GCC

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=...

Saudi mortgage law awaits confirmation

AME Info reported on 30 March that the long awaited Saudi mortgage law is being considered by Saudi-Arabia's Consultative Council.

Islamic financing will play a promiment role in housing finance and it is expected that also the takaful industry will benefit from this move.

Full Text: http://www.ameinfo.com/151657.html

Gulf wealth projection USD 3.800 bn by 2012 - consulting firm Oliver Wyman

In a press release the consulting firm Oliver Wyman gave insights into their report "The Future of Private Banking - A Wealth of Opportunity".

Wealth held by high net worth individuals in the GCC - those with investable wealth of more than $1 million - is expected to grow from USD 2100 bn in 2007 to USD 3.800 bn by 2012. Annual growth is expected to slow down from previously 11 % to 9 % over the next 5 years.

Globally an estimated 16% of HNWI wealth was held offshore in 2007 while for the Middle East an estimate 52% is given in the press release. However, this is countered by a strong trend amongst the GCC's richest to repatriate wealth and invest in regional assets.

The scarcity of talent - skilled and experienced client relationship managers - is also a challenge in the Middle East, with dedicated on-the-ground coverage teams needed for billionaire families and top UHNWIs.

About Oliver Wyman www.oliverwyman.com

Full Press Release: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/index.php?option=com_pressreleases&view=d...

International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) established

Bernama reported on 26 March that Bank Negara Malaysia announced the establishment of the International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) to promote applied research in the area of Sharia and Islamic finance. It will also act as a repository of knowledge for Sharia views or fatwas and undertake studies on contemporary issues in Islamic financial industry. ISRA will be part of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF).

A Council of Scholars, comprising local and international Syariah scholars will be set up. Dr Mohamad Akram Laldin will be appointed as the executive director of ISRA.

Source: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_lite.php?id=322895

Al Islami Foods and Alf Yad launch a regional venture capital initiative

Al Islami Foods and Alf Yad, a Dubai based venture capital fund for young Arab entrepreneurs announced their strategic collaboration. Alf Yad will raise and deploy AED 100 mn to promising Arab entrepreneurs across the region. Initially, Alf Yad will support Al Islami with the introduction of a business franchise for fast foods - the Al Islami Cart - a business franchise for fast foods primarily distributed in major Co-Op supermarkets, high traffic mall outlets as well as the Global Village and university campuses.

Mr. Saleh Abdullah Lootah, is Chief Executive Officer of Al Islami Foods. Mr. Shehab Gargash is the Chief Executive Officer of Daman Investments, the manager of the fund.

Source: http://www.zawya.com/story.cfm/sidZAWYA20080327115425

NBK Capital aims to arrange Sukuk and close Private Equity transactions

Ulf Laessing reported in ArabianBusiness on 27 March about NBK Capitals plans to arrange Sukuk issues worth up to USD 700 mn in 2008 and to finalise four purchases for a Private Equity Fund.

The article confirms the slow down due to the credit crisis and that the pricing does not meet the clients requirement easily.

Further the company is buying into a car leasing company in Saudi, according to the Head of investment and merchant banking, Amjad Ahmad. It also aims to open offices in Qatar and Saudi-Arabia next year. It is operation in Turkey and interested in Syria.

NBK Capital operates currently in Kuwait and Dubai and focusses on mid-range deals in the triple-million dollar digit range.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/514909-nbk-capital-plans-700mn-islamic-bo...

Qatar Islamic Bank arranges USD 137.5 mn Musharaka Sukuk for Salam Bounian company

The Peninsula reported on 27 March about the Musharaka Sukuk USD 137.5 mn arranged by Qatar Islamic Bank on behalf of the ‘Salam Bounian Development Company Limited’. Qatar National Bank Al Islami, the Islamic branch of Qatar National Bank and ALSAFA, the Islamic banking division of the Commercialbank of Qatar QSC, were joint lead managers and bookrunners for the issue. Only Qatari financial institutions participated for the first time. The Sukuk will be listed in Luxembourg and traded by the Qatar Islamic Bank and its affiliates, European Finance House and Asian Finance House.

Source: http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Business_News&...

