GCC

#Oman's Taageer Finance and Sohar disclose 4.67m rial exposure to NMC

Oman's Taageer Finance and Sohar International Bank disclosed they have exposures to NMC Health. Taageer has a 1.23 million rial (Dh11.72m) exposure to NMC, while Sohar International Banke's exposure stays at 3.45m rials. Last week NMC was placed in administration by a UK court on the application of one of its biggest lenders, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank. The joint administrators from turnaround advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal will take immediate control of NMC Health and will work on behalf of all stakeholders. In February, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation into NMC's activities after the company's shares were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange.

#Bahrain’s Al-Salam Bank appoints new chairman

Al-Salam Bank-Bahrain has announced the appointment of Sheikh Khalid bin Mustahail Al-Mashani as the chairman of the board of directors. He is now replacing Khaleefa Butti bin Omair bin Yousif Al-Muhairi, who submitted his resignation as chairman and board member of the bank. Sheikh Khalid has more than 24 years of banking experience.

Maybank Islamic’s new Dubai branch sets out to attract Gulf investors to Southeast Asia

Maybank Islamic’s move into branch banking in the Middle East aims to attract Gulf investors to Southeast Asia. The Malaysian bank opened its first overseas branch at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in February. Maybank Islamic deputy CEO Nor Shahrizan Sulaiman said the new Dubai branch would serve as a the bank’s gateway not just to the UAE but to the wider GCC. The bank pursues further growth in Singapore and Indonesia, which it sees as home markets outside of Malaysia. The international business expansion is not new, as it has always been one of the focus areas of Maybank Islamic from early on. Maybank Islamic was granted a full Islamic banking licence from the Dubai Financial Services Authority last July, allowing it to open the DIFC branch. It replaces Maybank Islamic’s office in Bahrain, which has closed down.

National Takaful Company “Watania” Earns 13.1 Million Dirhams in Net Profit for the Year 2019.

National Takaful Company Watania has announced positive financial results in 2019, as the company's net profit increased to 13.1 million UAE dirhams, compared to 9.4 million dirhams in 2018. The company launched many new initiatives in 2019 to boost its overall performance, most of these initiatives focused on enhancing the levels of customer service. A new digital platform was launched that allows one of the fastest quotations and policy issuance system for motor business in the UAE market. The Company was among the first ones in UAE to subscribe to Blockchain technology to manage the motor claims recovery process. Chairman Dr. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri is confident that once the corona crisis is over and businesses start to get back to normal, Watania will be in a good position to seize the advantage.

Fitch Ratings: Coronavirus intensifies pressure on Qatari banks

The spread of the corona virus will pressure Qatari banks' asset quality and funding volatility could recur. As Fitch does not expect any changes in the Qatari authorities' ability to provide timely support all Qatari banks have a Stable outlook. The consequences of the coronavirus and lower hydrocarbon revenues will weaken government capital spending, which will in turn affect the operating environment. Fitch now forecasts Qatar's real GDP growth at minus 2% in 2020, after an estimated 0.6% positive growth in 2019. Qatari banks have adequate capital buffers but an increase in problem loans could erode these buffers quickly.

Leaders of world’s most powerful countries come together for Saudi-led virtual summit

Leaders of the most powerful countries in the world will today come together in a virtual summit organized by the Saudi Arabia G20 presidency to tackle the accelerating coronavirus crisis. Among world leaders expected to participate in the meeting are US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The World Health Organization, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are among the international organizations that will take part, as well as other development organizations. Saudi Arabia’s efforts at global coordination will continue after the virtual summit. Another forum of G20 finance ministers is planned for next month, as well as a virtual gathering of G20 health ministers.

