Qatar

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.

Qatar Investment Authority invests into local banks USD 3.57 bn

The daily Alqabas reported on 8 January that the Qatar Investment Authority invests Qatary Riyyal 13 billion in the local banking sector, including the three Islamic banks. Qatar International Islamic Bank agreed to the new investor, which is going to hold 20 % of the shares after the capital raise.

Takaful market booming in GCC

David Masters reported on 15 April about the new Ernst & Young Report in the Insurance Daily, which says that the GCC countries contribute USD 1 bn to the USD 2 bn global Takaful market, which is supposedly growing at 20 %. Worldwide there are 133 Takaful operators. 59 of these operate within the GCC countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Ernst & Young’s head of Islamic finance is Sameer Abdi.

Source: http://www.insurancedaily.co.uk/2008/04/15/takaful-market-booming-in-gcc/

Full study at E&Y:

http://www.ey.com/global/content.nsf/UK/_Islamic_Financial_Services

Bank of London and the Middle East participates in Qatar infrastructure financing

AME Info published a press release on 8 April that The Bank of London and The Middle East plc (BLME) announced that it has participated in USD 20 mn of Forward Lease financing to Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), for the construction of the Ras Abu Fontas A1 (RAF A1) water desalination plant to be built in the northern part of Ras Abu Fontas, Qatar. The Islamic tranche of the transaction was introduced to BLME by European Finance House, London based subdiary of Qatar Islamic Bank. Out of the total project budget of USD 600 mn, USD 150 mn is Islamic financing which is being underwritten by QIB.

Humphrey Percy is CEO of BLME. Mike Clark is CEO of European Finance House.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/152651.html

Qatar Islamic Bank arranges USD 137.5 mn Musharaka Sukuk for Salam Bounian company

The Peninsula reported on 27 March about the Musharaka Sukuk USD 137.5 mn arranged by Qatar Islamic Bank on behalf of the ‘Salam Bounian Development Company Limited’. Qatar National Bank Al Islami, the Islamic branch of Qatar National Bank and ALSAFA, the Islamic banking division of the Commercialbank of Qatar QSC, were joint lead managers and bookrunners for the issue. Only Qatari financial institutions participated for the first time. The Sukuk will be listed in Luxembourg and traded by the Qatar Islamic Bank and its affiliates, European Finance House and Asian Finance House.

Source: http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=Business_News&...

Qatar Islamic Bank studies expansion into Egypt and Turkey

Matthew Martin reported on 18 March that Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) is evaluating opportunities to acquire a conventional Egyptian bank and convert it into an Islamic bank, and is also applying for a banking licence in Turkey.
Qatar Islamic Bank will likely follow its strategy of independent brands, like before in regard to European Finance House in London, Asian Finance House in Malaysia and Arab Finance House in Lebanon.

Source: meed.com

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