Kuwait

KFH Said in Talks for #Bahrain Ahli United Bank, Kuwait Unit

Kuwait Finance House is in talks to buy Bahrain’s Ahli United Bank in a deal that would create one of the Middle East’s largest Islamic lenders with $85 billion of assets. However, there is no guarantee that a deal will take place and final agreements haven’t been reached yet. Lower oil prices are forcing Gulf lenders to consolidate for scale. Abu Dhabi lenders National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank recently merged to create a regional powerhouse with $175 billion of assets. Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan is planning to combine with unlisted Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar to create the country’s largest Islamic lender. Ahli United in Bahrain declined to comment. KFH shares have lost 0.6% so far this year, giving the lender a market value of $9.3 billion. Ahli United shares have jumped 16% so far this year, giving it a $5.57 billion market capitalization.

#Kuwait's Noor to Weigh Stake Sale of #Pakistan's Meezan Bank

#Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment is considering the sale of its 49% stake in Pakistan’s largest Islamic lender Meezan Bank. The stake has a market value of about $396 million at the current market price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Noor Financial hired advisers to assess opportunities, but it has not tasked the consultants with either increasing or decreasing its stake in Meezan Bank. Shares in Noor Financial gained 5.9% by 12:30 p.m. in Safat, Kuwait, the highest since April 16. Meezan advanced 3.6% in Karachi trading to a record high.

BRIEF-Kuwait Finance House denies any decision to merge with Ahli United Bank

Kuwait Finance House denies any decision to merge with Ahli United Bank. Kuwait Finance House is currently studying many other strategic alternatives to enlarge its profitability and marketshare among local and regional banks.

CBK to implement Sharia governance by year-end – To be applied to all banks

The Central Bank of #Kuwait (CBK) is determined to develop the financial sector’s workforce and plans to introduce Sharia governance by the end of the year. CBK’s Inspection Department Chairman Waleed Al-Awadhi revealed that Sharia governance will be implemented after consultations with local banks and will be applied to all Kuwaiti banks. CBK has recently organized a workshop on the topic in collaboration with the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI). Waleed Al-Awadhi said that the workshop aimed to familiarize employees of the financial and banking sectors with Sharia governance.

#Kuwait's Warba Bank boosts its #realestate investments portfolio & acquires a facility of KIA Motors in #UK

Warba Bank has recently purchased a newly constructed UK vehicle imports-exports facility strategically located next to Immingham port. The property is leased to KIA Motors UK for unbreakable lease term of 20 years. The facility has a capacity of over 15,550 cars and totalling 86.68 acres (35.08 hectares) of land. In addition, the site also includes a warehouse space of 63,515 ft.² (5,901 m²), facilitating distribution, refurbishment, valet, inspection, refuelling, offices and gatehouses. The site receives on average c.1,200 vehicles a week. KIA anticipate 100,000 UK car sales target by 2020. Warba Bank’s CEO, Shaheen Hamed Al Ghanem, said this acquisition was one of the best risks mitigated real estate investment of the bank, generating a steady and secured return from unbreakable long lease. He elaborated that the investment plan for 2017 is highly ambitious and the bank is looking for more international real estate investment opportunities in USA, UK and other continental European countries.

#Suriname #Islamic #bank selects #Kuwaiti technology #partner

Trustbank from Suriname is one step closer to open its doors to customers interested in Islamic banking products after it signed a new licensing deal with the Kuwaiti based software vendor, Path Solutions, to implement Islamic Banking and Investment System as a new core banking platform.
This is major thing for the Path Solutions, as it’s the company’s first Islamic core banking software deal in the Americas. The company won the deal as one of three shortlisted vendors besides Oracle FS, Temenos. Path Solutions won the deal because of ist Sharia compliance, product functionality and technological superiority.

