UAE

Fidor Expands Middle East Africa Regional Hub in Dubai Silicon Oasis

Fidor Solutions has opened its newest office in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSOA), the integrated free zone technology park. DSOA's Deputy CEO, Juma Al Matrooshi and Fidor's Founder Matthias Kröner led the inauguration of Fidor’s regional headquarters in the presence of senior officials. Fidor is committed to contributing to the region’s growth by helping strengthen the fintech community and support the region’s economy through local employment and new talent searches. Commenting on the expansion, Matthias Kröner said Dubai was the natural next step for Fidor, especially because of the region’s growth within ecommerce, payments and its overall digitisation. Juma Al Matrooshi congratulated Fidor on expanding its regional presence in the Middle East and assured that the digital banking provider will significantly benefit from this location.

Dana Gas seen returning to table after London ruling

Dana Gas plans to appeal the UK court ruling on $700mn of its outstanding sukuk. According to Dana Gas, the decision by the London court is flawed because the UAE-based company was barred from participating in the proceedings due to an injunction at home. Judge George Leggatt said the English law contracts are enforceable in the case. Dana was challenging a provision called purchase undertaking, which allowed the trustee on behalf of investors to force Dana to buy them out of the agreement at par. Dana shares fell as much as 5.6% on the Abu Dhabi stock market on Sunday. The court ruling puts investors one step closer to resolving a dispute over the sukuk that highlighted one of the Islamic finance industry’s weak spots.

Noor Bank to move away from unsecured small business lending- CEO

UAE's Noor Bank is to move away from unsecured lending to small and medium-sized enterprises. CEO John Iossifidis said the bank was not turning its back on that sector, but it’s certainly not going to be the unfettered lending that was happening two years ago in the banking sector. Other local banks have already taken steps to cut their exposure to the SME sector. Noor Bank also intends to diversify its corporate loan book. In its retail business, the bank aims to shift its focus more towards affluent consumer clients by raising the minimum salary threshold for customers. Iossifidis said the bank had a 7% market share in the UAE mortgage market, giving it an advantage in capturing greater market share in the affluent market.

Dubai investors digest implications for #sukuk market after Dana Gas ruling

A High Court judge in London ruled in favour of creditors in a case regarding the validity of the purchase undertaking for about $700 million of sukuk issued by Dana Gas. The idea that Dana Gas has been able to assert for the past five months that its own sukuk were non-sharia-compliant has struck many observers as unusual. Judge George Leggatt said that Dana Gas' challenges to the validity and enforceability of the purchase undertaking were unfounded and declared the purchase undertaking for Dana's sukuk as valid and enforceable.

Dana Gas shares fall 4.17% on London #sukuk ruling

Dana Gas share prices fell 4.17% following Friday’s English High Court ruling against Dana Gas and in favour of bondholders. Danas said it plans to appeal the decision by the London court that declared the company’s $700 million sukuk valid and enforceable. Friday’s ruling was made in Dana Gas’s absence from the court. Dana Gas had earlier refused to repay debt owed to investors for two mudaraba sukuk worth $350 million each. The latest ruling does not mean that Dana Gas has to pay bondholders just yet, with another hearing in a UAE court scheduled for December 25.

Tirad Mahmoud resigns from ADIB

The Board of Directors of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has accepted the resignation of Tirad Mahmoud from his position as Group CEO. Mahmoud has beon medical leave from March 2017. Khamis Buharoon, ADIB’s Vice Chairman, will continue as acting CEO. Mahmoud joined the bank as a CEO in 2008 and was able to grow ADIB from a domestic market player to a leading regional bank with presence in six countries and a customer base of around one million customers. ADIB has an asset base of more than AED121 billion. In its most recent quarterly results, ADIB reported a 13% rise in third-quarter net profit.

National Bank of Fujairah Structures Shari’a-Compliant Financing Solution for Malabar #Gold

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) announced the completion of a Shari’a-compliant bullion financing transaction with Malabar Gold. It is the first bullion financing in accordance with the Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) standards on gold in the UAE. This partnership follows the launch of the AAOIFI Shari’a Standard on Gold in December 2016. The standard lays out a clear guidance on the permissibility to trade in gold in a shari’a compliant manner. It also enables Islamic finance institutions to develop new gold-based products and transactions. Vince Cook, NBF’s CEO, said he was delighted to be at the forefront of this major transaction in the gold and jewellery market. He thanked for the support of partners Malabar Gold, Amanie Advisors and World Gold Council.

