The Peninsula

The First Investor acquires another #German asset

The First Investor (TFI) Qatar, a subsidiary of Barwa Bank Group has acquired a new office building in Frankfurt. The asset is another unique blend to TFI Euro Income Fund, which was launched in 2017 with sharia compliant stature. Europe continues to provide excellent investment and business environments given low inflation and low interest rate regime. TFI is keen to pursue its investment strategy with the aim to help clients achieve their objectives in a very challenging business environment. By that, TFI will soon launch another UK Income Fund and a US Income Fund together with many investment opportunities during 2018.

#Qatar’s QR25bn worth #sukuk to mature soon

Almost half of Qatar’s outstanding sukuk, worth of over QR25bn, will mature in 2018. With the ongoing growth of Shariah-compliant institutions, new issuances are vital. If no sukuk are issued in the country to replace the maturing ones, Shariah-compliant investors might look to other sukuk investments outside Qatar. According to the joint research of Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Thomson Reuters and Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), retail sukuk remains an untapped segment in most of the countries in GCC. Qatar can capitalise on selling sukuk to the retail market to promote both the primary and secondary capital market. Financial institutions have been leading corporate issuance in the GCCIn Qatar, Ezdan Holding Group is the only corporation outside financial institutions to issue sukuk. Ijarah continues to be the most popular sukuk structure in Qatar. However, Qatari corporate sukuk have all been issued based on wakalah structure, which has been gaining popularity in the recent years.

#Zakat Fund aid amounted to QR13.6m in December

Qatar's Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs provided zakat to the needy families, the zakat totalled QR13,624,806 last December. The aid was distributed to the beneficiaries, including the permanent aid provided monthly and the irregular aid, which is related to specific needs and emergency conditions. The funds were distributed according to Shariah and after comprehensively researching each beneficiary case and undergoing a social and field research. The cases are then presented to specialised committees, who meet daily and assess the cases, guaranteeing the delivery of assistance to beneficiaries in need.

Islamic finance can play key role in PPP delivery

The fast-growing Islamic finance industry can play a significant role in closing the infrastructure gap through public-private partnerships (PPP). According to the World Bank, shari‘ah-compliant assets have grown exponentially in the past two decades, accumulating nearly $1.9 trillion in assets. The Gulf Cooperation Council has the largest share of shari‘ah-compliant assets, at 42% of the global total, followed by Middle East and North Africa with 30% and the rest of Asia at 22%. Islamic banking and Islamic deposits grew faster than their conventional equivalents in Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Turkey. Developing countries in Asia will need to invest $26 trillion from 2016 to 2030, or $1.7 trillion per year to eradicate poverty and respond to climate change. The infrastructure needs of Sub-Saharan Africa exceed $93bn annually. Islamic finance instruments like Istisna and Ijarah can be used for large, longer-term financing arrangements, such as financing for power projects, infrastructure and transport equipment.

CEO of Al Rayan Bank receives OBE from Prince William

The CEO of Al Rayan Bank, Sultan Choudhury, has received his Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Prince William. Choudhury was appointed OBE in the Birthday Honours of Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his services to Islamic finance. Choudhury was part of the management team that obtained Western Europe’s first authorised Islamic banking licence in 2004. He has since grown the Bank to become the UK’s largest Islamic bank. Al Rayan Bank offers the largest Sharia compliant product range in the UK. The Bank currently has more than more than 80,000 customers throughout the UK, more than a quarter of which it estimates to be non-Muslim.

QINVEST bullish on #Turkey, bets on EM equities

Qatar’s QInvest is set to reinforce its presence in Turkey. Head of Asset Management at QInvest, Dr Ataf Ahmed is seeing huge opportunities in various asset classes in Turkey. In 2016, QInvest acquired ERGO Portfoy, rebranded as QInvestPortfoy and became a leading asset management group in Turkey. The company is also seeing opportunities within Emerging Markets (EM) equities, despite the inherent volatility of the asset class. Inflation is coming in under control and there are a number of positive surprises in economic growth. There is also exposure to broader EM within some of the global funds and mandates, however this represents approximately 10% of total assets across all QInvest funds. In the GCC region businesses have adjusted to low oil prices. According to Ahmed, GCC nations are reinforcing their plans to diversify the economies, moving into sectors like finance, trade and tourism.

