UAE

Abu Dhabi Global Market welcomes 3rd Reglab cohort applications with SME focus

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) welcomes applications for the third cohort of its Regulatory Laboratory (Reglab) with special focus on the small-medium enterprise (SME) sector. ADGM therefore encourages all FinTech and RegTech companies, in particular those with a SME focus, to apply and be part of its RegLab. This includes technology startups which offer tools to both institutions and SMEs alike. The application period will close on 10 May 2018.

RegLab allows participants to explore and develop innovative solutions in a risk-appropriate and cost-effective environment. Moreover, participants will have access to a digital sandbox service provided by Temenos that enables them to integrate their solutions with banking data and functionality.

For further details of the ADGM RegLab programme, please visit www.fintech.adgm.com or contact fintech@adgm.com.

DIB boosts emirate’s #Sukuk listings to over $53b

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is celebrating the listing of a $1 billion Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. The listing is the first benchmark dollar-denominated sukuk from a GCC issuer in 2018. DIB's Group CEO Dr Adnan Chilwan said the bank's master plan was developed a decade ago and has yielded solid results so far. He added that the strong demand for the credit continues to grow across a diverse global investor base. This issuance is DIB’s sixth sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai, making the bank the largest UAE debt issuer by value on the exchange with a total of $5.25 billion. The total value of all sukuk listed on Dubai’s exchanges has now reached $53.47 billion, the largest amount of any listing centre in the world.

New Islamic economy products unveiled in Dubai

The International Innovative Platform for Islamic Economy Products (IIPIEP 2018) took place on 21 February in Dubai. The event was organized by Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) in cooperation with International Center of Islamic Economy (ICIE). The first product launched was the 'Exchangeable Sukuk', which has been created to mobilize resources using Sukuk that are tradable and don’t require the utilization of bank assets. The second product announced was the 'Awqaf Fund' which aims to create a new simple sustainable product for anyone who wants to put their money into waqf. The 'Flexible Credit Card' was the third product launched at IIPIEP 2018, which seeks to combine investment with funding. The customer gets balance in credit and at the same time an investment account. Held at Grand Hyatt Dubai, the event was attended by industry experts, innovators and decision-makers. It was supported by Alinma Bank, Islamic Development Bank and Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, sponsored by National Bonds and National Commercial Bank.

DIB lists $1b #sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) celebrates the listing of a $1 billion Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai. The Sukuk is the first benchmark dollar-denominated Sukuk from a GCC issuer in 2018. It is DIB's sixth Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai, making the bank the largest UAE debt issuer with a total of $5.25 billion. The latest Sukuk carries a profit rate of 3.625% with a five-year tenor. DIB's Group CEO Dr Adnan Chilwan said the master plan developed a decade ago has yielded solid results and the strong demand for the credit continues to grow across a diverse global investor base. He added that Nasdaq Dubai provided high visibility in the marketplace as well as close links to investors in the region and internationally.

Dubai State Holding Firm Is Said to Seek $1 Billion #Refinancing

Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) is seeking to raise a $1 billion loan to refinance its existing debt. The state-owned holding company aims to raise a five-year loan to partly repay a $2.55 billion facility that matures in June. ICD owns stakes in some of Dubai’s biggest companies including Emirates, Emaar Properties and Emirates NBD. The company raised the loan in 2013 and it includes a $875 million facility and a 6.15 billion dirham ($1.7 billion) portion. HSBC Holdings, Citigroup, Standard Chartered, Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank were among lenders that provided the original loan.

Managing wealth for a new generation

Tariq Bin Hendi, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Emirates NBD, discussed the challenges that lie ahead for Private Banking. Bin Hendi said that approximately 200,000 ultra-high net-worth individuals are going to be passing down almost 30 trillion US dollars to their children. In addition, there will be millions of people passing down more moderate wealth, from the entrepreneurial and business fields. In the UAE, the older generation still prefer real estate and equities to the private equity and technology sectors that their children and grandchildren favor. Wealth management institutions are changing the way they interact with the new generation of clients. They need to better equip themselves with more nimble technology, from AI to Robo-advisors to ATMs, so as to not lose ground to the new startups. Bin Hendi suggests a new generation of products and services, which include a combination of human and AI interaction. Emirates NBD is spending 1 billion Dirhams over the next 3 years to bring about this technological revolution.