Covid-19: Saudi delivery app raises funds as virus lockdown boosts demand

A grocery delivery app in Saudi Arabia has raised funds to expand across the Middle East as lockdown measures related to the coronavirus boost demand for online shopping. The Nana app raised $18 million from investors including venture capital fund STV and Middle East Venture Partners. Dubai-based start-up ecosystem enabler Wamda also participated in the investment round, along with Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Impact46 and Watar Partners. Nana founder Sami Alhelwah said the penetration of online grocery shopping in the region is very low and the target is to expand across the region and beyond groceries into other products. Nana wants to become the Amazon of the Middle East and wants to be one of the first technology companies listed in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi billionaire's charity adds second donation to help global polio fight

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud has joined Bill Gates and other leading figures to announce the first round of funding to a major global initiative to end polio. Alwaleed Philanthropies’ donation of $2 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) will support the creation of action plans to expand access to polio vaccination and help reach children everywhere. Alwaleed Philanthropies has also worked with key partners such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carter Center and UNICEF to tackle Guinea Worm disease, river blindness, measles and rubella, amongst other preventable and treatable diseases. The GPEI pledging event launched a fundraising push to fill the $3.27 billion funding gap. So far, $2.6 billion has been raised.

Coronavirus in #UAE: Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group donates Dh13 million

Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group has announced donations worth Dh13 million aimed at supporting the healthcare sector and schools in Dubai to support the country amidst the global coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group Charity Foundation announced a Dh3 million donation to support the UAE's distance learning initiative at public and non-profit schools in Dubai. The Group also donated Dh10 million to support the Dubai Health Authority's preventive measures against the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, Al Gurg Group has offered tenants of its residential buildings the option of postponing rent payment for three months.

Dubai Islamic Bank shareholders approve 35 per cent dividend

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced that the Annual General Meeting has approved the bank’s 2019 financial statements and other tabled resolutions. For the year 2019, DIB reported a net profit of over Dh5.1 billion, the highest ever in its history. The shareholders also approved the dividend pay-out of 35 fils per share, increase in the foreign ownership limit in the bank’s share capital from 25% to 40% and the election of DIB Board of Directors. With the recent acquisition of Noor Bank, DIB is set to become one of the largest Islamic banks in the world, with total assets exceeding Dh275 billion ($75 billion).

Bank Nizwa Discusses Growth of Islamic Finace With Local Treasury Dealers and Financial Institutions

Oman's Bank Nizwa recently hosted a special dinner event for local Treasury Dealers and Financial Institution managers. With over 60 guests the gathering was a networking opportunity for industry professionals to share views and discuss the latest trends of Islamic finance. Islamic banking in Oman has shown robust growth with Islamic banking entities providing financing to a record of RO 4 billion by the end of 2019, a growth of 11%. Since its initiation in December 2012, Islamic banking now constitutes 13.9% of the overall Oman banking system assets. Bank Nizwa has been organizing such events to clients with other participant banks and financial institutions on a variety of important topics. The bank has partnered with IFN and Takaful Oman to raise awareness over Islamic finance services by organizing specialized forums and seminars across Oman.

Net profit of Emirates Islamic increases by 15 percent

In 2019, Emirates Islamic net income grew by 15% to stand at AED1.061 billion. Total profit rose by 8% to AED2.7 billion, and financing and investing receivables were at AED37.5 billion, climbed by 4% from end 2018. Customer deposits reached AED45.3 billion, which is a rise of 9% from end of 2018; recent and saving accounts balances show 63% of total customer deposits, as Emirates Islamic reported. Chairman Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim said the bank delivered strong results for the year, with net profit of AED1.061 billion, the highest ever in the bank's history.

Saudi based Alinma Investment stuns the market with their Sukuk Bond ETF launch

Alinma Investment has recently launched its Sukuk Bond ETF in order to provide a low risk investment vehicle for the end investor. The world is currently awash with volatility and there has never been a better time to reap the benefits of a well-diversified multi-asset model portfolio. Until the recent launches of Sukuk Bond ETFs, it had proven very difficult to construct a Model Portfolio for GCC based investors, but this is no longer the case and it is not out of the question that this opening up of the Saudi Arabia Government Bond market could prove a key step going forward for other investors outside of the region. Alinma’s stunning ETF launch has more than a USD300 million in seed, so this fund is already large enough to be used by institutional investors across the globe.

Dubai Islamic Bank shareholders approve Noor Bank acquisition

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) received shareholder approval for the acquisition of unlisted Dubai-based Noor Bank. With the acquisition, DIB will become one of the largest Islamic banks in the world, with total assets worth 275 billion dirhams ($74.9 billion). Shareholders gave approval for the acquisition through an increase of DIB’s capital from 6.6 billion shares to 7.2 billion shares, with a share swap ratio of 1 new share in DIB for every 5.49 Noor Bank shares, translating into an issuance of about 651 million new DIB shares. The deal comes after a wave of mergers in the UAE’s banking sector on the back of tougher competition and regulation, coupled with a slowing economy and a slide in house prices.

