GCC

Alizz Islamic Bank approves share swap for proposed merger with OAB

Alizz Islamic Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a share swap ratio for its proposed merger with Oman Arab Bank (OAB). The share swap ratio is around 81%: 19% for the shareholders of OAB and Alizz Islamic Bank respectively. The proposed merger and the indicative swap ration will remain subject to the approval of the shareholders. On completion of the merger, Alizz Islamic Bank will continue to operate as a dedicated Islamic banking franchise with management autonomy.

Boubyan Bank's profits in 2019

Boubyan Bank has reported net profit of KD 62.7 million in 2019, at a growth rate of 12% compared to 2018, with an earnings per share of 20.4 fils compared to 19.2 fils in 2018. Boubyan Bank CEO Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed said that the total equity of the bank increased to KD 575 million by the end of 2019 and the operating income increased to KD 146 million. The year 2019 witnessed the introduction of many new services and products. All-new smart phone Apps were launched in addition to the issuance, activation and use of the virtual prepaid card through Boubyan App. Additionally, the bank earned its verified badge in WhatsApp business and successfully integrated the bank’s Chatbot service, Msa3ed, with WhatsApp business.

NBB acquires 78.8% stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank

The National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has acquired a 78.8% controlling stake in Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB). The offer which initially opened on 18 December 2019 was launched by NBB in a bid to develop its Islamic banking activities. NBB’s CEO Jean-Christophe Durand said that the two banks would remain independent and BisB would remain listed on Bahrain Bourse. The Islamic bank will continue to operate under its normal course of business as well as maintain its operations as a subsidiary of NBB. The settlement of the offer is expected to take place on 22 January 2020.

The DFSA Signs Guiding Principles on Sustainable Finance Together With Leading Authorities in the #UAE

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has published the UAE’s first Guiding Principles on Sustainable Finance. The Guiding Principles are the result of co-operative efforts among a number of authorities in the UAE, namely the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the Central Bank, the Insurance Authority, the Securities and Commodities Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, the Dubai Financial Market, Nasdaq Dubai, and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. The Guiding Principles are based on the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development and will serve as a catalyst for the implementation of the UAE’s sustainability priorities.

S&P projects $170bn #sukuk issuance in 2020; #Qatar key player in 2019

According to S&P Global Ratings, global sukuk issuance increased by 25.6% in 2019 compared with 2018. Foreign currency issuance also increased by almost 20.8% during the year, explained primarily by activity in Turkey, and also issuance by Qatari banks and Malaysian corporates. S&P anticipates a total sukuk issuance of $160bn-$170bn this year, including $40bn-$45bn of foreign currency issuance. This represents about 5% growth on the $162bn seen in 2019. S&P believes that the green sukuk market will continue to expand, aided by opportunities related to energy mix diversification in the GCC/Malaysia and investor diversification.

Source: 

https://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/13/01/2020/S-P-projects-$170bn-sukuk-issuance-in-2020-Qatar-key-player-in-2019

#Bahrain's GFH hires banks to market five-year dollar #sukuk

Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group has hired Societe Generale and Standard Chartered to act as global coordinators and joint lead managers for the issuance of five-year dollar sukuk, The banks will market the bonds through a series of meetings starting on Jan. 15 in Asia, the United Arab Emirates and London. Emirates NBD Capital, KAMCO Investment, Mashreqbank, SHUAA Capital and Warba Bank will also serve as joint lead managers.

Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference to Host Marathon and Hackathon for African Children

Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference (DIHAD) is scheduled to take place from 6-12 March 2020 and is focusing on Africa this year. DIHAD’s two key events include a marathon and hackathon. The marathon is expected to attract participation from over 202 nationalities. The hackathon, which is likely to have 200 participants, will focus on finding technology solutions for humanitarian projects. It will focus on telehealth, tele education for developing nations, humanitarian devices, and other innovative ideas. Interested participants can register for the two events via DIHAD’s official website: www.dihad.org. Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Islamic Bank, Noor Dubai Foundation and Dubai Future Council are also collaborating in the upcoming events.

#Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat hires banks for dollar #sukuk

#Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has hired banks to arrange fixed income investor meetings ahead of a potential issue of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. The fund has picked Citi, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, National Bank of Bahrain and Standard Chartered for meetings in London, Asia and the Middle East. The deal could be the first international debt sale by a Gulf borrower this year. Mumtalakat raised $600 million in sukuk last year, having obtained orders of around $4 billion for the debt sale.

Are bank mergers in the GCC as profitable as they seem?

In the past two years, we have seen a number of bank mergers take place in the GCC. While the cost synergies of a bank merger can be tempting, the strategies to execute such a consolidation vary significantly and there is no "one size fits all" approach. A number of GCC banks observe a healthy capital position, requisite scale, and supportive shareholders also provide the necessary impetus for international expansions. However, not all international expansion strategies have yielded desired returns. In the past few years, one of three GCC banks incurred losses in their international operations. Only two out of every five banks are witnessing improvement in returns compared to the previous year.

Noor Bank reshuffles board ahead of merger with DIB

UAE’s Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is progressing with the acquisition of Noor Bank whose board of directors has been reconstituted recently. Following the reshuffle, Noor Bank’s board of directors now includes Adnan Chilwan, the Group CEO of DIB and Yahya Saeed Ahmed Nasser Lootah, Hamad Buamim as well as Ahmad Mohammad Saeed Bin Humaidan and Abdulla Ali Obaid Al Hamli. DIB shareholders gave approval for the acquisition through an increase of the bank’s capital from 6.6 billion shares to 7.2 billion shares, with a share swap ratio of one new share in DIB for every 5.49 Noor Bank shares. The GCC financial services industry is witnessing a wave of consolidation as banks seek ways to improve competitiveness and boost capital amid slowing economic growth.

