Bahrain

Ithmaar Bank reports continued retail growth, finalising plans for new group structure

Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank reported an increase in total income and operating income from its core retail banking operations during 2015 but this improved performance was impacted by recognition of certain investment related impairment provisions. Net income before provisions for impairment and overseas taxation increased 169.2 percent including a 18 percent increase in Operating Income. Overall, the Bank recorded a net loss of $46.4 million in 2015. This compares to a net loss of $8.8 million in 2014. This was mainly due to significant impairment provisions of $95 million in 2015, compared to provisions of $26.1 million in 2014.

GFH reports net profit for 2015

GFH Financial Group (GFH) has announced its full year financial results for 2015 with a consolidated profit of US$ 29 million before provisions of US$17 million, and a net profit of US$ 12.0 million, signaling sustained profitability for the Group. Total consolidated income for 2015 was US$85 million, as compared to US$90 million in 2014. Net profit for 2015 was US$ 12 million compared to net profit of US$ 27.3 million for 2014. Commercial banking income attributed to US$57.8 million and investment banking income attributed to US$20.1 million, while real estate has contributed US$5.6 million. The Group reported a loss of US$ 5.95 million for the last quarter of 2015 compared to a profit of US$ 4.2 million for the last quarter of 2014.

Bahrain to Discuss Bank Regulations with U.S. Treasury

Bahraini authorities will discuss with the U.S. Treasury the international banks’ reluctance to deal with Banks in Bahrain and the Gulf because of tight U.S. regulation, Bahrain’s central bank governor Rasheed Mohammed al-Maraj said. The fact that many international banks have curtailed their correspondent services with regional and local banks has affected a wide sector of the population, especially the expatriates, he added. According to Maraj, officials in Bahrain, had met U.S. Treasury officials last November and scheduled another meeting on the issue in April. The U.S. regulations imposed on Bahrain, one of the Gulf’s financial centers, are part of a tougher regime introduced since the financial crisis, include scrutiny of potential tax avoidance and anti-money laundering rules.

Al Baraka Banking Group Net Profits Raise by 4% to US$ 286 million in 2015, Total Operating Income Reached US$ 1 billion for the First Time and Total Assets Reached US$ 25 billion

Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG) announced that its total operating income reached one billion dollars in 2015 for the first time since the start of the Group activities 12 years ago due to continued growth in income-generated business at all the Group units, while the net income for the year reached US$ 286 million in 2015, an increase of 4% on the net income achieved in 2014. Similarly, balance sheet items witnessed moderate increases as total assets increased by 5%, total finance and investments by 4%, customer accounts by 2% while total equity increased by 1% as at the end of December 2015 in comparison with the end of December 2014.

KHCB reports 109.8% increase in net profits over 2014

Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), a prominent Islamic retail bank, announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2015 recording net profit of BD 8 million compared to BD 3.8 million reported in 2014. The bank has recorded a net profit of BD 1.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to a net profit of BD 1 million reported in the fourth quarter of last year. Total assets also grew to BD 654 million, increased by 9.6% compared to 2014. Return on average assets reached 1.3%. With these results, the bank sustained its profitability and strengthened its financial position with a liquid assets ratio in the excess of 22.5% and capital adequacy ratio of 18.8%.

Ibdar makes £8 million investment in prime new Manchester city centre development

Bahrain-based Ibdar Bank has announced that it has made a £8 million investment in a prime new residential project. Angel Gardens, consisting of residential 458-apartments and a total development value of £124 million, forms part of the wider NOMA re-development project aimed at transforming Manchester city centre. The development is being funded through a combination of equity invested by Ibdar and other co-investors and senior debt to be obtained from one of the Banks. Forecasts indicate an expected income return through operations starting at 9.1% on stabilized income, rising to 10.8% per annum after three years of stabilised operations and a targeted IRR of +15% over a five year investment period.

Bahrain's Al Baraka Islamic Bank eyes France, Indonesia for expansion

Bahrain's Al Baraka Islamic Bank plans to open a sharia-compliant bank in France next year as the lender seeks to expand into Europe, Chief Executive Adnan Ahmed Yousif said on Sunday. France has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe but cultural and legal obstacles have impeded the development of its Islamic finance industry. Some Gulf-based Islamic banks that have expanded in Europe have gone elsewhere. Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan owns Al Rayan Bank in the United Kingdom, while Kuwait Finance House's Turkish arm opened its first branch in Germany last year. Al Baraka also plans to acquire a bank in Indonesia either this year or in 2017 and was in talks with the Indonesian central bank governor, Yousif said.