QIIB to begin operations in #Morocco with four branches

Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) inaugurated the bank’s new branch at the Mall of Qatar. CEO Abdulbasit Ahmad Al Shaibei said the bank is expected to start its operations in Morocco by the first quarter of 2017 with four branches. The lender had signed a joint venture agreement with the Moroccan Bank Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH) for the establishment of a bank in Morocco in December 2015. Under the agreement, QIIB will have 40% stake in the proposed bank. The new QIIB branch is on the ground floor of the Mall of Qatar, considered to be one of the most important shopping destinations in the region.

QIB offers online travel #takaful plan to customers

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) has introduced online instant purchase for its new Travel Takaful plan. From now on, QIB’s customers can conveniently purchase Travel Takaful plan through the Bank’s website www.qib.com. The comprehensive plans are offered by Damaan Islamic Insurance Company (Beema) and provide a wealth of coverages. Benefits include compensation in case of lost/delayed baggage, delay in departures, or in the event of lost passports, National IDs and driving licences.
A key benefit is the coverage of medical expenses incurred abroad, including hospital and surgical costs, dental emergencies and other needs that can occur when traveling.

Ezdan’s $500m debut #Sukuk a huge hit

Ezdan Holding Group has priced its inaugural Sukuk transaction in the debt capital markets with a $500m 5-year Sukuk issue. The transaction attracted an order-book up to $837m, with 71 investors participating. Investors from the Middle East took 68% of the issuance, with European investors subscribing for 21% and Asian investors taking 11%. Group CEO Ali Mohammed Al Obaidli said the investors’ strong interest resulted in the order book reaching to $837 mn, around 1.67 times of the offer amount.

QInvest completes debut $200m five-year syndicated facility

QInvest, Qatar’s leading investment group and one of the most prominent Islamic financial institutions in the world, announced the completion of its debut $200m five year syndicated facility.

The facility is in line with the bank’s funding diversification and capital efficiency plan and was arranged by QInvest’s key regional and international relationship banks, namely Masraf Al Rayan, Al Khaliji France S.A. and Natixis. QInvest previously announced that it was named the “Most Innovative Investment Bank from the Middle East” at The Banker magazine’s Investment Banking Awards 2015.

Al Rayan Bank operating income jumps 168pc

Al Rayan Bank, formerly known as Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), yesterday announced its strongest financial performance to date, resulting in the Bank more than doubling its operating income and posting its first profit since its inception in 2004. The bank’s operating income increased 168 percent to £11.8m in 2014 from£4.4m in 2013. The bank saw 86 percent increase in total customer financing, to £450.3m. Retail deposits increased 59 percent to £509.8m and while wholesale deposits increased 53 percent to £31.7m. Increasing consumer confidence, the continued strength of the housing market and opportunities to provide property finance to the commercial sector as well as to investors in the Gulf has enabled Al Rayan Bank to post its best results to date.

Islamic bank BLME eyes first dividend in ’16

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME), Britain’s largest stand-alone Islamic bank, aims to pay its first dividend in early 2016 as the lender diversifies its revenue and funding streams. Founded in 2006 by Kuwait’s Boubyan Bank, BLME has not paid a dividend, but its net distributable reserves are expected to reach a sufficient level in 2015, chief executive Humphrey Percy said. BLME, which provides corporate banking and wealth management services, posted a net profit of £4m ($6.6m) in the first half of 2014, up from £1m during the same period last year. This was aided by diversification of revenue streams, with the corporate banking division seeing its total operating income grow 32.5 percent from a year earlier.