#Qatar Financial Centre Puts Blanket Ban on Cryptocurrency Businesses

The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) announced that virtual asset services may not be conducted in or from the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). The QFC is a business and financial center with its own legal, regulatory, tax and business infrastructure in Qatar that was created in order to attract businesses to the area and promote economic development. The regulator's decision came right after the country adopted new Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing norms. While some countries like Switzerland have opened up to the possibilities of digital assets, others see them as a threat to monetary sovereignty and have adopted a hard line.

QFC and UN Sign MoU to address global humanitarian issues

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General. The MoU, will see increased collaboration between the QFC and the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General and aims to assist with the promotion of humanitarian challenges, raise awareness amongst the greater business community, and increase mobilization of Qatar's private sector on key global humanitarian issues.

KFH signs partnership agreement with international platform to Showcase Kuwaiti Youth's initiatives

A strategic partnership agreement had been signed, between Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Entrepreneur Magazine. (KFH) asumes that they will sponsor the Entrepreneur platform for Kuwait with “Entrepreneur Middle East” which specializes in business entrepreneurship and young people’s initiatives.

Saudi hardware retailer and wholesaler signs 100 mln riyals Islamic financing

The Saudi Company for Hardware has signed 100 million riyals ($26.67 million) worth of Islamic financing. The finance was obtained from the Gulf International Bank in a five-year Shariah-compliant facilities. SACO Hardware posted 14.64 million riyals in net profit for July-September, a decrease of some 40% compared to the same quarter in 2018.

Shareholders of Dubai Islamic Bank approve acquisition of Noor Bank

Following the conclusion of its General Assembly Meeting, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced that the assembly has approved the acquisition of Noor Bank. With this acquisition, DIB is set to position itself as one of the largest Islamic Banks in the world with total assets exceeding AED 275 billion. Furthermore, this move will strengthen Dubai’s position as a global centre for Islamic finance. In addition to being the first and largest Islamic bank in the UAE, DIB has a significant international presence as a torchbearer in promoting Shari’ah-compliant financial services. The Bank’s ultimate goal is to make Islamic finance the norm, rather than an alternative to conventional banking worldwide.

Dr. Mabid Al-Jarhi, IsDB Prize Laureate, Delivers Lecture on Gains of Switching from Conventional to Islamic Finance

Winner of the 2019 Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Prize in Islamic Economics, Dr. Mabid Al-Jarhi, has delivered a lecture on the gains of switching from conventional to Islamic Finance. He argues that mainstream economics has many limitations, and therefore economists need to be able to identify the weaknesses and propose alternative frameworks. The principles of Islamic Economics provide such a framework. Prohibiting interest on money is not sufficient from an Islamic Finance point of view. Financing through trade contributes to addressing the inefficiency arising from search for trade partners. Together, prohibition of interest and financing through trade would improve allocation of resources in the economy. Dr. Al-Jarhi warns that there is a lot to be done to have a proper Islamic financial system in place. Proper regulations and governance are neccessary to address other kinds of inefficiencies arising from partnership of equity financing.

#Qatar reaches out to Shariah market in #Malaysia, #Turkey

Qatar has taken the lead in reaching out to Malaysia and Turkey through which the country aims to be the dominant player in the global Shariah financial landscape. Under the proposed plan, Turkey would cover Islamic finance needs in Europe, Qatar would serve the greater Middle East and North Africa and Malaysia will continue to serve the Asian markets. The London Stock Exchange is currently a global venue for the issuance of sukuk, while Hong Kong and Luxembourg have also made inroads but Qatar believes the market should be led by Muslim countries. Qatar Financial Center (QFC) Authority CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida has a vision to cover the entire globe’s Islamic financial transactions between three financial centres, Doha, Istanbul and Malaysia, therefore he sees a need to share platforms and technology.

BCG survey finds GCC residents the most globally optimistic

The first consumer sentiment survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group has found that GCC residents hold higher levels of financial optimism than their contemporaries around the world. Only in the UAE and Oman does the optimism level dip below 90%. Meanwhile, the optimism in Bahrain is as high as 96%. The respondents also reported stricter savings habits than international counterparts such as those in the US and Japan. Results from the survey suggest a potential boon to the food & beverage, non-luxury fashion, educational services, and out-of-home entertainment segments. Taken together, these factors represent a significant opportunity for expansion-minded companies. The survey also points to two other fertile conditions; exceptionally high internet penetration rates and a fledgling ecommerce culture.

2020 is the year of sustainability on Arab stock exchanges: AFE’s Secretary General

The Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) has been working on launching a development strategy to localise financial technology and sustainable development, declaring 2020 the year of sustainability in Arab stock exchanges. “Reforming the home from within” is the approach taken by the AFE’s Secretary General since taking over the secretariat last year. The most important change was the adoption of a new system for the AFE to restructure its board of directors. The AFE also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Financial Technology Corporation in the Middle East and North Africa, and there will be a kind of joint training for financial technology. Last year the AFE managed to expand the federation’s membership base, it currently includes 21 active members, with 17 stock exchanges and four clearing companies.

ADIB‘s falling revenue rounds up combined outcomes season for Abu Dhabi banks

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) saw profits fall in the fourth quarter while peer Union National Bank reported a surge in revenues. The emirate‘s five domestic banks are battling tight liquidity and rising bad loans due to the economic impact of lower oil prices. Tight competition and pressure on margins has led to consolidation in Abu Dhabi‘s banking sector, with National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank in the process of merging to create one of the largest banks in the Middle East and Africa.

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