Tunisia, Bahrain agree to revival Tunis Financial Harbor

President Beji Caid Essebsi and the Bahrain Prime Minister agreed to restart the mega project Tunis Financial Harbor, said official spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic, Moez Sinaoui. This mega project is financed by the Gulf Finance House, an Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain, with a budget of 7.5 billion dinars. It will set up the first financial center for offshore banking institutions in North Africa. The Financial Harbor will house a set of shopping centers and residential units and recreation spaces: marina, golf courses.

Inside Bahrain's Sovereign Wealth Fund Mumtalakat

Tasked with managing the kingdom's non-oil and gas investments, Mumtalakat seeks to turn around state-owned enterprises by promoting private sector-style transparency and sound corporate governance. The $11.2 billion fund holds stakes in 38 enterprises, including many of the country's largest employers, with a total value of about $8 billion. It has undertaken major restructurings at several of these companies, including two of the most critical: Aluminum Bahrain and Gulf Air. Mumtalakat is also beginning to flex its muscles as a portfolio investor, taking significant minority stakes in three foreign companies over the past two years in a bid to diversify its holdings and provide knock-on benefits to the Bahraini economy.

Takaful International partners with Takaud on new Shari’ah investment solutions

Takaud and Bahrain-based Takaful International are partnering to provide Takaful’s individual and corporate life insurance clients with Sharia-compliant investment solutions. The new partnership will enable Takaful to provide customers of its unit-linked savings policies with the opportunity to invest the savings portion of their policy in Shari’ah-compliant growth, balanced or prudent investment strategies. In support of the agreement, Takaud will provide a complete range of services, along with tools enabling customers to identify their investment profiles. Takaud will also provide marketing assistance and training for Takaful agents and others who will be presenting these new investment strategies to customers. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Takaud’s CEO Mr Luc Métivier and Takaful’s CEO Mr Younis J. Al Sayed.

Bahrain moves to close Iran's Future Bank

Bahrain's central bank said on Tuesday it is taking steps to close down Iranian-owned Future Bank, which is based in the Gulf state. Bahrain's central bank has not elaborated on its reasons for the action. Future Bank, based in Manama, is a commercial bank which was founded as a joint venture between two Iranian banks - Bank Saderat and Bank Melli - and Bahrain's Ahli United Bank. The bank's assets stood at 569.4 million dinars ($1.51 billion) at the end of September 2015. On Monday, Ebtisam al-Arrayed, head of regulatory policy at the central bank, said that the regulator had yet to make a decision about Future Bank after placing it under its administration last year, along with Iran Insurance Co - the Bahrain branch of an Iranian insurer.

KFH major contributor in Bahrain projects – Strategy targets development, coordination among Group banks: Al-Nafisi

Vice Chairman at Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Abdulaziz Yaqoub Al-Nafisi stressed the importance of international investment and creating further integration in KFH-Group banks in the framework of the coordination that targets boosting development according to a unified vision that prioritizes development and recognizes the value of public-private partnerships and international investment, yet contributes in diversifying non-oil sectors to boost the economy. On the sideline of his participation in the inauguration ceremony of Marassi Al Bahrain project, Al-Nafisi praised the project that was a joint effort between the real estate investment and development company, Eagle Hills, in partnership with Diyar Al Muharraq. He went on to say that the project will provide steady flow of income for investors and will comprise a major destination for tourists in Bahrain.

Arcapita acquires $85m real estate portfolio

Arcapita has partnered with Morningstar Senior Living for senior living communities based in Colorado worth $85 million. The current portfolio for Arcapita consists of three projects for assisted living and care communities and provides a total of 196 units and 243 licensed beds in the Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The focus on the state is to attract customers who are in the company’s target age demographic. The target age group for senior living facilities in Colorado is projected to grow by almost twice the national average over the next five years, stated Martin Tan, Arcapita’s chief investment officer.

