GCC

BRIEF-#Qatar Islamic #Insurance Receives C.Bank Nod To Change Name

Qatar Islamic Insurance Company received central bank approval to change its name to Group Islamic Insurance Company. The company also received approval from the central bank to establish a real estate company owned 100 percent by the group.

GCC bonds, #sukuk issuance rises by 10 per cent

The aggregate primary issuance of bonds and sukuk by GCC entities increased by 9.64 per cent to $95.25 billion in first half of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017.

GFH fully settles $200m #sukuk

Gulf Finance House (GFH) has fully settled its $200 million (Dh734 million) sukuk, which was originally drawn in 2007. The facility, which had its final maturity in July 2018, has now been settled with a recent payment of an outstanding amount of $34 million. GFH posted a 9% increase in its consolidated net profit for the first quarter to March. The total net profit rose to $36.89 million (Dh135.5 million) in the three months to March up from $33.55 million in the first quarter of 2017.

DIB donates Dh3m to Al Jalila Foundation

Al Jalila Foundation has received a donation of Dh3 million from Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) to support it’s Aawen (treatment) programme. Since its inception in 2013, Al Jalila Foundation has supported 467 patients from 36 nationalities, including 190 children, and invested Dh34 million to provide relief to patients who suffer from chronic illnesses. The treatment costs for patients, newborn to 90 years of age, have ranged from to Dh20,000 to Dh250,000 per individual.

ADIB plans a Dh1.16bn rights issue and tapping the #sukuk market

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) plans to maintain growth and pay off some of its old debt. The board of ADIB is recommending to increase the bank’s issued capital through more than a Dh1.16 billion rights issue. The proposed deal includes issuing 464 million new shares at a nominal face value of Dh1 per share. The bank’s board has also proposed the issuance of a $750m (Dh2.75 billion) perpetual tier 1 sukuk, and the repayment of its $1bn hybrid tier 1 sukuk issued in 2012. ADIB’s vice-chairman Khamis Buharoon said the pace of the bank's growth has been fast, increasing its number of customers to 1 million in the UAE, nearly double the number it had five years ago. He noted that the bank was raising capital to maintain its growth trajectory, while maintaining a capital buffer.

#Bahrain's Bank Alkhair sells stake in Turkish investment firm

Bahrain’s Bank Alkhair has sold its majority stake in Turkish investment firm Alkhair Capital, as the lender exits some markets. Bank Alkhair entered the Turkish market a decade ago, acquiring an initial 75% stake in the investment firm. The bank has faced a challenging business environment over the past year and is currently streamlining its business lines. Additionally, the bank sold its stake in Pakistani lender Burj Bank and in 2017 the firm upgraded its business licence in the UAE and expanded its capital markets business in Saudi Arabia in a bid to focus on other markets. Now Bank Alkhair has received approval to transfer its 95.79% stake in Alkhair Capital to Ankara-based A1 Capital. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

#UAE private wealth forecast to grow to $590bn by 2022

According to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), private wealth in the UAE saw positive growth between 2016 and 2017 of 8% and this growth is projected to remain steady over the next five years. Private wealth is expected to reach $590 billion in investable assets by 2022. The main drivers were the bull market environment in all major economies and the significant strengthening of most major currencies against the dollar. While offshore share is expected to decline over the next five years from 30% in 2017 to 24.1% in 2022, it will continue to grow to reach $140 billion in the UAE in the same period. The report also showed that personal wealth in the Middle East rose by 11% to $3.8 trillion in 2017, a significant increase compared with the rate for the previous five years.

Noor Bank rolls out Noor Wealth

Noor Bank has launched Noor Wealth, a Shari’ah-compliant platform offering tailored product mixes. Noor Wealth targets customers with a minimum of AED 367,300 of assets under management or a minimum salary of AED 50,000. The bank offers mutual funds among other 10 lenders in the GCC and it also offers access to fixed-income products through its Sukuk platform and Islamic structured products. Noor Wealth collaborates with Knight Frank to offer global physical real estate services for its customers. Mufazzal Kajiji, Head of Retail Banking at Noor Bank, said that Noor Wealth currently serves clients from 10 countries and is in the process of expanding.

Islamic #Insurance sector to stay profitable in ’18

The net income of listed companies in the GCC Islamic insurance sector has nearly halved in 2017 to $375m, from $674m in 2016. The decline in 2017 net income was mainly driven by weaker results in the Saudi Arabian insurance sector. S&P Global Ratings believes that medium-term growth prospects in the sector remain satisfactory given relatively low penetration levels. It expects Islamic insurance to remain profitable overall in 2018. The ratings agency also observes strengthening capital levels. The Islamic insurance industry in GCC countries outside Saudi Arabia recorded an increase in net income by about 832% to $82m in 2017 from$9m in 2016. Also, there was an increase of more than 60% in first-quarter 2018 compared with the same period last year. This improvement was mainly driven by better results in the UAE.

#Kuwait's KFH invites #Bahrain's AUB to begin due diligence

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) invited Bahrain's Ahli United Bank (AUB) to begin a due diligence process for a potential merger. KFH also asked AUB to sign a non-disclosure agreement. If the merger goes ahead, it would be the latest of several recent tie-ups to create bigger and stronger lenders in an over-banked region. If the merger proceeds, the total assets of the two banks would be $90.57 billion, making it the sixth largest bank in the Gulf. The agreement to begin due diligence demonstrates seriousness in the deal process and backing from the lenders' major shareholders. The major shareholders in the two lenders are Kuwait state-owned entities.

