GCC

Unicorn Investment Bank looks for mergers and acquisitions

Unicorn Investment Bank consider mergers in the Gulf, and acquisitions of about USD 2 bn in the Gulf, Europa and Asia. It plans a Sukuk Al Ijara about USD 425 mn in Q3 to fund its expansion reported Ulf Laessing and Raissa Kasolowsky on Reuters. Current targets are two Gulf firms, retail banks in Pakistan, India and Malaysia and one in Britain or continental Europe. Unicorn received also a license in Malaysia for a new set up.

Plans announced last September to issue USD 1.5 bn Sukuk by the end of 2008 had been postponed due to market conditions.

E&Y sees takaful contributions grow to USD 7.7 bn by 2012

Ernst & Young released a report saying that the takaful market may reach USD 7.7 bn contributions by 2012, compared to USD 2.5 bn in 2006 and USD 3.4 bn in 2007.

Source: 

http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/4/pages/globaltakafulmarketmayhit$77billionin2012report.aspx

BLME forced to delay fund launches

Bank of London and the Middle East (BLME), has delayed one global equity tracker and one emerging markets equities fund as the financial crisis constrains clients in the Middle East according to the CEO, reported Cecilia Valente and Daryl Loo on Reuters. One fund which has been delayed but is now poised to launch later this year with $70 million will aim to exploit a niche market for office space for doctors in the United States. BLME has also raised GBP 50 mn from an institutional investor for a UK property fund and plans to raise GBP 20 mn by June for a pooled UK property fund.

Algebra Capital sees the Mideast asset management grow from USD 80 bn to USD 300 bn

Algebra Capital sees the Mideast asset management sector to grow by 15 % from USD 80-100 bn to USD 300 bn by 2014. Fixed-income, which contributes less than 2-3 % of regional assets compared with a majority in equity investments, could provide a "tremendous growth" opportunity if regulators and governments focus on creating the domestic demand for new issues, Managing Director Mohieddine Kronfol said.

Franklin Rersouces Inc. holds a 40 % stake in Algebra Capital and have jointly launched 5 products on the equity side and now looking at fixed-income products and Islamic.

Follow IslamicFinance.de with Twitter

IslamicFinance.de installed on 18 April a new service to keep you updated with Islamic finance news by sending its content to a Twitter account allowing to follow news even by mobile phone, Wikipedia the online encyclopedia explains Twitter as follows:

"Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). [...] Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees." Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

Please feel free to use just another free service related to IslamicFinance.de by following the news via Twitter:

Go to: http://twitter.com/IslamFinance

Prospects of Takaful Growth

Growth in the takaful industry, has slowed slightly as a result of the global economic crisis but is still outpacing the Islamic finance sector as a whole, Peter Hodgins, partner at international law firm Clyde & Co told Reuters: "In percentage terms it is growing faster than the Islamic finance sector and 30, 40 or 50 percent growth in premiums is not unheard of."

A recent report by HSBC estimated the global takaful market at $14.4 billion by 2010.

Emirates NBD appoints Robbert Jan Voogt as the General Manager of Private Banking

Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the region in terms of assets, announces the appointment of Robbert Jan Voogt as the General Manager of Private Banking.

The new General Manager of Private Banking, Robbert Jan Voogt brings financial expertise from his previous positions at Merrill Lynch and FortisMeesPierson to Emirates NBD. He joins the team after heading the Private Bank South Asia at the Fortis Private Bank in Singapore.

Islamic insurer t'azur is looking to make acquisitions

Islamic insurer t'azur is looking to make acquisitions in the Gulf Arab and Middle East regions, in particular Saudi-Arabia.

T'azur, which offers family and general insurance, started operations in Bahrain and Kuwait last year and has an initial authorised capital of $500 million.

Royal Bank of Scotland sees big growth opportunities in Islamic investment banking

Royal Bank of Scotland sees big growth opportunities in Islamic investment banking, expecting asset growth rates to remain 15-20 percent annually and profitability levels to increase, Navid Goraya, RBS' global head of Islamic banking said.

GFH aims to raise USD 600 mn for energy projects in Libya and Kazakhstan

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House is seeking to raise USD 600 mn for energy projects in Libya and Kazakhstan this year.

Yemen receives USD 120 mn from IDB for grain silos

Yemen is to sign USD 120 mn agreement with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to finance a project of Grain Silos in Salif area of Hodeidah governorate.

New brand identity for KFH Bahrain leasing card

Kuwait Finance House – Bahrain (KFH-Bahrain), has unveiled its new brand identity for ' Baytik Ijara Card', the first Islamic financing card that allows cardholders to acquire durable goods on a lease-to-own basis.

KFH-Bahrain's first Ijara card was initially launched in 2004. It gave customers the convenience to make purchases at hundreds of outlets in the Kingdom with the flexibility to pay back depending on period of their choice, which can range from 1 to 24 months.