Al Rajhi licensed to open branch in Kuwait

Kuwait News Agency reported on 24 March that the Saudi-based Al-Rajhi bank, the largest Islamic bank globally, received approval to open a branch in Kuwait.

Full Text: http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=6&id=12201

Bahrain: Islamic stock market and mega bank

Bahraini and GCC investors plan to establish an Islamic stock market in Bahrain. The stock market is part of the proposed Islamic mega bank project, which is said to have received licence from Central Bank of Bahrain.

Businessman Shaikh Saleh Kamel is quoted to have said that the bank aims for a capital of USD 11 bn, of which USD 1 bn are administrative shares for the bank's strategic investors, among them Al Baraka Group, a Kuwaiti bank, Saudi Investment Bank, Islamic development Bank and Bahrain Islamic Bank.

The mega bank is supposed to launch USD 33 bn worth of investment funds in regional and international markets.

Source:
http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=212659&Sn=BUSI&IssueID=...

Lawyer Michael McMillen joins Fulbright & Jaworski

The reknown Islamic finance specialist lawyer, Michael McMillen, joins Fulbright & Jaworski as partner to lead its global Islamic finance practice. He used to work previously for Dechert and King & Spalding.

Source: legalweek.com

Amlak, UAE to sell Sukuk worth Dh 4.8 bn

John Irish reported on Monday, 24 March in ArabianBusiness that Dubai-based mortgage lender Amlak Finance plans to sell as much as 1.8 billion dirhams convertible and 3 billion dirhams non-convertible Sukuk this year to help finance expansion.
 
The CEO, Arif Al-Harmi confirmed the approval to Reuters given by the extraordinary general meeting of the board and the Chairman, Nasser Al-Shaikh, revealed that the total plans are to raise 6 billion dirhams this year. Amlak, an affiliate of Emaar Properties, will launch operations in Qatar and Jordan this year and has applied for a licence in Bahrain, Al-Harmi said. Syria is in discussion state.
 
Amlak delayed a sale of Sukuk late 2007 because of unsecure demand situation caused by the US credit crisis.
 
Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/514474-amlak-to-sell-islamic-bonds-worth-...

ABC Islamic Bank in USD 100 mn general syndication for Kuwaits "Munshaat"

ABC Islamic Bank (the Initial Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunner) launched general syndication for Kuwaits Munshaat Real Estate Projects Company ("Munshaat"). ABC Islamic Bank had successfully closed the senior phase of the US$100 million, 3-year Syndicated Revolving Murabaha Financing Facility.
 
Prior to general syndication BNP Paribas, Emirates Bank International PJSC, and Saudi British Bank joined the facility as Mandated Lead Arrangers at the senior stage.
 
This is the debut syndication for Munshaat and the funds will be used to finance development of prime properties in the Holy Haram area in Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia. Athman Investment Company, Kuwait is acting as the financial advisor to Munshaat Real Estate Projects Company for this financing.
 
Summary of the facility is as follows:
 
Borrower: Munshaat Real Estate Projects Company K.S.C.
 
Amount: US$100 million
 
Facility Type: Revolving Murabaha Financing Facility Purpose: Financing of prime properties in Makkah & Madinah
 

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Dubai Financial Market Sharia Board issues first Islamic standards for classifying listed companies

Business Intelligence reported on 18 March that the Sharia Board of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) has issued the first standards for trading shares. The establishment of such standards is in line with DFM becoming an Islamic exchange as decided on the Annual General Meeting in 2007. Since then the Sharia Board with its Chairman, Dr Hussain Hamid has focused on the establishment of criteria to classify listed companies in terms of Sharia-compliance and accounting practices.

The standards are divided into five sections and cover the following areas: definitions of terms and criteria; implications for brokers and investors; guidelines for compliance for conventional firms; conventional income guidelines; and general rules and regulations.

Mr Essa Kazim is Chairman of the DFM.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=18389

Sukuk market challenged by subprime crisis

Arthur Macdonald reported in Gulf Daily News that the Sukuk market has suffered from the global financial crisis, but it is likely to recover. It impacted pricing and access to investors. Further the discussion on the Dollar peg of Gulf currencies created addtional uncertainties. Nevertheless the market has grown in ten years from millions to billions, participants of a Sukuk conference in Bahrain said.

Source: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=211884&Sn=BUSI&IssueID=...

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