UAE

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.

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre enrols as observer member of Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) has enrolled as an observer member of the Responsible Finance & Investment (RFI) Foundation. DIEDC and the RFI Foundation will collaborate towards the common goal of shifting the focus of the financial sector from accumulating wealth to supporting equitable, inclusive, and sustainable growth. As a member, DIEDC gains access to the RFI Foundation’s research and its diverse network. Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, said by joining the RFI Foundation, the efforts of the two entities integrate to identify universal principles that guide responsible finance. Blake Goud, CEO of the RFI Foundation, welcomed DIEDC as an observer member. He added that DIEDC was a valuable addition to the RFI Foundation’s member community that includes multilaterals organisations, commercial banks and asset managers.

Dana Gas #Sukuk Talks Stall as It Seeks 15% Discount on Buyback

Talks to resolve a dispute between Dana Gas and its sukuk holders broke down after the company proposed a 15% cut on some of the debt. The United Arab Emirates-based energy company suggested buying back about $200 million at 85 cents to the dollar, and rolling over the rest into new securities with a profit rate of 4%. In June, Dana Gas announced it no longer considers its sukuk compliant with Shariah standards. It has since missed profit payments in July and didn’t repay two $350 million mudarabah bonds due Oct. 31. Dana applied to set aside a Nov. 17 judgment that went against it because the company couldn’t participate in the trial. If its application is unsuccessful, Dana Gas will appeal against the judgment. If the appeal is successful, the issue will be reheard by the English High Court over a three-day period from Jan. 30.

Dubai Islamic Bank weighs capital-raising in 2018 -CEO

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) plans to raise capital in 2018 to help support an expected double-digit rise in loan growth. DIB's CEO Adnan Chilwan said the bank was considering options including a rights issue and an issue of Islamic bonds. The final decision will be subject to regulatory approvals. The bank is now targeting loan growth of between 10 and 15% in 2018, the same target it set for 2017.

Exclusive: Weeks of talks fail to resolve Dana Gas #sukuk dispute - sources

Weeks of talks between UAE energy firm Dana Gas and some local holders of a disputed $700 million sukuk have failed to reach an agreement. Last year, Dana refused to redeem $700 million of maturing Islamic bonds, arguing they were no longer valid under United Arab Emirates (UAE) law because of changes in Islamic financial practice. The move shocked the global Islamic finance industry, as some investors worried it could set a precedent for other sukuk issuers. Dana proposed to swap its sukuk, but creditors rejected the proposal, saying the terms were unfavorable. The case moved to UAE and British courts. Legal proceedings in both countries are continuing, but in November a British court ruled in favor of Dana’s creditors.

#Emirates said to seek $1bn #sukuk to diversify funding

Dubai's Emirates airline plans to raise as much as $1bn through sukuk before higher US interest rates push up borrowing costs. A spokeswoman said the company was constantly seeking diverse sources of funding, including bank finance, operating leases, Islamic financing, sukuk and bonds. Governments in the Gulf oil-exporting countries borrowed from international bond markets at a record pace in 2017 as they sought to cover budget deficits worsened by low oil prices. Saudi Arabia raised $21.5bn through sukuk and other bonds, followed by Abu Dhabi’s $10bn issue and Kuwait’s $8bn fundraising. Emirates raised $913mn through a sukuk issue with a 10-year lifespan in 2015. Proceeds funded the acquisition of four Airbus A380-800s, the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Airbus recently questioned the future of the A380, in case Emirates does not place a crucial order for new airplanes.

Sharjah Islamic Bank issues #Sukuk to raise $72.47m

Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB) has successfully completed the issuance of Dh266.8 million worth of Sukuk convertible into equity of the bank to the Sharjah Social Security Fund (SSSF). SIB chairman Abdul Rahman Al Owais announced that income generated from the bank’s dividends will be used for uplifting social activities in the emirate. The Ruler of Sharjah nominated an entity engaged in endowment activities to subscribe to Sukuk equal to 10% of SIB’s capital and converting it into equity for the bank at a nominal value of Dh1 each. Al Owais expects that the capitalisation ratios will be strengthened by around 100 bps with the issuance of this capital. He added that by virtue of this exercise, SIB’s shared capital has increased from Dh2,668,050,000 to Dh2,934,855,000.

MAG Lifestyle Development to accept Sharia-compliant OGC for #property

#UAE-based MAG Lifestyle Development has announced that it will accept OneGramCoin (OGC) as payment for real estate it sells. This move offers real estate investors an opportunity to utilize their digital assets while also welcoming OGC into the mainstream with a practical application in the property sphere. Bitcoin and other digital currencies are struggling to enter the mainstream in the Middle East, where the fundamentally speculative and high-risk character of cryptocurrencies does not go with the local investment culture. As the first Islamic Sharia-sanctioned digital currency, OGC is entering to fill this void. Each OGC is supported by a gram of gold, something that makes sure the cryptocurrency stays capitalized and stable. According to MAG, trade will go live in June 2018. Investors will buy OGC to the price of the property and get a 5% discount on the property cost consequently. OGC will then go to MAG based on the payment plan, which is 35% over six to nine months and 65% on completion at 2019’s end.

A #bond dispute threatens the future of Islamic finance

Dana Gas stocks rose by 13.2% on Christmas Day 2017, to complete a buoyant six months for the stock. This may be due to the company's arbitration victory against the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan, over $2bn it and its consortium partners are owed in overdue payments. It also hints at shareholders’ belief that Dana will not be forced soon to satisfy its own creditors. The firm refused to honour its $700m sukuk bond claiming that it no longer complied with sharia law, therefore was 'unlawful' in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In November a British court ruled that the company had to pay. The judges said that, because the bond was issued under English law, it had to be viewed on its merits under that law alone. The risk of non-compliance in the UAE, they argued, must fall squarely on Dana. The Islamic-finance industry cheered this ruling. However, to get hold of Dana’s domestic assets, creditors need a new ruling from the UAE courts. The Dana saga is a reminder not just that Islamic finance still lacks shared standards, but also that court judgments help creditors only when they are enforceable.

Islamic #insurers to #refocus on profitable segments

Improving insurance profitability is expected to result in Islamic insurance players refocusing their sectors. According to Moody’s analyst Mohammad Ali Londe, the motor and medical insurance sector have benefited most from the recent premium rate increases in Saudi Arabia and UAE. Therefore, Moody's expects Takaful operators to refocus their underwriting and servicing operations on these lines. Previously, weak underwriting results in the core medical and motor lines forced Takaful insurers to widen their product offerings. GCC Takaful insurers’ results for the first nine months of 2017 reveal that underwriting profitability has improved in most countries. In UAE, motor premium rates rose in 2017 as a result of the country’s new unified motor policy which provides standardised coverages. The improvement in Takaful insurers’ underwriting profitability has started to reverse the previous deterioration in their capital adequacy.

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