Fitch Ratings had affirmed Kuwait International Bank "A-"

Fitch Ratings had affirmed Kuwait International Bank (KIB)'s Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at "A-", Short-term IDR at "F2", Individual Rating at "C/D", Support Rating at "1" and Support Rating Floor at "A-". It said the outlook on the Long-term IDR was stable, adding that the bank's IDRs and Support Rating "reflected the extremely high probability of support that could be expected from the Kuwaiti authorities in case of need, based on the state's history of support for local banks during past systemic crises." It also said that the successful conversion into an Islamic bank and the many structural improvements to its business since the July 2007 conversion.

Liquidity Management House combines 7 global banks in financing KFH-Turkey

Liquidity Management House, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance has succeeded in making a combined global 1-year Murabaha finance deal about USD 115 million for KFH-Turkey, after attracting 7 global and regional banks: Halk Bank-Turkey, Islamic Development Bank, Citibank, Garanti Bank International-Holland, Gatehouse Bank-UK, NBK International PLC, Standard Chartered Bank.

KFH-Turkey Chief Executive Officer is Ufuk Iwan.

USD 347 mn SYNDICATED Facility arranged FOR Al Ghurair Center LLC

Badr Al-Islami, the Islamic Banking Division of Mashreq, and Standard Chartered Saadiq along with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, First Gulf Bank, Ajman Bank and Arab African International Bank have successfully arranged a USD 347 million Dual Currency Syndicated Islamic Finance Facility for Al Ghurair Center LLC. Mashreq and Standard Chartered Bank were the Bookrunners on this deal. The Facility has a door to door tenor of ten years. Proceeds of the Facility will be used to finance the expansion of Al Ghurair City, a well known mixed used (retail, commercial and residential) complex located in Dubai.

Oliver Wyman says Islamic finance industry to grow to USD 1.6 trillion by 2012

Assets of the global Islamic finance industry are estimated to grow to around USD 1.6 trillion by 2012, a report by consultancy Oliver Wyman said. Growth opportunities lie in underpenetrated markets with large Muslim populations in the Middle East, Pakistan and South East Asia. Islamic wholesale banking needs to diversify from real estate finance to include advanced treasury services, innovative asset management, balance sheet management and securitisation management.

Request form: http://www.oliverwyman.com/ow/request.htm?name=The%20Next%20Chapter%20in...

Islamic Development Bank plans Sukuk

Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) plans to issue USD 5 bn Sukuk, over the next five years to finance its programmes.

IDB's president Mr Ali said he expected 2009 issue would be priced higher and that the new sukuk would increase the IDB’s 2009 financing programme by 15 %.

S&P: Arcapita Bank Long-Term Rating Lowered To 'BB'; Remains On CreditWatch Negative; 'B' Short-Term Affirmed

Press Release

PARIS April 6, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it lowered its long-term counterparty credit rating on Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank to 'BB' from 'BB+' and kept the rating on CreditWatch with negative implications where it was initially placed on Jan. 28, 2009. At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its 'B' short-term rating on Arcapita.

"The rating action reflects the very weak investment climate, which has challenged Arcapita's business model and has decreased the value of its assets in our view," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Mohamed Damak. "In this light, we believe Arcapita's leverage indicators have weakened, which has put pressure on its credit profile."

Arcapita has reported that it is implementing a set of measures to reduce its leverage and improve its liquidity position. It has already:

--Raised $300 million through two-year facilities from strategic investors;

--Raised $100 million of capital from a strategic shareholder in the Gulf; and

--Sold and leased-back its head office and a related piece of land in a $400 million transaction.

Dubai raises USD 635 mn to refinance debt - Chinese and local banks involved

Simeon Kerr reported in The Financial times on 5 April that the Dubai government raised a
USD 635 mn Islamic finance to help retire a USD 1 bn in civil aviation authority debt maturing later this month.

The lease-based Islamic facilty syndication, led by Dubai Islamic Bank, mainly depends on local banks, but Industrial & Commercial Bank of China and WestLB also participated in the syndication, which was priced at 3 % points above US, UAE and euro benchmark rates. It is due to be repaid in three equal semi-annual instalments from April 2010.

It was the first Islamic transaction for the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China with a branch in the DIFC.

Dubai is preparing to seek a sovereign rating in the second half of this year.

Delay of annual reports - The Investment Dar

The Investment Dar announces that the release of its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2008 has been delayed as a result of additional reporting requirements from the Company's subsidiaries and associates. The Company has been in dialogue with the Kuwaiti regulatory authorities regarding this issue.

As of 1 April 2009, the Kuwait Stock Exchange suspended trading in the companie's shares until further notice as a result of the postponement of the release of its full year financial results for the year ended 31 December 2008. The same action was taken for a number of other Kuwait Stock Exchange listed companies.

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