GCC

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.

European Finance House USD 200 mn Sukuk fund

Esteban Duarte and Neil Unmack reported on Bloomberg on 30 March that European Finance House Ltd. in London, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank seeks is planning the EFH Global Sukuk Plus Fund, managed by Aleksandar Devic, a former Lehman Brothers credi analyst. The Fund targets USD 200 mn.

EFH’s Luxembourg-based fund is targeting this year a yield of 6 % points more than the 3-m USD LIBOR. The fund will buy sukuk with an average credit rating of A, the sixth-highest investment grade ranking in Standard & Poor’s scale.

Mark Watts is head of asset management at European Finance House an he expects a strong rising Sukuk issuance once capital markets are free again.

Global finance structures must be revamped, says UN expert panel

International finance structures must be drastically overhauled in the face of the current global economic crisis, a panel of experts convened by the United Nations General Assembly chaired by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Economics said.

The expert panel made a number of suggestions to support developing nations and creating an international infrastruture for the global markets led by the United Nations.

The panel included Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia.

KFH plans USD 133.3 mn Saudi investment branch

The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is set to open an investment bank in Saudi Arabia with a capital of SAR 500 mn (USD 133.3 mn). KFH is further looking into investment opportunities in the UAE, Oman and Qatar.

Fitch partially downgrades Kuwait Finance House

Fitch Ratings affirmed Kuwait Finance House's (KFH) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A+' and Short-term IDR at 'F1'. KFH’s Individual Rating was downgraded to 'C/D' from 'C' and placed on Rating Watch Negative (RWN). KFH's Support '1' and Support Rating Floor 'A+' were affirmed. The Outlook for the Long-term IDR is Stable.

Abu Dhabi's Hilal Bank sets up Kazakh unit

Stanley Carvalho reported on 31 March on Reuters that Abu Dhabi's government-owned Al Hilal Bank will set up an Islamic bank in Kazakhstan. Al Hilal will headquarter the new bank in the central Asian state's capital Almaty, opening in the second half of 2009 with an initial capital of AED 100 mn(USD 27 mn).

Chairman of Hilal Bank is Ahmed Ateeq al-Mazrouei.

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

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 %.

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