Turkey's state grain board TMO and construction firm Gap Insaat have received regulatory approval for debut sukuk sales. Turkey has seen steady issuance of sukuk from the government and the country's Islamic banks, but an increase in corporate issuance could help tap into a much wider stable of issuers. According to the country's Capital Markets Board, the TMO will raise 150 million lira ($41.6 million) via a sukuk that will be arranged by Islamic lender Kuveyt Turk. Turkey is seeking to build a bigger role in the industry and forge closer ties with fast-growing economies in the Gulf and southeast Asia. The Turkish Treasury hired banks to arrange a sale of sukuk in the international markets, with meetings set to begin this week in the United Arab Emirates.
Turkish treasury mandated the Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered to explore opportunities for a possible sukuk issue. A series of investor meetings will be organised in the UAE on March 28, 2017. Meanwhile, the country’s monetary authority raised its highest interest rate while leaving all of the other rates unchanged. The lira rallied as the move was seen paving for they way for tighter policy and serving as insurance against bouts of currency weakness.
The first act of business by the Turkish Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) will be the issuance of securities, while it will also focus on Islamic finance products in securitization. The fund will contact local and foreign investors for securitization over the next few months. Even though the Treasury announced that the transferred asset size was approximately worth $160 billion with an equity size of $35 billion last Friday, an endeavor is currently underway concerning the valuation and auditing of the transferred assets by the fund. According to a Turkish daily, Dünya, the fund is exploring various types of instrument models, especially in Islamic finance. For this reason, the issuance of sukuk is a major focus of the agenda for the fund.
Turkish participation bank Kuveyt Turk has received regulatory approval to raise 2 billion lira ($555.8 million) via sukuk, as it expands its domestic footprint while winding-down its Dubai unit. Kuveyt Turk, 62% owned by Kuwait Finance House , would sell the lira-denominated sukuk to qualified investors through its asset-leasing company, KT Kira Sertifikalari Varlik Kiralama, according to a regulatory filing. No timeframe or tenor were given for a potential deal. New funding could help the bank's plans to expand its branch network to 400 offices this year from a current 385. The bank increased its net profit by 22% and total assets by 15% in 2016. In December, however, the bank said it would terminate all activities of its wholly-owned subsidiary in Dubai, as it had not established a commercial advantage. It will continue to service the Gulf region via its branch in Bahrain, while concentrating on its operations in Turkey and Germany.
Halic Leasing is expanding its sharia-compliant business portfolio to tap demand from small businesses. This is a sign that Turkey's Islamic finance market is growing beyond traditional banking services. According to Halic's General Manager Gokcen Sahin, the company is building a portfolio of leased assets and is targeting new business of around $25 million by the end of the year. Halic also aims to attract further investments from Islamic mutual funds while expanding into construction equipment later this year. The plans come after the firm's new shareholders injected fresh capital at the end of last year and set up a sharia committee to ensure its products conform to Islamic principles. Gokcen Sahid added that with a good quality portfolio, Halic may also consider raising funds via sukuk in the future.
A Turkish court indictment ruled that some 5,000 academics have deposited cash in Bank Asya after an order from U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. After the July 2016 coup attempt Bank Asya was seized by the state over its links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). The prosecutor of the case decided 15 years in prison for a total of 83 academics, of whom 21 are currently arrested. Some 33 of the suspects were alleged users of ByLock, an encrypted smartphone app that came to prominence after it revealed Gülenists used it to plan the coup. According to the indictment, the Gülen movement sent messages to senior members of the group on social media, ordering them to deposit cash in Bank Asya.
Turkey's privately-owned Aktif Bank has received regulatory approval to sell up to $120 million via sukuk. Turkey has seen steady issuance of sukuk from the government and the country's Islamic banks, but corporate issuance remains rare. Aktif Bank will sell the sukuk through its asset leasing company, Aktif Bank Sukuk Varlk Kiralama. Companies can sell sukuk directly by setting up their own asset leasing companies, but the process can be onerous for smaller firms. The government has previously granted tax exemptions for lease-based sukuk, but in August it extended those incentives to all other types of sukuk contracts.
