GCC

#China-#Bahrain venture fund targets Middle East tech market

China’s MSA Capital and Al Salam Bank-Bahrain launched a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in sectors such as e-commerce and financial technology in the Middle East. The fund also plans to target big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and logistics and networking systems. The $50 million MEC Ventures was raised from seed money, Chinese entrepreneurs and institutional investors and family offices from Gulf Cooperation Council countries. MSA Capital has existing investments in Chinese entrepreneurs who have taken the Chinese model into the MENA region.

Pope signs Joint Declaration of Global Health with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince

Pope Francis has become a signatory to the Joint Declaration on Global Health. The Declaration comes just ahead of a major summit on global health, Reaching the Last Mile, hosted in Abu Dhabi. The event brings together world leaders, health care experts and philanthropists in order to study current medical challenges across the globe. The Declaration highlights areas of focus which still require attention and greater efforts, such as the fight to end Neglected Tropical Diseases. It is estimated that up to 1.5 billion people suffer from such diseases around the world. The declaration was signed on the Pope’s behalf by Archbishop Francisco Montecillo Padilla, Apostolic Nuncio to the United Arab Emirates and on Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed’s behalf by Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi.

Dubai Islamic Bank issues $750 mln #sukuk

UAE’s largest standalone Islamic bank has just closed a $750 million sukuk. Dubai Islamic Bank’s 5-year $750 million sukuk sold with a a profit rate of 2.95% and is the bank’s second $750 million sukuk this year. The first was an additional Tier 1 perpetual non-call 6-year sukuk with a profit rate of 6.25% per annum. The bank's lates sukuk attracted orders in excess of $2 billion, representing an oversubscription rate of 2.7 times. Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Maybank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Warba Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners on this transaction. The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector acted as a Joint Lead Manager and Kuwait International Bank acted as a Co-manager.

Saudi insurer Malath to capture greater efficiencies in managing Sharia Compliance

Malath Insurance announced today the assignment of Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) certification and Sharia audit services to help maintain and supervise Sharia compliance. Malath offers comprehensive solutions covering classes of insurances like property, engineering, construction, health and medical for its retail and corporate customers. It currently has about 336 employees and 5 offices throughout Saudi Arabia. Malath CEO Fawaz A. Al Hijji believes that bringing Shariyah Review Bureau on board will strengthen trust in stakeholders and will provide significant scale with low input costs for certifying and auditing Sharia compliant products and investments.

Dar Al-Arkan lists $600m #Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai

Saudi Arabia's Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development announced the listing of a $600 million Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. The five-year Sukuk was more than 2.5 times oversubscribed and received significant interest from Middle Eastern, European and Asian investors. This issue was Dar Al Arkan’s 10th issue since 2007 and the 6th tranche of its current $2 billion program. The issue is for a 5 year term due in February 2025 with a coupon rate of 6.75%. Dar Al-Arkan’s assets include about 12.4 million square meters of projects under development. The company has handed over 15,000 residential units in Saudi Arabia and holds a land bank with a book value of around SR17 billion.

Source: 

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/582710/BUSINESS/Dar-Al-Arkan-lists-$600m-Sukuk-on-Nasdaq-Dubai

SAMA updates actuarial regulations for insurance sector

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has updated actuarial regulations of insurance and reinsurance companies and is calling on the public and interested parties to provide their comments and views on the draft project. The regulator seeks to protect policyholders as well as develop and regulate the performance of actuaries in addition to the development of promising career and professional opportunities for young Saudis. Saudi Arabia said that actuary plays an important role in the design and pricing of products, in addition to work on financial reports and risk management and internal audit.

Beit Al Khair Society spends AED 53 million on ‘Aman Programme’

The Bait Al Khair Society donated AED 53.3 million to the "Aman Programme" through four major projects, titled "Monthly Cash Assistance for Families," "Monthly Food Assistance," "Families of Orphans" and "Families of People of Determination." According to Director-General Abdin Tahir Al Awadhi, the Society selects the neediest families among the thousands registered in its database numbering over 52,000, including 4,194 registered families receiving monthly assistance. These families receive cash assistance on a monthly basis, and the Society has adopted an integrated system of social research to assess their needs in terms of debt and the assistance required to improve their conditions.