Ibdar announces exit from four Bahrain-based real estate investments for USD21.67 million

Bahrain-based Ibdar Bank has announced the successful exit from four Bahrain-based real estate investments for a total value of USD 21.67 million. The first two exits consist of the sale of two 11-story buildings acquired by the Bank for total consideration of USD12.07 million. The first is a 64-apartment fully furnished building located in Manama and the other consists of 38-fully furnished apartments in Busaiteen. The other two exits consist of the sale of the Bank's affiliate company's 11-story and 10-story properties located in the popular Juffair area. The properties consist of 83 fully furnished apartments in total and supporting convenience, leisure and parking facilities, which were sold for a total consideration of USD9.6 million.

Bahrain Islamic Bank appoints a new Chief Risk Officer

Bahrain Islamic Bank announces that it has appointment Fahim Ahmed, as the Bank's new Chief Risk Officer effective 01 December, 2015. Mr. Ahmed brings over 17 years of international banking experience where he held various roles in corporate banking and risk management, the last as Chief Risk Officer at Standard Chartered Bank Bahrain, where he has been for the last three years. Mr. Ahmed has served in several markets such as Pakistan, Qatar, Oman, UAE and UK. He has a diploma in Islamic Finance (CDIF) and an MBA from the University of Warwick, UK. The position's scope includes not only the historical risk management responsibility, but also credit risk management, operational risk management and portfolio management.

Tadhamon success

Bahrain-based Tadhamon Capital announced the successful exit from its investment in Coxlease School in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, UK. The school is a specialist residential education facility for children with severe behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. It is let to Priory Group for a 30-year period with annual rent reviews linked to the retail price index. Acquired in November 2010, the school was Tadhamon’s seed investment in its Social Infrastructure Investment Platform in the UK. The platform currently holds assets valued at more than $523 million across segments. Over the five-year investment period, a minimum annual cash dividend of nine per cent was achieved.

Bahraini Islamic banks urged to seek mergers

Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Governor Rasheed Al Maraj has made a renewed call to Bahraini Islamic banks to merge or acquire other institutions. In his keynote address at the opening of the 22nd Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), he said given a tougher regulatory environment, challenges to their business model and increased competition from Islamic as well as conventional competitors, the preferred path, particularly for Islamic investment banks, was to merge in order to create institutions of size. Earlier this year, the CBB launched a new Sharia-compliant Wakala liquidity management tool aimed at absorbing excess liquidity of local Islamic retail banks. Mr Al Maraj also said the CBB is introducing a centralised Sharia Board with a broad mandate.

Bahrain's Arcapita and Saudi's Al Rajhi Capital exit real estate fund

Bahrain-based Arcapita has sold real estate assets it jointly held with Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Capital for 1.35 billion Saudi riyals ($359.81 million), the two companies said in a joint statement. The ARC Real Estate Fund, which had a lifespan of five years, acquired seven assets in logistics, warehousing and retail in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, they said in the statement. The fund appointed an external consultant to advise on the sale in April. They did not say who they had sold the assets to. Al Rajhi Capital is the investment banking arm of Saudi Arabian lender, Al Rajhi Bank.

Bahrain's Al Baraka Islamic eyes Kuwait sukuk

Al Baraka Islamic Bank-Bahrain is interested in purchasing Islamic bonds expected to be issued by the Kuwaiti government before the end of the year, CEO Mohamed Isa Al Mutaweh said. Kuwait's finance ministry said in September that it intends to issue bonds and sukuk before the end of 2015 to finance its public deficit, which is estimated to reach KWD 8 billion (USD 26.3 billion). The CEO said the bank, owned by Al Baraka Group, hopes to achieve growth in assets in line with the expected growth of the global Islamic banking at an annual average of 15-20%. Real estate financing accounts for around 40% of Al Baraka Islamic's portfolio in Bahrain and Al Mutaweh said the housing sector was expected to see strong activity due to rising demand.

Ithmaar Bank and Tamkeen launch enterprise financing scheme

Bahrain-based Ithmaar Bank and Tamkeen have announced the launch of a joint financing solution designed specifically to support private sector enterprises in the Kingdom. The financing scheme offers private sector enterprises amounts of up to BHD 500,000 at a subsidised reduced profit rate, a repayment tenor option of up to 10 years, and grace periods of between one month and two years. Participating SMEs can also benefit from a variety of unique features, as well as exceptional flexibility in repayment methods, including monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual payments. The announcement follows an agreement earlier this year to add BHD 10 million to the joint Ithmaar-Tamkeen enterprise finance scheme portfolio which aims to help private sector enterprises meet their financing needs and achieve their business objectives.

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