Bahrain-based Venture Capital Bank seeks investment in the health, education and food sectors in Turkey, according to the bank's chief executive officer. "We trust the growth potential of the Turkish economy. We want to make new investments in health, education and food sectors in Turkey in 2017," Mohammed Janahi explained this week. Further he said Turkey had always been on the agenda of the bank since the day it was established. Janahi also explained the bank's first move was to buy the majority of the shares of a Turkish company in 2012 that produces concentrated fruit, which he said amounted to around $300 million.
"The company's profits have tripled since that day. We intend to expand our capacity with additional acquisitions," he said. According to Janahi, they focused on the food, education and health sectors as they are least affected sectors by everyday events in the country. "From the beginning, we need to explain that our main goal is to establish a strategic partnership and enlarge the business," he added.
In #Turkey the insured participation funds at the Bank Asya are being paid to the rights holders through the state-owned Vakif Participation Bank. On May 29, 2015, the Banking Supervisory and Regulatory Authority (BDDK) ruled for a complete takeover by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) of all Bank Asya shares. According to yesterday's announcement, up to TL 100,000 ($28,247) of the total of insured participation funds at the Asya Participation Bank have been paid to the right holders in Turkish liras. The banks operating permit has been abolished. It was put on sale by the Fund Board, but did not receive any offers despite the extension of the bidding period.
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has signed an agreement with Turkey's Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (KOSGEB) to support SMEs. The group plans to provide $1 billion for Turkish companies. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by ITFC CEO Hani Salem Sonbol and KOSGEB President Recep Bicer. The MoU also examines the possibility of providing Islamic Trade Finance solutions to SMEs in Turkey. The suggested cooperation program includes developing joint programs for capacity building activities for SMEs in Turkey and Reverse Linkage Programs for transferring KOSGEB's know-how to other OIC member countries.
An unknown group of people have purposefully leaked new allegations surrounding the Turkey-based bank Kuveyt-Turk. A press release published on Nov. 19 claimed that US Senator Dick Durbin would hold hearings to investigate two key banking institutions in Kuwait and whether they helped fund terrorism. The press release read that Durbin would target Kuwait Finance House and its subsidiary in Turkey, the Kuveyt-Turk participation bank. A spokesman at Senator Durbin's office flatly denied the report and said it was completely false. The fake report has surfaced amidst an ongoing court case in California against the two banks on the terror funding charges. Kuveyt-Turk's lawyers dismissed the charges by saying the allegations have no merit because banks are not responsible for the allegations. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the allegations over Kuveyt-Turk and Kuwait Finance House were proof of Western double standards.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said people in Turkey paid some of the world's highest interest rates, something which had to change soon. He said the overnight interest rate reached 7,500 percent after Turkey’s economic crisis of 2001. The Turkish leader suggested adopting the gold standard to combat international pressures. Erdogan also said he had no words on the central bank's independence but said that as a politician he had a responsibility to the public who were being hurt by high rates. Turkey's Borsa Istanbul and the IDB signed a strategic cooperation agreement which aims to expand Islamic finance in Turkey and other IDB member countries. According to the agreement, the IDB will explore opportunities for its strategic stake acquisition from the country's exchange operator, Borsa Istanbul.
Istanbul's Sabahattin Zaim University established the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) in order to produce relevant research to guide policy design and implementations. It also organizes workshops and training programs to provide society with opportunities toward a better understanding of Islamic economics. According to IRCIEF director Prof. Dr. Arif Ersoy, the center will also intensify its research activities on finding new solutions for the problems encountered by SMEs, who are the main consumers of Islamic banks. IRCIEF offers graduate studies on Islamic Economics and Finance, furthermore post graduate studies on Islamic Economics and Law in Arabic. For next year the center is planning to open the programs in English as well.
Turkey is committed to tripling the market share of Islamic finance, bringing it up to 15 percent by 2023. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said the Islamic finance market had been growing swiftly in Turkey and that the government aimed to further boost the sector. Simsek also pointed out the slowdown in global trade, saying there was a discontent against globalism after the recent global crisis. He urged countries to make immediate reforms, recalling the three main themes of the 2015 G-20 summit in Turkey, which were comprehensiveness, implementation and investment. The minister noted the income inequality in the world, saying 62 people’s wealth was equal to 3.62 billion people. He said Islamic finance could play a positive role in addressing this problem.
Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) is opening its International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance (IRCIEF) on Oct. 28. The IZU hopes to become a center for academic studies in the field. Launched by Kuwait, Turk and Albaraka Turk participation banks, the International Research Center for Islamic Economics and Finance will offer market-based education to its students. By offering courses in Turkish and Arabic, the IZU will enable Turkish and foreign students to be specialized in the field. University rector and professor Mehmet Bulut said the center will train equipped students in undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programs. He promised that students will be educated in this center with the understanding of making Turkey stronger and noting that the accomplished projects will be carried out in collaboration with the participation banks.
Deputy Prime minister in Charge of the Economy Mehmet Simsek said the size of the Islamic banking sector globally was projected to grow to $3.5 trillion in the next five years and Turkey aimed to manage a sizeable portion of this huge sector. He said the government was committed to help the sector thrive in Turkey. Furthermore, he indicated that the total size of assets of participation banks reached $183.93 billion by the end of 2015. Pointing out that the participation banks' share in the overall banking sector was 5.1%, he stressed the goal set by the representative of the sector was to attain 15% by 2025. The Turkish Treasury elaborated on the action plan called "Strengthening Interest-free Finance and Participation Banking" as a component of the Istanbul International Financial Center (IFC Istanbul) program. It was decided that the board would work on the issues raised at the meeting to develop the interest-free finance sector.
#Turkey's Finance Minister Naci Agbal said the ministry initiated studies on a draft law on the Istanbul International Finance Center (IIFC). Agbal stated that the government introduced new financial instruments step by step, including the founding of the Sovereign Welfare Fund (SWF), real estate certificates and Islamic finance tools, in an attempt to intensify Turkey's financial markets. The draft law on the IIFC aims to offer opportunities to financial players and attract international financial institutions to Turkey. At the IIFC 50,000 people will be employed and it will have 25,000 daily visitors once opened. The joint infrastructure work of the financial center includes an administrative building, a police station, a health center, fire department, continuing education center, various academic courses, a mosque, a nursery, an underground parking lot and a trestle.
The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Aktif Bank and Ijarah Management Company (IMC) have signed a Shareholders Agreement for Joint Strategic Collaboration. Aktif Bank has entered into the Turkish leasing sector by acquiring 32% shares of Haliç Finansal Kiralama (Haliç Leasing) and is planning to primarily fund the growth of SMEs in Turkey. Haliç Leasing will be able to raise the long term funds locally and internationally via Sukuk issuances thanks to extensive knowledge of Aktif Bank on capital markets. CEO of Aktif Bank, Serdar Sümer, said that instead of increasing the number of branches, the bank focuses on diversifying its products and alternative distribution channels. CEO of ICD, Khaled Al Aboodi, said that Haliç Leasing will be the eleventh Islamic leasing company that ICD has invested.
Fitch Ratings has assigned Kuveyt Turk's proposed US dollar-denominated sukuk certificates an expected 'BBB(EXP)' rating. The expected rating is in line with Kuveyt Turk's Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB', which has a Negative Outlook. The issuer is KT Kira Sertifikalari Varlik Kiralama (KKSVK), which is wholly owned by Kuveyt Turk. The documentation includes a negative pledge provision that is binding on Kuveyt Turk, as well as financial reporting obligations, covenants, Kuveyt Turk event (including cross default) and change of control clause. Certain aspects of the transaction will be governed by English law while others will be governed by Turkish law.
According to Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) Chairman, Sakir Ercan Gül, Bank Asya's shareholders need to wait until the end of the bank's liquidation process to receive their remaining funds. Gül said the process of paying deposits would not be immediately initiated and the finalization of the liquidation process would be delayed. The law regarding deposits grants a three-month period for payments, which will expire this month. There are nearly TL 2 billion ($653 million) worth of deposits in the bank, including TL 950 million worth of insured deposits. If the bank has any remaining funds after the liquidation process, these will be distributed to the bank's shareholders in accordance with the percentage of their shares. According to Gül, the bank is now hovering between bankruptcy and liquidation.