#Qatar- Masraf Al Rayan subsidiary to establish digital bank in Astana International Financial Centre

Al Rayan Investment is working on the requirements of authorising a new bank with an expected paid-up capital of $10mn and an authorised capital of $20mn. The new bank is intended to be the first full-fledged digital bank in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC). Adel Mustafawi, Group CEO of Masraf Al Rayan said that Kazakhstan represents a new hub for Islamic finance in Central Asia, which offers considerable potential; while AIFC represents the optimal platform for Al Rayan. AIFC governor Dr Kairat Kelimbetov welcomes the decision of Al Rayan Investment to establish a fintech bank in AIFC. The new digital bank will focus on the development of Islamic banking products and investments facilitated by the application of cutting edge fintech products.

Family Bank in #Bahrain opens Seef headquarters

Bahrain's Family Bank has opened its new headquarters in the Diplomatic Area of Manama. The ceremony was attended by the bank’s board members, chief executives of contributing banks and economic personalities. The establishment of the Family Bank as a first social bank in Bahrain in 2010 aimed to boost the social security network by the activation of a micro loan-giving mechanism. The bank was set up through partnership between the Labour and Social Development Ministry, the Royal Charity Organisation, the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK), Ithmaar Bank, Ahli United Bank and Kuwait Finance House (KFH). It won Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s award for supporting youth projects in 2013.

Dubai Islamic Postpones #Sukuk Amid Coronavirus Volatility: Sources

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has postponed a planned issuance of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk due to market conditions resulting from the new coronavirus outbreak. DIB was planning to raise the financing on Feb. 26, but decided to wait for better market conditions. The potential deal received a good response from investors while it was being marketed, but volatility in the debt markets as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies would have increased the sukuk profit rate. All the Gulf countries except Saudi Arabia have reported cases of the new coronavirus, many in people who had been to Iran, where 54 people have died from the virus and 978 have been infected.

#UAE's Gulf Islamic Investments buys New York office building

Gulf Islamic Investments (GII) has acquired a property in New York, which brings the firm’s US portfolio to more than $230 million. The property is an office building in White Plains, Westchester County, with a leasable area of 220,000 square feet, and is currently over 90% occupied by more than 30 tenants. It is also strategically located, as it’s close to the Federal, Supreme, District and Country courthouses in New York. According to CEO Pankaj Gupta, the global economy continues to signal a low-interest rate regime for the foreseeable future, hence, GII sees that such long income assets can deliver high single-digit returns. He added that GII was exploring such opportunities in Paris real estate market as well, with the view of taking advantage of the impact of Brexit.

Nasdaq Dubai welcomes listing of $2 billion Sukuk by Islamic Development Bank

Nasdaq Dubai welcomed the listing of a US$2 billion Sukuk by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). The sukuk was priced at a profit rate of 1.809 percent payable on semi-annual basis. This Sukuk makes IsDB the leading Sukuk issuer by total value on Nasdaq Dubai at $15.64 billion. The first of IsDB’s 12 current Sukuk listings on the exchange was a $1 billion instrument that listed in 2015. The other IsDB listings are three Sukuk of $1.5 billion each, a $1.3 billion Sukuk, four Sukuk of $1.25 billion each, a EUR650 million Sukuk and a EUR1.1 billion Sukuk.

Saudi's Fawaz Abudulaziz Alhokair secures $800mln Islamic finance

Saudi-listed retail group Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Company has signed a Murabaha facility and a revolving credit facility agreement with a syndicate of Saudi banks. The $800 million debt facility is composed of two tranches, including a $650 million Murabaha to be fully utilized in refinancing existing debt, and a $150 million revolving standby credit facility to finance the business’ operational and expansion needs. The Murabaha matures in 7 years, while the revolving credit facility’s tenure is 3 years. The banks participating in the loan agreement are: Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation, the National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group, Arab National Bank, Mashreqbank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

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