust Bank was recently created and has its headquarters in Nigeria.

Richard Byarugaba is the Managing Director and told journalists that the bank is going to carry out a survey in the Ugandan market to see whether Ugandans need and are ready for such a product of sharia banking.

Japan moves carefully toward Islamic finance

Manabu Hara reported on 12 December in Asahi Newspaper that the Japanese Government has taking a step more to introduce Islamic finance. Earlier this month, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) amended financial regulations to let bank subsidiaries handle Islamic finance operations. But still Murabaha transactions are subject to tax issues.

Zurich launches takaful venture

Switzerland-based Zurich Financial Services Group has established a joint Islamic insurance venture with Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company (ADNTC). The joint venture, called Zurich Takaful Company Limited, will be based in Dubai at Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) and will deal with family takaful businesses across the Middle East. It is 51% owned by Zurich and 49% owned by ADNTC. Zurich’s initial focus will be establishing its DIFC office as a regional hub, which will then act as a springboard for future growth in the region.

Sukuk Trends

Mohammed Abbas and John Irish, reported on Gulf News (Reuters) on 9 March about the Sukuk market tendencies driven by sellers issuing in local currencies at low rates. The fallen LIBOR rates due to Federal Reserve policy are above off-setting for the increased margins asked for credit clients.

Local currencies are in favour as long as speculation is around about reevaluation of the dollar peg - this also limits the foreign demand for Sukuk and exposure to Gulf credit markets. Local currency Sukuk are relying on the GCC internal demand for such paper.

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/money/10212004.html

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...

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