Dana Gas profit boosted by financial settlement with Kurdistan Regional Government

Dana Gas reported a steep rise in third-quarter profit, benefiting from a $1 billion payment as part of a settlement agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The agreement boosted Dana’s third-quarter earnings and net profit for the nine-month period ending on September 30, which amounted to $125 million against $26 million during the same period one year earlier. The settlement led to a reversal of the provision for payments to the KRG, with the balance of unpaid receivables booked to new petroleum costs. The company is at the centre of a legal dispute after having refused to redeem $700 million in outstanding Islamic bonds claiming they are no longer sharia compliant. It has started legal actions in UK and UAE courts to avoid redeeming the sukuk. Dana claimed being confident pursuant to independent legal advice of prevailing in its interpretation of the outcome.

British judge to issue ruling on $700 million Dana Gas #sukuk case soon

British High Court judge George Leggatt said that he would not further adjourn a trial in the Dana Gas case and would issue a judgement soon. Dana is claiming it does not need to redeem its $700 million sukuk, which matured at the end of last month, because the instruments became invalid under UAE law. Dana had asked for further postponement of the trial pending developments in a UAE court, where motions in the case have also been filed.

#UAE's Dana Gas profit boosted by financial settlement with KRG

Dana Gas reported a steep rise in third-quarter profit, benefiting from a $1 billion payment as part of a settlement agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The agreement boosted Dana’s third-quarter earnings and net profit for the nine-month period ending on September 30, which amounted to $125 million against $26 million during the same period one year earlier. The settlement led to a reversal of the provision for payments to the KRG, with the balance of unpaid receivables booked to new petroleum costs. The company is at the centre of a legal dispute after having refused to redeem $700 million in outstanding Islamic bonds claiming they are no longer sharia compliant. It has started legal actions in UK and UAE courts to avoid redeeming the sukuk. Dana claimed being confident pursuant to independent legal advice of prevailing in its interpretation of the outcome.

ADIB hosts regulatory compliance #forums for banks from #Sudan and #Iraq

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) held forums on the international regulatory environment for banks from Sudan and Iraq to support their increasing integration into the global economy. The forums followed the lifting of the United States' longstanding sanctions against the government of Sudan on 12 October 2017. Andreas Meletiou, ADIB’s Head of Global Financial Institutions, said the seminars were equally important for transfer of knowledge and experiences, as well as for deepening networks. The two separate forums gathered around 50 bankers from each country to discuss the evolving international regulatory environment for financial institutions. They addressed issues such as Basel III and IFRS 9 requirements as well as anti-money laundering measures. ADIB, which has a large retail and corporate banking operation in its home market of the United Arab Emirates, also operates a wide international network, including Egypt, Iraq, Sudan and the United Kingdom.

#Innovation in Islamic finance is better cultivated from the roots than the branches

Although Islamic banking and Sukuk comprise the lion’s share of Islamic finance assets, there are significant untapped opportunities in the securities, equity markets, investment funds, insurance and microfinance markets. For Islamic finance to flourish, time would be more valuably spent creating new financial products that are Shari'ah-based rather than adapting existing conventional products to become Shari'ah-compliant. The innovative magic is in the roots, not the branches. On 14 November 2017, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will host the Global Financial Forum (GFF). The invited industry experts are set to provide valuable insights on the progression of the sector and innovation in Islamic finance.

APICORP lists $500 million #Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai

Nasdaq Dubai has welcomed the listing of a $500 million Sukuk by APICORP, the development bank of the Arab world’s oil and gas industries. The transaction is APICORP’s second Sukuk listing on Nasdaq Dubai, as the first was in January 2016. The Sukuk was issued under a $3 billion Sukuk programme and is aimed at diversifying its funding sources. APICORP’s activities include equity investment, debt financing, financial advisory and energy research services. Sukuk listings in the Emirate currently totals at $52.97 billion. 11 Sukuk listings have taken place so far in 2017 on Nasdaq Dubai with a total value of $10.25 billion.

Dana Gas Is Said to Miss Payment on $700 Million #Sukuk Today

Dana Gas has no plans to repay the two mudaraba sukuk of $350 million in size each due Oct. 31. The company shocked the Islamic finance industry when it said it no longer considered its sukuk Shariah-compliant. The missed payment will be the second time in five years the company fails to settle bonds at maturity. In June Dana Gas offered to replace the existing sukuk with four-year bonds that pay less than half the current rate. It retracted that offer in July, adding that it will seek a court-driven solution. A UAE injunction has barred Dana Gas from taking part in the trial in London, but British judge George Leggatt will hand down a ruling on the 13th of November.