Tapping the Islamic banking potential in Africa

Africa represents a huge untapped market for Islamic Banking. The demand for Sharia-compliant products in Africa has been growing for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Most countries such as Senegal, Uganda, Morocco, Kenya, Gambia and Nigeria have already reformed banking laws to allow the setting up of Islamic institutions. While there is a large demand for Islamic Banking, the availability of Islamic Wealth Management Products is still relatively small, leaving a large opportunity for UAE banks. At Noor Bank, for example, each international client is assigned a dedicated relationship manager and customer service officer. Going forward, the African market holds great potential for the UAE Banking sector. Latest forecasts indicate that Africa’s GDP will grow to 3.7% in 2018, according to the African Development Bank.

An example of the risk to international investors from local country legal regimes

The Dana Gas sukuk case illustrates the dangers of local country courts favouring domestic companies. Wherever possible, international investors should avoid local law. The most commonly used is English law, even for commercial arrangements that have nothing to do with the UK, because English law is well-developed and English courts have a deserved reputation for legal competence and impartiality. Dana Gas raised money from international investors by issuing sukuk. The money so raised was invested in a mudarabah agreement with Dana Gas, written under UAE law. Dana Gas also entered into a purchase undertaking, written under English law. Under UAE law, sukuk investors would have been sunk, having to litigate about whether the commercial arrangements were or were not Shariah compliant. However, they were saved by the purchase undertaking being under English law.

#UAE ranked third for Islamic #Fintech start-ups

According to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence, the UAE is ranked third in an analysis of Islamic Fintech start-ups. The analysis finds that tailored regulation and clarity on rules could aid the small and medium-sized Fintech outlook. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing could be a game-changer in Islamic finance, giving potential to close the gap for small and medium enterprises. The analysis suggests that new opportunities to invest in gold, integrated by Islamic Fintech blockchain technology, may revive its appeal and lift demand. Development of Shariah-complaint, gold-backed products following the introduction of the Shariah Gold Standard, may encourage investors to place their money in gold. The analysis also noted that the Islamic Financial Services Board has predicted that Shariah-complaint assets will expand by 261% compared to the 2015 figure, to represent US$ 6.5 trillion by 2020.

Dana Gas swings to net profit in 2017 boosted by settlement with Kurdistan Regional Govt

United Arab Emirates energy producer Dana Gas swung to a net profit of $83 million in 2017 after a $1 billion payment as part of a settlement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). However, Dana posted a net loss of $42 million in the fourth quarter of last year. Profits in the fourth quarter were affected by an impairment charge of $34 million against the Zora gas field in the United Arab Emirates. Dana, which has struggled to collect receivables from Kurdistan and Egypt over the past four years, collected $466 million from the KRG and $164 million from Egypt last year. Dana’s cash balance at the end of 2017 amounted to $608 million, more than double the $302 million it had at the end of 2016. Dana Gas is at the centre of a legal dispute with the holders of a $700 million sukuk that the company refused to redeem on the grounds that the notes were no longer sharia-compliant. Legal proceedings in English and UAE courts are continuing.

#Debt can be a cause, a symptom of serious mental ill-health in #UAE

Nearly 5% of the UAE'S population is struggling with depression and it is expats that are hit the hardest. One of the most common side effects of stress incurred by debt was headaches. A study by The Priory Group found that young adults were suffering significantly from aches and pains caused by debt. The cost of buying or renting property, divorce, commuting and holiday costs, childcare, school fees and the rising cost of living generally can easily overwhelm, leaving people stressed out about money. According to psychologist Tanya Dharamshi, debt can arise from impulse control problems that can result in excessive behaviours, such as shopping, especially when it's online. Because there are creditors involved, money issues can exacerbate the symptoms of depression or anxiety. This may lead to alcohol or drug misuse and further abuse of the impulse control problem. Breaking that vicious circle is a major challenge in recovery.

The Spirit of Innovation: #Fintech is Booming in #UAE

In this interview HE Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Finance (MoF), talks about the country's innovation strategy and fintech environment. Through this strategy, MoF aspires to showcase its innovation projects like the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund, which grants access to affordable financing solutions. In addition, MoF offers its employees comprehensive skills-building and training programmes. 2017 has seen fintech enter the popular consciousness. The rise of Bitcoin, developments in mobile payment technology and the introduction of Blockchain have pushed the sector’s growth. The UAE can consolidate its leading position in the fintech sector by developing cutting edge business infrastructure and providing accessible funding through funds and incubators.

Emirates airline selling #sukuk to raise $1 billion

Emirates airline has mandated eight banks to manage its latest sukuk sale. Among these banks are HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citigroup, BNP Paribas, Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Noor Bank. The issue will raise about $1 billion in the next few weeks. Emirates will be seeking funding from international bond markets as the US interest rates are expected to increase and with them borrowing costs as well. Emirates usually raises funding each year from diverse sources: commercial loans, operating leases and export credit agency backed facilities. In 2015, the Dubai-based firm sold a bond when it raised $913 million from a 10-year sukuk, guaranteed by the UK’s export-finance agency, to help pay for four Airbus A380-800s.

