Qatar

Barwa Bank announces acquisition of The First Investor (TFI)

Barwa Bank, a major new Qatari financial services provider, today announces the approved acquisition of Qatari based investment shareholding company, The First Investor. The acquisition by Barwa Bank has received full approval from the Qatar Central Bank and filings with the Ministry of Business and Trade are in progress.

Generali, Qatar Islamic Bank, Beema Enter Into Strategic Partnership

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Generali and Beema have reached an agreement to assess the feasibility of the future launch of a joint venture in the Takaful business. The agreement aims at creating a partnership that will draw upon the insurance technical skills of the Generali Group combined with the market knowledge and distribution capabilities of QIB, together with the skills of Beema in the Takaful business.

Huge growth potential seen for Takaful market

A leading industry expert has predicted a huge growth potential for Qatar’s Takaful (Islamic insurance) market, estimating its annual growth at 25%.

Al Jazeera Finance looks to broaden portfolio

Al Jazeera Islamic Company, which will be known as Al Jazeera Finance now on, plans to broaden its business portfolio and become a sector leader in Qatar.

AL MAL BANK LLC'S STATEMENT ON SUSPENSION

Al Mal Bank LLC has agreed to suspend all of its regulated activities conducted in or from the QFC until such time as the current investigation being conducted by the QFC Regulatory Authority into the affairs of the Bank has been concluded.

Qatari bank lending down 7 %

Qatari bank lending fell 7 % in the first two months of 2009 as credit to the public sector dropped 36 %, central bank data showed, the latest signal Gulf banks are more cautious on new loans.

QInvest buys 44% stake in 130-year old UK Panmure stockbroking firm

QInvest, trumped two other bidders to buy a 44 % stake in Panmure Gordon & Co, investing USD 36.3 mn in the 130-year-old British stockbroking firm. The deal would involve a placing of 67.5 million shares, priced at 34 pence per share a 15 % discount on Wednesday's closing price.

Panmure said the cash injection would enhance its balance sheet and give it the financial strength to grow into new business areas and locations, including the Gulf.

Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority and Paris EUROPLACE signed a Memorandum of Understanding

The Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority and Paris EUROPLACE signed a Memorandum of Understanding defining the range of cooperation.

Mrs Christine LAGARDE, Minister of economy, industry and employment sees the MoU to improve the relations between the countries, and to increase the attractivity of the financial market place of Paris on the long term including the Islamic finance players.

Qinvest set to launch USD 250 mn equity fund

QInvest will soon launch a USD 250 mn private equity fund and another sector-specific fund as well as two other funds by the third quarter of this year reported Santhosh V Perumal in Gulf Times

The Qatar Financial Centre-based firm, whose principal shareholders are Qatar Islamic Bank and Gulf Finance House, also said it would also embark on brokerage and wealth management services.

CEO is Shahzad Shahbaz.

International Bank Qatar launched a new branch Al Yusr Islamic banking

International Bank Qatar launched a new branch Al Yusr Islamic banking to offer consumer, personal finance and corporate anking.

Barwa considers acquisitions in Qatar

Barwa is studying acquisition of a number of financial and investment companies in Qatar, under the umbrella of Barwa Bank, including "The First Finance", "The First Investor" and "The First for Renting" companies.

European Finance House USD 200 mn Sukuk fund

Esteban Duarte and Neil Unmack reported on Bloomberg on 30 March that European Finance House Ltd. in London, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank seeks is planning the EFH Global Sukuk Plus Fund, managed by Aleksandar Devic, a former Lehman Brothers credi analyst. The Fund targets USD 200 mn.

EFH’s Luxembourg-based fund is targeting this year a yield of 6 % points more than the 3-m USD LIBOR. The fund will buy sukuk with an average credit rating of A, the sixth-highest investment grade ranking in Standard & Poor’s scale.

Mark Watts is head of asset management at European Finance House an he expects a strong rising Sukuk issuance once capital markets are free again.

Waad is legally binding for compensation, says scholar

Shariah scholar Abdulazeem Abozaid is cited in the Qatari newspaper The Peninsula to say that promises are binding in Islamic finance structuring to the degree of compensation for loss but not for entering into the contract.

Qatar First Investment Bank launched

Joyce C Abaño reported on 25th March that the Shariah-compliant Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) celebrated its official launching yesterday during an exclusive ceremony at the Museum of Islamic Art. The event was graced by former US president Bill Clinton, who spoke about the challenges of globalisation and growing interdependence, and the need to identify common goals and values worldwide. The bank has an authrised capital of QR 3.6 bn (USD 1 bn).

The bank was awarded a licence by the Qatar Financial Centre in September 2008. Mike de Graffenried is the CEO of QFIB.

Moody's negative on Qatar banks

Martin Morris reported on 23 February in Arabianbusiness that Moody's, says the fundamental credit outlook for the Qatari banking system is negative, reflecting expectations of a weakening in operating conditions.
In its new Banking System Outlook on Qatar the agency examines the likely future direction of fundamental credit conditions in the industry over the next 12 to 18 months. It does not represent a projection of rating upgrades versus downgrades.

Negative factors evaluated are the asset quality, impacted by property lending and the reduced profitability also impacted by stock market developments. The direct impact of the financial crisis has however so far been limited.

Yields in the Gulf rising strongly

Soren Billing reported on 10 February in Arabianbusiness that credit default swaps for Mideast lenders have risen substantially led by Bahrain, spreads have widened by 174.2 basis points (bps) in the last three months, followed by Saudi Arabia (114.8 bps), Abu Dhabi (96.7 bps) and Qatar at (70 bps), Corporates in the region have been hit even harder. The CDS spreads on Dubai based companies range between 600 bps and 1,100 bps, which is significantly higher than on Abu Dhabi based corporations, which range between 250 bps and 400 bps. The yield on Nakheel’s Sukuk that matures on Dec. 14 this year reached 41.9 % from 27.7 % a month ago.

Qatar International Islamic Company seeks stake in Al Jisr Takaful Company

The Qatar Islamic Insurance Company (QIIC) hopes to buy half-a-million shares of Al Jisr Takaful Company which is being set up as a joint venture between Qatari and Bahraini investors. The paid-up capital of the proposed Islamic insurer will be QR 250 mn and some 30 per cent of its equity will be divided equally between Qatari and Bahraini owners through a public offer.

The owners are national insurance firms and major institutions from the two countries. Qatar Foundation as well as the civil and military pension funds in Qatar are tipped to own around 40 % of the proposed company’s equity. The remaining 60 % of the equity will be offered to the Qatari and Bahraini public (citizens) through an initial public offering (IPO).

Qatar Islamic Bank announces profit growth

Mohamed Salem reported in The Peninsula that Qatar Islamic Bank released a net profit to QR 1.64 bn, representing a 30.8 % growth over 2007. The profit in 2007 was QR1.25bn. The bank also announced it plans to launch a rights issue to raise its capital by 10 %.

Moody's may downgrade Alaqaria rating

Tradearabia reported on 22 January that Moody's Investors Service has placed the A2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings for Qatar Real Estate Investment Company (Alaqaria) under review for possible downgrade. The moves comes following the new Qatari government directive to merge Alaqari with Barwa Real Estate Company. Moody's has also placed the $300 million Trust Certificates (sukuk) issued by Qatar Alaqaria Sukuk Company (QASC) under review.

Qatar Islamic to keep financing policies

The Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) has said that its financing policies for real estate, vehicles and other purposes remain unchanged even as other banks tighten their lending policies.

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