Symposium on Islamic Art to open at VCUarts #Qatar

The 8th Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art takes place at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar) on November 10 and 11. The Symposium takes place every two years and this year's theme is, 'The Seas and the Mobility of Islamic Art. Panel discussions will take place on subjects such as Islamic Art in 11th-14th century Chinese port cities, Muslim-centred design, and architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Symposium will include an exhibition at the University's Gallery titled 'The Sea is the Limit'. The exhibition will bring together works by international artists who are addressing the issues of refugees, borders, migration and national identity.

Dubai Islamic Bank hires banks for dollar #sukuk

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has hired lenders to arrange meetings with investors ahead of a potential issue of five-year dollar denominated sukuk. The selected arrangers include Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, Maybank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Warba Bank. Investor meetings will take place in Hong Kong and London starting on Nov. 11.

National Bank of #Bahrain offers to acquire Bahrain Islamic Bank

The National Bank of Bahrain, which owns a 29% stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB), has made an offer to acquire the entire Islamic lender. Lower oil prices over the past five years are forcing Gulf lenders to consolidate for scale and to better compete in a crowded market. Subdued credit growth, competition for deposits, higher cost of funds and deteriorating asset quality are driving consolidation in the regional banking sector. In the UAE, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank merged with Union National Bank and the combined entity acquired Al Hilal Bank, creating a banking group with AED 423 billion in assets in May 2019. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia, National Commercial Bank is in the process of merging with Riyad Bank to create the Gulf’s third-largest lender with $193 billion in assets.

Islamic banking penetration in the #UAE hits new high

According to the Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic, Islamic banking penetration in the UAE has reached its highest level for five years. The survey showed that three out of five respondents now have at least one Shari’a compliant product. The perception of Islamic banks has improved steadily from 26 percent in 2015, with significant improvements in key areas relating to technology and customer service. However, knowledge or awareness of Islamic banking terminology has not seen clear improvement since 2015. The 2019 edition of the Islamic Banking Index indicates that the sector continues to widen its appeal to an increasing number of both Muslim and non-Muslim customers.

Emirates Islamic: "The time for Islamic banking to come to the forefront of the finance sector is now"

The 2019 edition of the Islamic Banking Index by Emirates Islamic demonstrates significant progress made by the Islamic banking sector. Islamic banking penetration has reached its highest level since the inception of the Index five years ago. The Islamic Banking Index is a benchmark survey revealing the progress, penetration and perception of the Shari’a-compliant banking sector in the UAE. The 2019 edition indicates that the sector continues to widen its appeal to an increasing number of both Muslim and non-Muslim customers. Knowledge of Islamic banking terminology has not seen clear improvement, but has risen for some products, such as Takaful, that have become successful in the financial sector. Perception of Islamic banks has improved steadily, with significant improvements in key areas relating to technology and customer service.

SEDCO Holding CEO talks ethical investments at WGES

The World Green Economy Summit (WGES) 2019 was held in Dubai and saw the attendance of over 3,000 delegates. The plenary session of the summit explored lucrative opportunities presented by green finance and how businesses can tap into this promising market. Hasan Al-Jabri, CEO of SEDCO Holding Group, highlighted the company’s Prudent Ethical Investing (PEI) strategy and stressed the significance of ethical and socially conscious investing. SEDCO Holding’s PEI-based portfolios combine the principles of responsible and Shariah-compliant finance, bringing together the many benefits of both approaches. The portfolios ensure long-term risk-adjusted returns to support the performance of businesses and promote greater sustainability.

#Saudi Arabia's new bankruptcy law faces key test in the courts

Saudi Arabia's new legislation is part of broader efforts to overhaul the economy, create employment and wean off the economy from reliance on hydrocarbons. Simeon Djankov, World Bank Senior Research Director and Founder of the Doing Business Report, said the bankruptcy law was passed and now investors are eager to see whether the courts actually understand how to implement it. Djankov believes the merit of the law should become clearer in about a year after courts handle initial cases. Only three cases were settled using the new bankruptcy law and around a dozen more are expected to be resolved over the next year. Resolving insolvency was an area of improvement for Saudi Arabia, climbing 30 places to 62nd in the World Bank report.

