GCC

#UAE's Dana Gas plans cash dividend despite $700 mln #sukuk dispute

Dana Gas plans to pay a dividend for 2017 despite its legal dispute with investors demanding that the company settles $700 million of sukuk bonds. International funds and local investors want Dana to direct its resources towards repaying that debt. Dana last year halted payments on its sukuk, saying the bond had become unlawful in the United Arab Emirates because of changes in Islamic finance. Dana has been in talks for months with creditors to restructure its sukuk. One of the proposals envisaged Dana redeeming 10% with cash and rolling over 90% under new terms. However, creditors want the company to redeem a higher proportion of the sukuk.

Corrected: Arkan Bank could tap investors for $200mln through Nasdaq Dubai listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $200 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

World's largest single country Islamic ETF launched on QSE

#Qatar launched the world's largest single country Islamic exchange traded fund (ETF). Al Rayan Qatar ETF (QATR), sponsored by Masraf Al Rayan, is planning to create more units to meet the increasing demand. The QATR is listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange and seeks to track the performance of the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index to provide investors diversified exposure to Qatari equities. The open-ended fund, with initial assets of $120mn, is three times larger than any other ETF in Qatar and Gulf region and has pegged total expense ratio at 0.5% of net asset value, which is considered to be the lowest for any single country ETF in the region. According to Al Rayan's chief investment officer Haithem Katerji, QATR is perfect for investors seeking diversified exposure to Shariah-compliant Qatari stocks with the simplicity and efficiency of buying just one share.

Newly empowered #Saudi women to help drive growth at Al Rajhi Bank

Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank has opened 133 female-only branches and a car showroom for women to help them access car loans. Women have been allowed to attend mixed sporting events and will be able to drive from June. Al Rajhi Bank is a major provider of vehicle loans and has operated car showrooms since 2008. They were only for men until the bank opened its first women-only one late last year. Al Rajhi CEO Steve Bertamini said families usually have a large automobile already, so the cars for women tend to be smaller vehicles for commuting. He added that the bank would provide extended hours for women within existing car showrooms and increase the number of female bank branches in 2018. Women's increased economic activity will help the bank's loan growth outperform the 4% expected for the sector in 2018.

#Saudi tycoon auctions off 900 vehicles to clear debt

Thousands of people attended the first day of an auction of vehicles owned by indebted Saudi Arabian tycoon Maan al-Sanea. Officials say the sale will go towards repaying about 18 billion riyals (US$4.8 billion) owed to creditors. The businessman was detained by authorities last year for unpaid debt dating back to 2009 when his company, Saad Group, defaulted on payments. The first phase of the auction was launched this week, with around 900 vehicles including lorries, buses, diggers, forklift trucks and golf carts. Later stages of the process will include property, as well as machinery, ceramics and furniture. Prospective buyers were mainly businessmen from local construction companies and other contractors. Money raised from the first phase of the auction will go towards repaying creditors. Priority for the repayment will first go to repaying unpaid workers, vendors and other companies owed money will be given next priority, with banks at a later stage.

Arkan Bank could tap investors for $100mln through Nasdaq listing

Dubai Investments announced the establishment of a new Islamic bank called Arkan Bank. It will be the first home-grown, wholesale Islamic Bank operating from Dubai International Financal Centre. It will have an initial paid-up capital of $100 million and another $100 million will be raised after 12 months of its establishment through listing on Nasdaq. CEO Khalid Bin Kalban said Dubai Investments will initially hold a 25% in the bank and would aim to retain a stake of that size. He added that Arkan Bank's core business lines would be corporate banking, asset management and awqaf, investment banking and treasury. Arkan Bank initially plans to focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank in the region.

Dubai Investments to launch sharia-compliant Arkan Bank

Dubai Investments will lead a consortium of investors to launch Arkan Bank. Arkan Bank is now applying to the Dubai Financial Services Authority for approval for a licence to operate as an Islamic financial institution. It plans to offer sharia-compliant banking services and investment products to serve ultra-high-net-worth individuals, corporates, and institutional clients. The bank has an initial paid-up-capital of $100 million and will have an authorised share capital of $500 million. Arkan Bank chairman Khalid Bin Kalban said the bank would initially focus on the GCC region and subsequently build scale to become the top-tier Islamic wholesale bank. The bank plans to list its shares on NASDAQ Dubai within 12 months of its establishment.