#GCC sovereigns to lead emerging market #bond issues in #2017

GCC is expected to account for about 31% of sovereign bond issuances from emerging markets this year. The expected 2017 sovereign issues will be distributed among GCC, Eastern Europe Middle East Africa and Latin America, according to forecasts by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Issues from the GCC has been increasing rapidly mainly due to low oil prices, with some new issuers in 2016, and analysts expect the 2017 issuance to continue to be high. Among those, Kuwait inaugurated the external sovereign debt market with $8 billion (Dh29.3 billion) to finance a budget deficit resulting from low oil prices. Sovereign issuance for 2017 is forecast to be 6% higher compared to the previous year. In 2016, sovereigns issued $135 billion, mainly from Latin America, while corporates issued about $300 billion, mainly from Asia. Analysts expect gross sovereign external issuance to come in at $144bn in 2017.

Warba Bank launches marketing campaign for USD-250-mln #sukuk

Kuwait's Warba Bank announced the launch of a marketing campaign for sukuk to be issued with a total value of USD 250 million. Warba Bank's CEO Shaheen Hamad Al-Ghanim said the campaign targets investors in Kuwait and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, in addition to global stock markets. Al-Ghanim explained that the bank signed a deal with an international advisor to a new strategy for 2021, which is based on improving the bank's operations and further enhancing the quality of assets and diversifying sources of income. He noted that Warba Bank has previously obtained approvals from the Central Bank of Kuwait and Capital Market Authority, while the General Assembly has authorized the board of directors to issue sukuk.

#Kuwait’s Islamic banks thrive despite continued economic uncertainty

Despite the global drop in oil prices, Islamic finance continues to thrive. According to the EY consultancy, Sharia-compliant banking grew at an annual rate of 17.6% between 2009 and 2013, and is now projected to grow by an estimated 19.7% annually by 2018. This rate of growth far outpaces that of conventional banks, putting pressure on traditional banks to diversify their operations by including Sharia-compliant services. Kuwait International Bank (KIB) converted to exclusively Sharia-compliant services in 2007 and paved the way for Islamic finance in Kuwait. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, Chairman of KIB, said the bank has adopted a new strategic outlook which had its first stage launched in 2015. This brought about a change in KIB’s franchise operations and its day-to-day activities. The second phase develops the bank's product and service offerings. The final stage scheduled for 2017 will focus on boosting KIB’s competitive edge within the banking industry.

Diversification in the #Gulf

The banking sector in #Kuwait remains solid, robust and unaffected by regional events. The operating environment can be described as low-risk thanks to the country’s central bank regulatory role and conservative approach. Kuwait International Bank (KIB) has risen to become one of the most established in Kuwait. The bank's CEO, Loai Muqames, says diversification into the retail sector took priority with the launch of stand-alone retail banking operations. Since adopting a unified CRM system the quality and efficiency of the customer service has dramatically increased. KIB partners with Kuwait’s telecom providers to offer SMS banking for those account holders without a mobile internet connection. KIB is also investing in those sectors related to the $100bn government funded national development plan currently in motion. These sectors include infrastructure, oil and gas, energy, and real estate.

KFH welcomes CBK’s Sharia Supervisory Governance for banks – Regulations instill confidence in Islamic banking: Duwaishan

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has welcomed the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK)’s instructions and regulations regarding the role of Sharia Supervisory Boards in Islamic banks. Islamic Banks would be given until December 31st, 2017 to fulfill the requirements. Isa Abdullah Duwaishan, Executive Manager Shariah Control & Advisory at KFH, stated that the executive team of the board encompasses qualified Shariah controllers who audit the compliance and commitment of all bank departments to sharia rules. He reiterated the efforts of continually improving the skills of Shariah controllers and the Shariah staff in the bank through engaging them in specialized training courses. KFH's Shariah Supervisory Board issues Fatwa and Shariah reports that are viewed as a reference to other banks.

#Kuwait's #central #bank #fine-tunes governance of #Islamic banks

Kuwait's central bank has issued new governance rules for Islamic banks, including requirements for external sharia audits, as regulators seek more transparency and accountability in the sector. Regulatory scrutiny over Islamic banks has been building as they now hold around a quarter of total banking assets in the Gulf, while in Kuwait that figure stands at around 40 %. Kuwait's central bank said the rules published this week aim to increase customer confidence in Islamic banking by strengthening both internal and external oversight. This follows similar steps by Bahrain which proposed new requirements in September for its Islamic banks, including external sharia audits. The central bank directive, which must be fully implemented by January 2018, provides guidance covering independence of sharia boards as well as fit and proper criteria for scholars.