Fintech Abu Dhabi festival culminates with focus on the next generation

FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival attracted 5,000 registrations and brought together world-class business leaders and FinTech innovators. Future trends in the FinTech industry and the next generation of start-ups took centre stage. Start-ups RISQ and Jibrel Network were announced as the two winners of the FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge and took home SGD 200,000 (AED 540,000) each. The panelists discussed how China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is providing US$8 trillion of infrastructure investment to 65 countries. Fintech companies discussed how they are facing issues with many banks not sharing key information. According to Omar Christidis, Founder of ArabNet, Bahrain is the only place that has mandated open banking by the banks, but it needs to happen elsewhere too.

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala launches $250 million MENA tech investment vehicles

Mubadala Investment Company has launched AED 918 million ($250 million) MENA-focused tech investment funds to support start-ups from the GCC as well as the entire Middle East region. The state investor stated that its new MENA tech funds will invest in companies and venture funds that help boost local tech incubator Hub71. The funds will include a AED 550 million ($150 million) programme, which is committed to support the Hub71 ecosystem. Mubadala Capital stated that it will commit to San Francisco-based Data Collective Venture Capital (DCVC), Middle East Ventures Partners (MEVP) and Global Ventures as a part of its first funds cohort. Similarly, the investment programme will also include a further AED 367 million ($100 million) fund dedicated to direct investments in early-stage technology companies. Microsoft and SoftBank Group are partners in Hub71, and the Abu Dhabi-based scheme offers incentives like office space and health care coverage to encourage start-ups to set up shop in the region.

#Oman to introduce bankruptcy and insolvency law in July 2020

Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the Sultanate’s new bankruptcy and insolvency law will come into effect from July 2020 and it will help companies to get out of the financial turmoil. The bankruptcy law allows the debtor to request a protective settlement if their financial business is disturbed which would lead to suspension of payment of debts. Heirs to the business may apply for protective reconciliation if they decide to continue trading. The debtor continues to manage his funds during the implementation phase of the restructuring plan and remains responsible for any obligations arising prior to or after the date of the adoption of the restructuring plan. Similarly, the bankruptcy law grants the right of every trader to file for bankruptcy, in case they stop paying their commercial debts following the disruption of business activities. A bankruptcy case shall not arise except by a court ruling.

Region’s P2P lending platform Beehive funds first SME in #Bahrain

Beehive, the region’s first regulated peer-to-peer lending platform has funded its first SME in Bahrain. The funding was granted to Bahrain-based Mira Packaging Factory, which manufactures disposable cups in addition to other food packaging solutions for the GCC, and the African F&B industry. Mira Packaging Factory has a large customer base in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the regional neighbouring countries. This includes international airlines, global HORECA brands and local coffee concepts. Beehive CEO Craig Moore confirmed Mira Packaging Factory's eligibility for peer-to-peer finance after Beehive’s thorough credit assessment, which determines the company’s ability to repay the loan and provide excellent returns to its global investors.

Aldar Investments' Landmark US$500 million 10-year #Sukuk attracts strong investor demand

Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Investment Properties issued a fixed rate US dollar-denominated sukuk with a tenor of 10 years for a nominal amount of US $500 million. The sukuk carries a coupon rate of 3.875%, following strong investor demand. The transaction, which marked the first 10-year public Sukuk offering by an Abu Dhabi-based issuer, was over 6 times oversubscribed. Aldar Investments owns and manages a AED 20 billion diversified portfolio of high-quality income-generating residential, retail, commercial and hospitality assets. Aldar Investments owns and manages a AED 20 billion diversified portfolio of high-quality income-generating residential, retail, commercial and hospitality assets.

The Use Of Cayman Islands SPVs In Shariah Compliant Aircraft Financing

Islamic finance has grown significantly over the past few years into an estimated US$2.4 trillion industry. While the use of Shariah compliant financing for the acquisition of aircraft is not a new development, aircraft leasing firms and operators are increasingly looking at Islamic finance as a source of funding for the acquisition of aircraft , whether that be via Islamic banks or through the issuance of Shariah compliant bonds (Sukuk) to raise funds via the debt capital markets.

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