#Qatar’s first Shariah compliant ETF to hit market tomorrow

Qatar’s second listed exchange traded fund (ETF), the Al Rayan Qatar ETF will begin trading tomorrow on Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE). Al Rayan Qatar ETF is the first Shariah-compliant exchange traded fund listed on QSE.
The ETF, issued by Masraf Al Rayan, will track the QE Al Rayan Islamic Index. The Fund will track the performances of 18 stock index of Sharia-compliant Qatari listed equities. Al Rayan Investment is the Fund Manager. HSBC Bank Middle East is the Investment Custodian. According to the prospectus issued by the Fund Manager, the Fund is structured as an open-ended vehicle with a maximum limit of issued capital of QR2bn. The base currency of the Fund is Qatari Riyal and the Fund will only invest in securities denominated in Qatari Riyal.

DIEDC to collaborate with #Turkmenistan bank

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan (TFEB) to exchange knowledge, experience and best practices in Islamic economy. The MoU was signed by Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy and chairman of DIEDC, and Rahimberdy J. Jepbarov, chairman of TFEB. The centre aims to organise workshops and training courses and share professional research. In addition, the two parties have set up a joint committee to oversee the collaboration. Al Mansouri said this partnership between DIEDC and TFEB would strengthen synergies between the two countries. He further highlighted sukuk as an effective tool to finance projects in infrastructure, education and health care, as well as in other vital sectors of the economy.

GCC’s alternative equity funding set to grow

A major type of alternative equity investment is through venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE), which represent an ownership stake in a private company. With the assistance of VC and PE, some companies may grow and become public companies through initial public offerings (IPOs). In 2017, the UAE and Saudi Arabia led IPO activity in the GCC, with five listings in the UAE, four in Saudi Arabia, three in Oman and one in Qatar. Much of the activity has been in the region's relatively new Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) market. IPO activity in the region has been focused mainly on large state-owned enterprises, while public equity markets are still classified as ‘frontier’ and ‘emerging’. Throughout the region there is a growing ecosystem of economic free zones, business incubators, co-working spaces, conferences and awards for start-up companies. There is no doubt that the level of VC and PE activity will continue to grow in the region just as the public markets will continue to evolve.

Bidaya Home Finance Issues Plans for Selling Islamic #Sukuk Bonds

Bidaya Home Finance revealed plans to sell Islamic sukuk bonds worth 500 million SAR. Bidaya Home Finance hired the services of Ashmore Investment Saudi Arabia to arrange the program.

#Bahrain Counts on #Fintech, #Saudi Ties to Revive Indebted Economy

Bahrain FinTech Bay is part of the kingdom's drive to revive its reputation as the Middle East's top banking and business center. After the plunge of oil prices in 2014, state revenues fell, credit ratings fell and debt soared. Large debts still pose a risk as interest rates rise, but Bahrain is starting to see initial signs of recovery. PayTabs, a Saudi company specializing in online payment solutions, will set up a base in Bahrain FinTech Bay in May. Tap Payments, a mobile payment company founded in Kuwait, moved to Fintech Bay last month. CEO Ali Abulhasan said Bahrain had regulatory advantages when compared to other Gulf Cooperation Countries. Foreign investment from 71 companies was $733 million last year, up from $281 million and 40 companies in 2016. This contributed to an average annual GDP growth of more than 3.5%. Central bank governor Rasheed Mohammed al-Maraj said that growth could accelerate further, as strong oil prices have bounced to around $65 a barrel from below $50 in mid-2017.

#Kuwait Finance House to split shareholding of Turkish asset manager

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will divide the ownership structure of its Turkish asset management firm between local and Kuwaiti units, as the Islamic lender continues to build on its Turkey franchise. KT Asset Management will transfer 5 million shares representing a 50% stake to KFH Capital. Both Kuveyt Turk and KFH Capital are subsidiaries of KFH. KFH Capital is the main investment arm of KFH, which has restructured activities in recent years to streamline operations and focus on growth markets such as Turkey.