Dubai theme park operator in talks to restructure $326.7 mln #loan

Dubai's Ilyas & Mustafa Galadari Group (IMG) is in talks with banks to restructure a 1.2 billion-dirham ($326.7 million) syndicated loan. The group is now looking to upsize its existing loan facility due to cost overruns. The loan taken in 2014 was used for corporate debt and to build the Worlds of Adventure theme park. IMG opened it in August 2016, with a total area in excess of 1.5 million square feet and the capacity to accommodate more than 20,000 visitors every day. According to IMG, the upsizing of the facility was linked to a cost overrun on the pre-opening of the theme park and not due to visitor numbers. However, bankers said one reason for the talks was low footfalls. The company is close to reaching an agreement with creditors and extending the loan maturity. In return, additional covenants would be put in place to allow banks to monitor the company’s financial situation better.

London court again finds for creditors in Dana Gas #sukuk dispute

A London High Court judge again ruled in favour of creditors in a dispute over whether Dana Gas must repay $700mln sukuk. Judge George Leggatt rejected an attempt by the company to overturn his decision last November that the purchase undertaking behind the sukuk was valid and enforceable. There was no immediate comment from Dana.

Dubai Islamic Bank issues $1 billion senior unsecured #Sukuk

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has announced the successful pricing of $1 billion Sukuk issued with a five-year tenor. The issuance carries a profit rate of 3.625% and is the first dollar benchmark Sukuk transaction from the GCC in 2018. The orderbook was driven by strong demand across the globe, including Middle East, Europe, Asia and North America, and across a broad spectrum of investors base. According to DIB's Group CEO Dr. Adnan Chilwan, the strong investor interest demonstrates not only the continued attraction of DIB, but also the resilience of the Sukuk market in general. Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, J.P.Morgan, KFH Capital, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered Bank acted as Joint Lead Managers and Joint Bookrunners while Union National Bank and Boubyan Bank acted as Co-Managers on the offering.

First Abu Dhabi Bank mandates banks for dollar #sukuk - sources

First Abu Dhabi Bank has appointed banks to lead a U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk issue. Citi, First Abu Dhabi Bank, KFH Capital, NCB Capital and Standard Chartered will lead the deal, which has a five-year tenor. The sukuk is expected to be of benchmark size, which generally means upwards of $500 million. The bank, formed by a merger of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank, is tapping the sukuk market to diversify its funding sources. The planned debt sale would be part of the bank's $2.5 billion sukuk programme.

#UAE-based real estate investment trust completes $210m deals

UAE-based Residential REIT has completed new property transactions worth AED772 million ($210.1 million). The deals were closed with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Arcapita and an unnamed large Saudi institution. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has contributed 165 residential units located in three buildings in Marina Square on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. Arcapita and the Saudi institution have contributed three buildings with a total of 285 residential units located in Saadiyat Beach Residences on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Following the new acquisitions, the Residential REIT's portfolio includes a total of 1,069 units across Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai.

Islamic banks defy market challenges in 2017

Islamic banks made big gains in financing growth and profitability in 2017 while keeping their operating costs and cost of risks under control. Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), reported a net profit Dh4.5 billion for 2017, up 11% compared to 2016. Total income increased to Dh10.19 billion, up 18% compared to Dh8.63 billion for 2016. Net revenue for 2017 amounted to Dh7.68 billion, an increase of 14% compared with Dh6.76 billion in 2016. DIB Managing Director, Abdullah Al Hamli, says the UAE continues to be one of the leading Islamic finance markets, with assets now reaching around $150 billion, a 7% growth this year. Emirates Islamic reported a net profit of Dh702 million, up 565% compared to 2016. Decline in operating costs and impairments boosted net profits last year. Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) reported a full-year 2017 net profit of Dh477.7 million compared with Dh462.9 million in 2016.

Emirates picking eight banks to arrange US$1b #sukuk: sources

Emirates airlines has mandated eight banks to manage a sukuk sale to raise about US$1 billion. Mandated banks include HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citigroup, BNP Paribas, Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Noor Bank. Emirates will join a list of regional issuers seeking funding before expected increases in US interest rates push up borrowing costs. Emirates typically raises financing each year from a combination of commercial loans, operating leases and export credit agency backed facilities. It last sold a bond in 2015, when it raised US$913 million from a 10-year sukuk to pay for four Airbus A380-800s. Emirates signed a deal last week for 36 additional Airbus SE A380 aircraft, handling the aircraft manufacturer the first orders for the model in more than two years.

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