US Senator refutes fake press release targeting Kuveyt-Turk bank

An unknown group of people have purposefully leaked new allegations surrounding the Turkey-based bank Kuveyt-Turk. A press release published on Nov. 19 claimed that US Senator Dick Durbin would hold hearings to investigate two key banking institutions in Kuwait and whether they helped fund terrorism. The press release read that Durbin would target Kuwait Finance House and its subsidiary in Turkey, the Kuveyt-Turk participation bank. A spokesman at Senator Durbin's office flatly denied the report and said it was completely false. The fake report has surfaced amidst an ongoing court case in California against the two banks on the terror funding charges. Kuveyt-Turk's lawyers dismissed the charges by saying the allegations have no merit because banks are not responsible for the allegations. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the allegations over Kuveyt-Turk and Kuwait Finance House were proof of Western double standards.

#Kuwait's Warba Bank gets central bank approval for $250 million #sukuk

Warba Bank has received approval from the central bank of Kuwait to issue up to $250 million of sukuk. The bank will take a final decision on the issuance and its timing after obtaining remaining regulatory approvals. The funding would be used to boost Warba's Tier 1 capital. Warba Bank is an Islamic lender established in 2010.

Negotiations continuing for Bank Alkhair’s acquisition — GFH

Gulf Finance House (GFH) said the negotiations are underway for acquisition of Bank Alkhair of Bahrain. The due deligence is continuing and formalities are yet to be completed. In a separate statement, GFH said that its unit has won a case against its former deputy chief executive. The verdict issued in favour of GFH’s unit is for circa $5 million (Dh18.4 million). Earlier in the month, the GFH board has approved the proposed settlement with assets of an estimated $350-450 million, subject to counterparties’ fulfillment of their obligations. The company said the estimated value of the assets is preliminary and subject to regulatory approvals and will have a positive impact on GFH’s financials for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Ahli United Bank $200 million Perpetual Additional Tier 1 #Sukuk oversubscribed

Ahli United Bank (AUB) has concluded the subscription of its issue of a $200 Million Perpetual Additional Tier 1 Sukuk. The Bank’s Chairman, Anwar Al Mudhaf, expressed his appreciation to the Central Bank of Kuwait and the Capital Markets Authority, to the many investors both in Kuwait and abroad and to the Bank’s team. CEO Richard Groves said the sukuk had been oversubscribed by over three times more than the targeted amount. This was achieved in less than one week from the date of the announcement, with a roadshow covering meetings in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The Perpetual Additional Tier 1 capital issue Sukuk is issued in compliance with the requirements of Basel III, the regulations of the Central Bank of Kuwait as well as in compliance with the regulations of the Capital Markets Authority.

AUB #Kuwait #sukuk perpetual in motion as guidance tightened

Ahli United Bank Kuwait has opened books on a perpetual dollar sukuk after wrapping up investor meetings on Monday. Books were oversubscribed and were due to close on Tuesday. Citi, Credit Agricole and Credit Suisse ran the roadshow, which started in Abu Dhabi and Dubai last Wednesday before taking in Zurich and Geneva, London and Singapore. Books were opened at 5.75% area on Monday before guidance was refined to 5.5%-5.875%.

Creditors of #Kuwait's Investment Dar team up to consider $2.7 bln debt plan

Creditors of Kuwait's debt-laden Investment Dar are forming a team to restructure 813 million dinars ($2.7 billion) in debt. Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank, the Islamic investment company's largest creditor, is taking charge of forming the committee, which will be responsible for representing the roughly 70 to 80 creditors in negotiations with Investment Dar. Any deal remains complicated by a rise in the number of legal cases against Investment Dar. Another complication is that Investment Dar has been in legal dispute with Commercial Bank of Kuwait over part of its nearly 20% stake in Kuwait's Boubyan Bank, which is one of the assets it aims to hand over to creditors.

#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.

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