Qatar

Silatech signs new accords to support Arab youth

Silatech founder and chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser witnessed the signing of a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with its partners to support the Arab youth. HH Sheikha Moza also chaired the first meeting of the new Board of Trustees of Silatech at which Silatech’s annual performance 2016 and strategy and achievements report 2016 were presented. Silatech signed an agreement with QNB Africa to empower Youth in Sudan with Sama Al Shabab Portfolio. This way QNB Sudan will direct 12% of its portfolio towards financing youth enterprises. Another MoU to employ Tunisian youth was signed in order to create 50,000 jobs by 2020 and reduce migration of Tunisian competencies abroad. In another agreement, Silatech partnered with the World Congress for Muslim Philanthropists to develop the first innovative Micro-waqf platform to connect youth entrepreneurs with donors and investors.

QIIB expects to receive licence for Moroccan JV before year-end: CEO

#Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) expects to secure the licence from the Moroccan authorities for its joint-venture bank in the kingdom before the year-end. CEO Abdulbasit A. al-Shaibei said QIIB firmly believed that Morocco presented a 'good opportunity' for the bank, being a gateway to North Africa, which is in need of Shariah-based, value-driven banking. He said QIIB and its partners in Morocco have identified the branches and installed the IT systems. While there are opportunities, al-Shaibei said any new market would pose some challenges. In terms of overseas ventures, QIIB will now be focused only on Morocco. Al-Shaibei said 2016 was a challenging year not just in the Middle East, but everywhere. However, he said he remained very optimistic about the Qatari economy and the future opportunities of the country.

#Qatar: Barwa signs $165m project finance agreement

Qatar-based developer Barwa Real Estate has signed a new facility agreement with Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) worth $165m (QAR600m). According to the official statement, the move is aimed at securing finance for a part of its upcoming projects. This agreement reinforces Barwa’s strategy of strengthening its financial position by funding the upcoming projects through credit facilities with favorable rates, terms and conditions.

#Malaysia eyes #sukuk ties with #Qatar

Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed underscores the importance of promoting its sukuk market to Qatar. Mohamed suggests to promote Malaysia’s sukuk industry and to invite the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Qatar-based Islamic banks to Malaysia and explore avenues for partnerships. The minister was in Qatar yesterday for a brief visit and met with major Malaysian companies and witnessed the signing of an MoU between Masskar Hypermarket and Infinity Channel. The minister said that there are several Malaysian companies in Qatar that would want to do more business in the fields of construction, services, consultancy, IT, and engineering. Malaysian ambassador Ahmad Jazri Mohamed Johar added that the minister’s visit also aims to enhance bilateral relations between Qatar and Malaysia, whose trade volume stood at around $1bn in 2015.

#Qatar's Barwa #RealEstate secures 600 mln riyal financing from QIIB

Qatar's Barwa Real Estate has secured a 600 million riyal ($164.8 million) financing facility from Qatar International Islamic Bank. The official statement said the money was to fund part of the company's new projects under construction. It did not specify which projects.

Profits slide for #Qatar Islamic Insurance Company

Qatar Islamic Insurance turned in nine months net profit of QAR 50.117 million, down 29.6 per cent on the QAR 71.212 million recorded in 2015. Earnings per Share (EPS) amounted to QAR 3.34, compared to EPS amounted to QAR 4.75 for the same period of the previous year.

QIB introduces new 'automated complaint management system'

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has launched a new automated complaint management system, a system that helps customers to track the status of an issue and to understand what is happening at every step in the process. The complaint management system is accessible by all employees, ensuring that every person working for the bank is able to contribute to improving customer service. The moment a request/complaint is logged into the system, a text message (SMS) is sent to the customer providing a unique reference number related to the inquiry. This allows QIB customers to get easy updates on the status of their complaint any time. Upon a suitable resolution of each case, QIB customers receive a closing/confirmation SMS. Constantinos Constantinides, the bank's chief strategy officer said the new system would increase customers’ satisfaction and maintain their loyalty to QIB.

#Qatar-backed fund seeks to improve lives in Muslim countries

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) was officially launched on Thursday. It was first announced two years ago by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and is now supported by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decision-making body approved projects worth $363mn for the first of the five years that the fund will be operational. These projects will be primarily in the Middle East and several Islamic and African countries. The funds will be used to protect communities from the risk of malaria and HIV/Aids, increase access to water and primary healthcare, and empower poor farmers to grow more food. Administered by the IsDB, the fund combines $2bn of IsDB financing with $500mn in grants from donors.