Exclusive: First Islamic #robo-adviser to launch in Mena

The first Sharia-compliant robo advisers plans to start operations in the UAE soon, as it looks to a US$2 million funding boost this week from the Dubai venture capital firm Beco Capital. The digitally automated investment adviser Wahed Invest launched in the USA five months ago. CEO Junaid Wahedna said the company was in the process of moving to a new office in Dubai which will become the company’s new global headquarters. Wahed Invest expects to start regional operations by mid-Nov­ember, focusing initially on the UAE. According to Wahedna, the target for ethical, Sharia robo-advisory is the younger demographic, 25-35 years old, digitally savvy and educated millennials. The minimum investment of $100 enables it to tap into a broader customer base.

Dubai's Emirates Reit plans debut #sukuk of at least US$300m this year: source

Dubai-based Emirates REIT plans to issue a debut Islamic bond of at least US$300 million by the end of this year. The Syariah-compliant real estate investment trust (REIT) has called a shareholder meeting on Nov 23 to discuss the planned sukuk, which could be issued shortly after that date. The company's total debt as at June 30 was about US$300 million. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of the REIT stood at 36.8%, which means there is room for issuance larger than US$300 million, the source added. The company had a portfolio of US$772 million at the end of June. Its portfolio includes mixed-use properties, office buildings and schools in Dubai.

#UAE’s Dana Gas leaves maturing #sukuk unpaid but no default declared

Dana Gas will not redeem $700 million (Dh2.57 billion) of its sukuk, as the dispute on the validity of the sukuk drags on in British and UAE courts. Dana claims changes in the interpretation of Islamic finance over recent years means the securities are no longer Sharia-compliant and have become unlawful in the UAE. The case is closely watched by the global Islamic finance industry because some investors think it could set a precedent for other sukuk issuers. Dana asked the Sharjah court for an early hearing date for an appeal which would allow it to participate in the London court case. Proceedings in London are expected to resume by Nov. 13, a ruling on the case could be issued on that date or shortly afterwards.

ADIB launches second Advanced & Autonomous Car #Equities basket note following high demand

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) launched a second 'Advanced & Autonomous Car' Equities Basket Note, following high investor demand for the first tranche. The Shariah-compliant note matures in one year and provides 100% capital protection. The product provides investors with exposure to a basket of five leading car manufacturers, including Daimler, SAP, Volkswagen, BMW and Tesla. The minimum investment for the note is US$30,000, with an option for early redemption after three months. In September 2017, the bank launched a similar equity basket note, which provided investors with exposure to a basket of nine companies operating across the car industry. On September 7, 2017, an ADIB Shariah-compliant diversified equity basket note capturing the performance of undervalued blue-chip yielded 5.45% upon its maturity.

DMCC and Dubai SME to develop Shariah compliant #trade finance #platform for SMEs

DMCC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dubai SME to create a web-based trade finance platform for SMEs. The platform will be Sharia-compliant and operate under the DMCC Authority regulatory framework. Present at the signing ceremony was Gautam Sashittal, CEO of DMCC and Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME. Gautam Sashittal said this cooperation between DMCC and Dubai SME opens a new avenue for funding and financing SMEs. Al Janahi said the SME sector in the UAE has evolved remarkably during the past decade chiefly due to support from the government. He added that this MoU was among a series of partnerships created after identifying the gap that existed in the SME landscape in terms of mobilising resources. DMCC is using Alternative International Management Services (AIMS) to make the platform Sharia-compliant.

#UAE Central Bank warns against #Bitcoin

The UAE Central Bank has warned against Bitcoin, terming it as unofficial and lacking sufficient supervision. According to Governor Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, it can be easily used in money laundering and in funding terror activities. Al Mansouri also said the central bank has completed the formation of a committee for developing Islamic Sharia-compliant products in order to support the Islamic finance sector. On the level of the UAE financial exposure to global capital markets, the governor said local markets have a slight exposure as the existing liquid assets now account for 17% of the banking sector's total assets. He added that UAE banks are robust enough to deal with risks as they have sufficient capital on account of the rising level of individual deposits.

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