#Kuwait bank in #merger talks to create $92bn Islamic lender

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is seeking to hold talks with Bahrain's Ahli United Bank (AUB) for a potential merger. This would create an Islamic lender with about $92 billion of assets, six months after negotiations broke down. KFH sent a letter inviting Ahli United to sign a memorandum of understanding and a non-disclosure agreement to start valuation studies. The deal may provide a boost to debt-laden Bahrain, as the country struggles to cope with lower oil prices. According to Joice Mathew, the head of equity research at United Securities, the integration of business could be challenging because of the geographical dispersion of their assets and combination of Islamic and conventional banking.

New Saudi bankruptcy law 'tries to find balance' between investor and creditor interest

Saudi Arabia’s new bankruptcy law will come into effect in late August and aims to attract foreign and domestic investment in private businesses. The new law is designed to outline bankruptcy proceedings and will offer protection to creditors and embattled companies seeking to conduct their affairs without fear of asset seizure. According to lawyer Dario Najm, an associate in Ahmad bin Hezeem & Associates, the new law allows indebted corporations to maintain their operations while gradually settling their debts. Creditors and debtors will enter into agreements on debt payment schedules. When implemented, the law will be the sole regulation covering bankruptcy, effectively replacing previous rules passed in 1996.

KIB closing its $250 mln #Murabaha

Kuwait International Bank (KIB) closed a $250 million 3-year syndicated Murabaha financing facility. The financing was concluded with a consortium of international and local banks that includes Standard Chartered Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait Finance House and Boubyan Bank. The ceremony to mark the occasion was attended by KIB's top management led by Mohamed Said El Saka, Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Acting CEO. He said that this new facility will help KIB continue pursuing its strategic objectives to strengthen the Bank’s position as a leading Islamic bank in Kuwait.

Gulf banking transparency on the rise - study

Non-credit ratings agency Sigma Ratings found that Gulf countries outperform many Latin American and European countries in transparency and compliance. Among the most transparent banks in the region are Emirates Islamic Bank, Al Hilal Bank, the National Bank of RAK, Sharjah Islamic Bank, and the Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade. According to Sigma Ratings CEO Stuart Jones, non-credit risk ratings were badly needed on factors like governance, compliance and financial crime risks. Jones added that specifically the GCC countries seem to be over-performing in the region, and there is lot of positive movement with regards to these countries.

ADIB launches 100% capital protected green notes

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) launched a 100% capital protected smart and green energy equities basket note. The investment note, which matures in 12 months, is open for subscription until July 28, with a 31% participation rate in the upside positive performance. According to Saif Al Keem, Head of Wealth Management & Priority Banking at ADIB, this new note from ADIB focuses on equities that are driving investments in clean technology and manufacturing smart energy on a global scale. There is a growing demand for solutions which can capture and store energy generated from wind and solar power, which provides significant opportunities for the manufacturers of efficient battery technology.

Blockchain platform-as-a-service for Islamic finance launched

Blockchain experts ArabianChain Technology and Curiositas will offer blockchain-based smart contracts and legal automation for Islamic finance products. The 'Wethaq' platform is targeting Islamic capital markets, acting as a platform-as-a-service for financial institutions, fundraisers and investors to use in the trading of sukuk products. Wethaq is expected to see issuance of its first Smart Ijara in the first half of 2019. The joint venture will combine Curiositas' legal automation and financial engineering expertise with ArabianChain's Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Protocol and smart contracts. According to Dimitrios Vourakis, Managing Director of Curiositas, Wethaq separates the essential structuring services provided by financial institutions from additional services such as custodianship and payments, and offers the latter on its automated platform.

#Saudi securities regulator awards first two #fintech licences

Saudi Arabia's securities regulator approved its first two financial technology licences on Tuesday. The Capital Market Authority (CMA) approved licences allowing Manafa Capital and Scopeer to offer crowdfunding investment services on a trial basis. Individual investors will use electronic platforms operated by the companies to fund small and medium-sized enterprises in exchange for shares in those enterprises. The CMA said it would receive applications for more fintech licences later this year. The Saudi central bank has also thrown its weight behind fintech, as it signed a deal with U.S.-based Ripple in February this year.

#Qatari banks lead Gulf states in real estate lending despite blockade: report

Qatari banks lead the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members states in real estate lending despite the economic blockade. Qatar disbursed 3.36 billion U.S. dollars of incremental credit in the first quarter of this year. Saudi Arabian banks ranked second, as they disbursed 1.47 billion dollars of incremental credit. Residential-related transactions contributed to 48% of the total transactions and accounted for 50.8% of the transaction volumes in the first quarter. On Sunday, Fitch Ratings has upgraded the outlooks of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) to 'stable'. The rating showed that Qatar was able to overcome the economic and trade blockade imposed on it by the Saudi-led bloc since last year.

ADIB becomes first bank to join UAEIIC

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has joined the UAE International Investors Council (UAEIIC), making it the first bank in the UAE to become a member in the council. ADIB's acting CEO Khamis Buharoon said his bank was committed to the development of Emirati investments, which are critical to economic diversification and the UAE’s global economic competitiveness. The council provides a link between investors, governmental and semi-governmental entities to streamline the investment process. It also serves as a pillar for ensuring the protection of UAE capital abroad through advice, guidance, and logistic support.

Fitch upgrades Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) rating to stable and affirmed 'A' rating

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Qatar Islamic Bank’s (QIB) outlook to 'stable'. The move reflects Fitch's view that Qatar has successfully managed the fallout from last year's rupture of trade, financial and diplomatic relations. Public sector liquidity injections have stabilised the banking sector and stemmed the outflow of non-domestic funding. The government has demonstrated a strong commitment to its banks and key public sector companies. Earlier this year, Fitch also affirmed QIB’s Long Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A'. These ratings of QIB reflect its well-established franchise in Qatar, with a market share of about 11% of total banking system assets at end-2017.

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