GCC

Gulf Re targets high-value energy projects

Mohamad Al Kady reported on 12 April in Business 24/7 that Gulf Re, a newly formed joint venture between the Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group and Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), is set to offer reinsurance services for large GCC projects in oil, gas, power and water desalination.

GulfRe starts to think about creating a re-Takaful organisation to offer Islamic reinsurance services to their clients.

Gail Norstrom is the CEO of GulfRe

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

Tabreed names banks for Sukuk issuance

Business 24/7 reported on 13 April that National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed) has mandated Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered and National Bank of Abu Dhabi as lead managers for its planned USD 300-500 mn convertible Sukuk due by 2011.

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

Sharia compliant Gold Exchange Traded Fund

Peter Cooper reported on 9 April on Business 24/7 about the Sharia compliant Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and World Gold Council. The ETF will be backed by physical Gold deposited under the Almas Tower of DMCC. After approval of the regulatory body Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) a secondary market will be operated by listing the ETF on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX).

DMCC has taken a share in London-listed Shariah Capital, which is supervising the compliance. Other Gold ETFs usually used derivatives to replicate the performance of Gold.

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

Rajhi Bank increases profits

Souhail Karam reported on Reuters, 13 April, on the profit rise of 2.1 % of Saudi-based Rajhi Bank in Q1 from core business operations.

Net Income from investment rose 11.5 % to SAR 2.03 bn. Income from banking services increased 18 % to SAR 454 mn. Growth is targeted by diversifying its sources of revenue, developing the investment and corporate banking sectors along with retail banking. According to analysts posted profits could be even higher, but were impacted by the cost of international expansion.

Rajhi plans to add 160 branches in Saudi Arabia by mid-2008.

Chief Executive is Abdullah Sulaiman al-Rajhi.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews/id...

Academic Research Papers

Dear Members,

Please share your opinion about the following proposal in regard to

- Academic Research Papers

This forum could facilitate to publish your research papers and having them rated by peers afterwards. This would speed up the time from production to publishing tremendously compared to traditional journals.

It also gives a chance to see unusual papers published, however, a good number of submissions might be of lower quality at the same time.

The action question: Is there interest in the community to use such a platform in this way???

Please comment!!!

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

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

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

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...

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

Inma Bank eyes SAR 10.5 bn in biggest Saudi IPO

Trade Arabia reported on 5 April based on Reuters that Inma Bank plans SAR 10.5 bn (USD 2.8 bn) in biggest Saudi Initial Public Offering (IPO) from April 7 to 16 selling 1.05 billion shares representing 70 % of the bank's capital SAR 15 bn capital. The Public Investment Fund, General Organisation for Social Insurance (Gosi) and the Public Pension Agency will each hold 10 %.

The IPO was previously delayed. Start of operations of the new Islamic bank is planned for the second half of 2008 with 15 branches.

The CEO is Abdel-Mohsen al-Faris. Lead Manager is Samba Capital.

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/BANK_141332.html

New IFSB documents on Capital Adequacy and Liquidity Management

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) released on 1 April that the IFSB Council adopted two documents to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry.

In its 12th meeting held at the Islamic Development Bank's (IDB) headquarters in Jeddah on March 26th 2008, the Council of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) resolved to approve two documents that aim to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry. The two documents are:

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

Technical Note on Issues in Strengthening Liquidity Management of Institutions Offering Islamic Financial Services: The Development of Islamic Money Markets (Technical Notes)

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

New Islamic Private Bank in Switzerland planned

Andrew England and David Oakley wrote a short briefing on 30 March in the Financial Times about a new Islamic private bank planned in Switzerland. National Bank of Kuwait is supposedly partnering with a Saudi-Arabian institution.

Source: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/9bbfce9e-fe8c-11dc-9e04-000077b07658,Authorised=...

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