Sharjah Govt issues $1b #sukuk

The Government of Sharjah has issued a $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) dollar sukuk on a 10 year maturity. The lead arrangers for the issue were Sharjah Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered. Walid Al Sayegh, Director-General of Sharjah Finance Department, pointed out that the timing behind the issuance makes this the first sovereign sukuk issued in 2018 in the region. It is also the largest sukuk issuance by the government of Sharjah, which previously carried out two issuances. Al Sayegh said that the revenue from these sukuk would be used for infrastructure projects, as well as urban and financial development of Sharjah.

Islamic #fintech adoption is set to increase

According to experts, the adoption of Islamic fintech will soon see a global increase as nations focus on financial inclusion across emerging economies. At the 11th edition of Innovation Arabia, Mohamed Roushdy, founder of Fintech Bazaar, revealed that traditional fintech has been existing for long as a service provider supporting financial services, but not customers. When it comes to fintech adoption today, adoption is highest in Asia in emerging economies. China leads the way with 69% adoption, followed by India at 52%. In terms of financial inclusion, Roushdy said the situation looks rather bleak across many Muslim nations. According to the Global Findex Database, 71% of Muslims have no bank account. Professor Nabil Baydoun, vice-chancellor at Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), said the importance of the Islamic economy is seen as a vital resource and a contributing factor in the transition to the post-oil economy. The 11th edition of the event is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

QIB launches new Investor Relations App

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has launched an Investor Relations app for Android and iOS smartphones. The QIB IR App keeps the investors updated on the latest financial developments related to share prices, stock performance, bank news, financial results and key financial reports. It includes interactive financial screens enabling investors to see QIB’s historical share price and results while providing comparison with peers. As QIB’s investors are global, the app supports 17 languages and enables the display of share prices in different currencies as well. QIB cooperated with Euroland, a leading fintech company, to launch the app and update the information available on the website. All interested parties can download the QIB IR app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store and visit the Investor Relations (IR) section on QIB’s website.

A.M. Best Affirms Credit Ratings of #Qatar Islamic #Insurance Company Q.S.C.

A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B++ (Good) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “bbb+” of Qatar Islamic Insurance Company (QIIC). The outlook of these Credit Ratings is stable. QIIC adopts a hybrid takaful model, whereby the shareholders’ fund (SHF) charges the policyholders’ fund (PHF) a Wakala fee based on gross written contributions (GWC) and a Muderaba fee based on investment income. QIIC has a track record of strong operating and technical profitability, highlighted by a five-year average combined ratio of 79% that has remained very stable over recent years. Although the company is concentrated to its domestic market of Qatar, the company maintains a niche market position as an established provider of Shari’a compliant products.

Dubai launches #incubator to boost ethical Islamic start-up firms

Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) has announced the launch of Goodforce Labs, a startup incubator focused on supporting ethical startups in the fields of Islamic economy and Halal industries. Goodforce Labs will select a group of startups and small and medium enterprises and support them towards a $50 million in annual revenues and measurable social impact. Most Islamic economy startups face many problems and struggle to grow and survive. A number of startups have joined the incubator like Growmada, an e-platform for selling handicrafts from developing countries, Waqf 2.0, a cloud-based platform for managing Awqaf, Zileej, a company specializing in disciplined entertainment products and Rabia Z, which designs modest women’s clothing.

Saudi Dar Al Arkan Real Estate hires banks ahead of 5-year dollar #sukuk deal

Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development has mandated banks to arrange investor meetings ahead of a planned U.S. dollar five-year sukuk offering. If the deal goes ahead, Dar Al Arkan will be the first Saudi company to issue an international bond this year. The banks mandated are Alkhair Capital, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, Goldman Sachs International, Nomura, Noor Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, who will act as joint bookrunners of the deal.

Emirates to meet investors ahead of possible #sukuk issuance

Emirates airline mandated local and international banks to arrange a global investor roadshow ahead of a possible sukuk issuance. The carrier mandated Citi and Standard Chartered Bank as global coordinators and joint lead managers, alongside BNP Paribas, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, and Noor Bank as joint lead managers. Proceeds from the issuance will be used for general corporate purposes. Emirates did not disclose the size of the possible sukuk, but said it will be of benchmark size. The company has tapped the debt capital markets with four issuances since 2011 raising over $3.65 billion, over 50% of which has been from sukuk. The most recent aircraft order was for 36 Airbus A380s worth $16 billion and was made in late January. Delivery of the aircraft will begin in 2020.

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