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Sukuk Debate

Dear Readers,

Please see my explanation to the recent Sukuk debate layed out in two articles.

Best regards,

Michael Saleh Gassner

Takaful market booming in GCC

David Masters reported on 15 April about the new Ernst & Young Report in the Insurance Daily, which says that the GCC countries contribute USD 1 bn to the USD 2 bn global Takaful market, which is supposedly growing at 20 %. Worldwide there are 133 Takaful operators. 59 of these operate within the GCC countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Ernst & Young’s head of Islamic finance is Sameer Abdi.

Source: http://www.insurancedaily.co.uk/2008/04/15/takaful-market-booming-in-gcc/

Full study at E&Y:

http://www.ey.com/global/content.nsf/UK/_Islamic_Financial_Services

Villamar Sukuk Prices USD 190 mn 2013 Sukuk FRN At Par,Libor +2.75

Dow Jones Newswire reported on 18 April, that Villamar Sukuk Company Limited has priced USD 190 mn of 2013-dated, sukuk floating-rate-notes through Merrill Lynch and Al Rajhi Banking & Invesment Corporation. It is going to be listed at the DIFX.

Source: http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidDN20080418003227

Moody's assigns first-time IFSR of Aa3 to ICIEC

Moody's released on 14 April that Moody's assigns first-time IFSR of Aa3 to ICIEC with stable outlook stable outlook.

The Corporation was established in 1994 at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. ICIEC provides export credit insurance and re-insurance for exports emanating from its member countries, to anywhere in the world, to cover the non-payment of export receivables resulting from commercial or non commercial risks.

ICIEC is a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB, rated Aaa by Moody's), which holds 51% of ICIEC's issued shares through its waqf fund, a special fund established by IDB.

Moody's notes that ICIEC's rating reflects both the stand-alone fundamentals as well as potential support from its shareholders/IDB Group member countries.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/153294.html

International Islamic Bank takes Tunisian company IPO

Business Intelligence reported on 13 April that International Investment Bank (IIB), a globally-focused Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain, announced the successful initial public offering of ARTES, the exclusive distributor of Renault, Nissan and Dacia in Tunisia.

Aabed Al-Zeera is Chief Executive Officer of IIB.
Mohamed Hadi Mejai is Executive Director, Investment and Business Development, IIB.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19150

Dow Jones Indexes opens Dubai Office

Talal Malik reported on 14 April in Arabian Business that Dow Jones Indexes opens its first Middle East office in Dubai.

Michael A. Petronella is president of Dow Jones.
Sumeet Nihalani is Dow Jones' senior director of sales for the region.
Imran Vohra is Head of Dubai office.
Rushdi Siddiqui is global director of Dow Jones Islamic Market Indexes.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/516453-dow-jones-indexes-opens-first-midd...

Emirates NBD Group launches Fund linked to the performance of Global Property

Property Report reported on 11 April that the Emirates NBD Group launches the Sharia compliant Emirates Islamic Global Property Fund, an open-ended daily dealing investment fund to provide investors with access to property globally.

The fund will be managed by Emirates Investment Services Ltd (´EIS´), the asset management arm of Emirates NBD group and a company licensed and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. It uses an Islamic certificate that derives its returns based on the profit from a reference index linked to the value of physical commercial property and real estate globally.

EIS has partnered with New Star Asset Management to structure this product as the manager of the reference fund to which returns of the Fund will initially be linked.

Jamal Bin Ghalaita is Head of Consumer Banking and Wealth Management at Emirates NBD.

Source: http://www.property-report.com/aprarchives.php?id=1373&date=110408

Kuwait Financial Centre launches Markaz Islamic Income Fund

Kuwait Financial Centre released on 7 April the launch of Markaz Islamic Income Fund, a Sharia compliant money market fund with a variable capital of KD 5 mn to KD 50 mn. The fund is licensed and approved by the Central Bank of Kuwait and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry the Fund shall invest its money in all available financial and money market instruments within the State of Kuwait and abroad in Kuwaiti Dinars and/or other major currencies actively traded in the financial markets. The Fund investments shall include Mudaraba Sukuk, Murabaha or Wakala, and other Sharia compliant Islamic instruments.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/152636.html

Sukuk from Hong Kong?

Deal Journal reported on 10 April about potential ambitions of Hong Kong based corporations to issue Sukuk. Those companies cited include the Airport Authority Hong Kong, which is wholly government-owned. The Chinese newspaper Mingpao is cited that the other firms are rail operator MTR Corp. and Hong Kong Mortgage Corp.

MTR denied it is planning an Islamic bond issue.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2008/04/10/hong-kong-considers-islamic-bonds/

Kuwait Finance House re-arrange investments in Bahrain

Kuwait Finance House aims to re-arrange Bahraini investments according to a report by Ulf Laessing on Reuters on 11 April, citing Al Watan newspaper. KFH shall attempt to invest USD 1.5 bn in Real Estate Investment in Bahrain.

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

ProLogis and Arcapita Form Venture to Provide Modernized Logistics Facilities in the GCC

ProLogis released on 8 April that they entered into a 50/50 joint venture agreement to create ProLogis Middle
East with Arcapita, an Islamic investment bank based in Bahrain. The Joint-Venture will develop and acquire a USD 1 bn portfolio of advanced
logistics warehouse space in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Jeff Schwartz is chairman and chief executive officer of ProLogis.
Atif Abdulmalik is chief executive officer of Arcapita. "
Joseph Ghazal is senior vice president and head of
ProLogis Middle East. "

Companies:
http://www.prologis.com
http://www.arcapita.com

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/0...

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

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