#GCC’s Islamic banks have stronger liquidity profiles

Retail-focused Islamic banks in GCC countries have strong liquidity coverage ratios (LCRs) due to their large base of core retail customer deposits and low reliance on market-sensitive wholesale funding. According to Moody’s, retail deposits in 2015 comprised around 67% of Islamic banks’ customer deposits for the three GCC countries, compared to 40 for conventional banks. Islamic banks in GCC countries have become systemically important and continue to increase their market penetration, outpacing conventional banks. Sustained lower oil prices continue to reduce the flow of deposits and could lead to a gradual weakening of the LCR metrics for both Islamic and conventional banks.

LCRs of Islamic lenders in Qatar comparable to conventional peers

Qatari Islamic banks’ short-term high quality liquidity assets to cover monthly net cash outflow is comparable to those of their conventional peers and their funding pressures are to some extent mitigated by frequent bonds and sukuks issuance by the government, according to Moody’s, a global credit rating agency.

“In Qatar, the LCRs (liquidity coverage ratios) of Islamic banks are comparable to those of their conventional peers. This situation reflects the absence of sizable retail deposit franchises among the Qatari banks, coupled with heightened systemic liquidity pressures that had led to banks relying more heavily on market funding,” Moody’s said in a report. The funding pressures are mitigated somewhat by the frequent issuance of bonds and sukuk by the Qatari sovereign, a situation, which provides local Islamic banks with the same good access to HQLAs (high quality liquid assets) as their conventional peers, it said.
The rating agency found that five of the six GCC countries are Basel III compliant and have introduced LCRs, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman; only the UAE has yet to adopt a LCR framework for its banks.

Moody’s upgrades #ratings of Masraf Al Rayan

Moody’s has upgraded Masraf Al Rayan’s long term issuer ratings to A1 from A2. Counterparty Risk Assessment is changed to Aa3 from A1. The outlook on the long-term ratings has changed to stable from positive. The upgrade of Masraf Al Rayan’s ratings reflects continued business diversification as a result of growth and profitability of the UK subsidiary. Moody's expects these diversification trends to continue as the bank’s UK subsidiary grows further. The rating agency also expects that Masraf Al Rayan will maintain strong capital ratios, as healthy internal capital generation supports the needs of future asset growth.

Qinvest hikes revenues to $65.7 million in H1

#Qatar’s QInvest said that its revenues rose to $65.7 million and net profits increased to 25.3 million (QR92.1 million), compared to $24.4 million (QR88.7 million) in H1 2015. The main drivers behind the results include exits in the firm’s investments, strong performance in its international real estate portfolio and increased fee revenue. CEO of QInvest Tamim Hamad Al-Kawari said the company recorded a satisfactory half-year performance across all business lines in the face of economic uncertainties. QInvest is reviewing and stress-testing its portfolio to match the heightened volatility levels and headwinds of the markets.

QIB offers online travel #takaful plan to customers

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has introduced online instant purchase for its new Travel Takaful plan. From now on, QIB’s customers can conveniently purchase Travel Takaful plan through the Bank’s website www.qib.com. The comprehensive plans are offered by Damaan Islamic Insurance Company (Beema) and provide a wealth of coverages. Benefits include compensation in case of lost/delayed baggage, delay in departures, or in the event of lost passports, National IDs and driving licences.
A key benefit is the coverage of medical expenses incurred abroad, including hospital and surgical costs, dental emergencies and other needs that can occur when traveling.

QR1bn #sukuk supports QIIB’s 'interim and strategic' plans

QIIB announced the issuance of a QR1bn sukuk within the first tranche of the bank’s capital boost through a local issue. The new sukuk issuance supports the bank's equity and meets Basel 3 requirements and enhances its plans for expansion. With the new issue the bank’s capital adequacy will increase to about 20%, well above the Qatar Central Bank requirements set at 12.5%. Moody’s has affirmed the Bank’s rating this year at A2, Fitch Ratings at A+ and Capital Intelligence at A- with a positive outlook.

QIIB completes issuance of QR1bn #Sukuk

QIIB announced the issuance of QR1bn Sukuk. The Sukuk aims at boosting the Bank's Tier 1 Capital to maintain a higher Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) complying with the Basel III norms. Last year QIIB shareholders had approved the Bank's proposal to raise up to QR3bn through Sukuk issuance.
A higher capital adequacy will not only help the Bank's risks absorption capacity but also expected to promote financial stability and efficiency of the Shairah compliant banking services provider.

Chelsea Barracks: #Tax consequences of Islamic Finance product heard by the Court of Appeal

In 2008 the #Qatar owned Project Blue entered into an arrangement to acquire the former Chelsea Barracks in West London from the Ministry of Defence for £959 million. Monies were advanced by Masraf al Rayan Bank using an ijara arrangement for the transaction. Now the Court of Appeal has found that the Revenue and Customs authority should have sought Stamp Duty Land Tax from the bank rather than the purchaser, but was apparently out of time to raise such an assessment. Eventually, the machinery in the Finance Act 2003 was not up to the task of ensuring an ijara was treated for tax purposes in the same way as any other transaction. As the adoption of Islamic Finance instruments increases, British tribunals, courts and regulators will need to understand the structures more clearly.

#QIB forges ‘strategic partnership’ with Jaidah Equipment

Qatar Islamic Bank has announced that it will be the preferred financing partner of Jaidah Equipment under the terms of the strategic partnership QIB forged with the Qatar-based equipment dealer.
QIB general manager of Wholesale Banking, Tarek Fawzi, and Jaidah Equipment managing director, Ayman Ahmed, led the official signing before senior executives from both organisations at QIB’s corporate headquarters in Doha.
As part of the agreement, customers of Jaidah Equipment who would like to purchase new equipment are entitled to use the bank’s Fleet and Heavy Equipment Financing scheme, which was introduced last year as part of QIB’s Aamaly programme, a collection of products and services designed specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Through its Aamaly programme, QIB aims to foster the growth of SMEs and help diversify the country’s economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Jaidah Equipment. This new relationship enhances the value of QIB’s Aamaly programme and makes it easier for SMEs to expand their businesses in the growing Qatar market,” Fawzi said.

Ramadan #Sukuk deal flow as tightest spread for a year issued by #Qatari Bank’s $750m print

A Riyal denominated Sukuk has been issued by the Saudi International Petrochemical Company. The company announced the successful completion of the issuance amounting to SAR 1.0 bn on June 16, 2016. The Sukuk was priced at 235 bps over six months SAIBOR for tenor of five years maturing on June 16, 2021. Riyadh Capital and NCB Capital helped to arrange the private issuance.
In the hard currency space, the Commercial Bank of Qatar issued a Eurobond which achieved the tightest spread for a MENA financial institution this year, conventional or Sukuk.
Whilst the issuance was not a Sukuk, demand for bond indicates strong investor appetite, a good sign of market demand which is likely to be tested with several large planned issuances post Ramadan. Most eagerly anticipated is a potential sovereign issuance by Saudi Arabia, as well as by Aramco, the Saudi national oil giant.

Qatar’s ‘Best Bank’ leads #Islamic #finance sector - Interview

The country’s leading Sharia-compliant lender, Qatar Islamic Bank now controls more than 43.5% of the Islamic banking market share in Qatar and 11.5% of the overall market. The quality of its customer service, portfolio of products and services, solid financial performance and measured approach to growth have also contributed to it recently adding the ‘Best Bank in Qatar’ honor from Euromoney to its list of awards. Group CEO Bassel Gamal explains QIB’s winning formula, its dedicated support for SMEs, and the opportunities Islamic finance holds for clients and investors.
What are the main opportunities in Islamic finance in Qatar?
Islamic finance has recorded many significant achievements over the last few years as it continued to strengthen its capabilities and grow by providing the products and services, as well as the capacity, to structure and finance major infrastructure projects in Qatar, in line with the country’s National Vision 2030.

QFB developing new open architecture platform for #privatebanking clients

#Qatar First Bank (QFB) is developing a pioneering private banking platform, which offers clients the opportunity to select from a wide range of financial solutions. According to CEO Ziad Makkawi the bank is transforming from being an investment focused to an investor-focused entity. QFB’s Head of Private Banking and Wealth Management, Nizar Ahmadi, said the open architecture platform will be available exclusively to private banking clients. QFB's Shariah-compliant products include financing, private banking services, innovative investment solutions, as well as family office services covering trusts, foundations, advisory, real estate planning, and statement consolidation.

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