Ehab Eshehawi is QIIB’s new COO

Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) has announced the appointment of Ehab Eshehawi (pictured) as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Eshehawi has more than 25 years’ experience in managing Technology and Operations in the USA, Europe, Asia and Mideast, including 14 years’ experience in the US with Fortune 500 Companies, and 15 years’ experience with international banking institutions. He spent the last 15 years with Arab Banking Corporation and Ahli United Bank focused on supporting banking mergers and acquisitions. Eshehawi is holder of a Bachelor degree in Business Administration, minor in Business Computers Information Systems, and a MBA from the USA.

Islamic finance body IILM re-issues $890m sukuk

Malaysia-based International Islamic Liquidity Management Corp (IILM) has reissued $860 million of its three-month Islamic bond. The three-month sukuk, rated A-1 by Standard and Poor's, was priced at a yield of 0.52 percent. The issuance was fully subscribed by nine banks acting as primary dealers, including Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, CIMB and Maybank. IILM last went to the market in May to re-issue $490 million worth of three-month paper, designed to meet a shortage of highly liquid, investment-grade financial instruments which Islamic banks can trade to manage their short-term funding needs. Shareholders of the IILM are the central banks of Indonesia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank.

QIB, Noor Bank, Warba Bank lead arrangers for $155m loan

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), Noor Bank and Warba Bank, the mandated lead arrangers, announced the successful closure of a $155m Shariah-compliant receivable backed syndicated financing facility for a UAE-based Jafza entity. The facility is a transaction that enabled the obligor to securitise its future receivables guaranteed by multinational oil and gas companies. Noor Bank acted as lead arranger and bookrunner for the facility besides its role as the account bank, documentation bank, Shariah-coordinator, as well as investment and security agent. The facility was designed to refinance existing debt and finance the company’s future capital expenditure.

QIB-UK offers property opportunities in London

QIB-UK, a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), is offering real estate investment opportunities for premium clients looking to purchase properties in London. The bank’s network gives interested clients early access to residential real estate opportunities. They will enjoy privileged introductions to opportunities in the London real estate market both for buyers and investors alike. In addition, the bank offers a full suite of Shari’ah-compliant structured commercial real estate financing products including investment, residential development and mezzanine financing to clients.

Malaysia expects global Islamic financial industry to grow next year

The global Islamic financial industry is expected to grow to US$2 trillion next year from US$1.3 trillion currently, propped up by growing demand from non-conservative countries, Malaysia's Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan said. The Islamic financial industry will expand because of the stability of the Islamic financial system. The system is not shaken by the economic downturn anywhere in the world, he added. Furthermore, the Islamic financial system was also fairer such as in terms of profit distribution, Ahmad said. In Malaysia, the growth of Islamic Finance would benefit both Muslims and and non-Muslim consumers, he said.

Pakistan sets up Islamic banking committee to expand activity

Pakistan's Ministry of Finance has set up a committee to explore areas to promote Islamic banking in the nation, including studying converting conventional banks into sharia-compliant ones. Regulators in Pakistan are rolling out a range of initiatives, such as a media awareness campaign, to expand Islamic banks' share of the total banking sector to 15 percent by 2017. The committee will submit recommendations on 10 areas by December 2014, including legal obstacles to converting banks into Islamic ones and changes required to remove those obstacles. Other tasks for the committee include formulating a comprehensive policy framework and timeframes for the industry's progression. The commitee comprises scholars and regulators as well as bankers.

Kuwait Finance House makes $362m of provisions

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced 103 million Kuwaiti dinar or $362 million of precautionary provisions on Tuesday, as it posted a smaller than expected rise in second-quarter net profit. The bank did not provide any more details on the provisions, which cover the first half of the year, nor a comparative figure for the same period the year before. It added that indicators related to profit growth and operating revenues were positive. Net profit rose to 26.8 million dinars in the three months ended June. The lender did not provide further details on its profit. It said it would continue with its expansion plans after its 319 million dinar capital increase last month.

Kuwait Finance House says client settles $297m debt

Kuwait Finance House said on Monday that a customer had settled $296.6 million of debt owed to the bank and that the impact of the receipt would be reflected in its second-quarter results. The customer had owed 32.6 million dinars or $114.3 million to KFH and 51 million dinars to subsidiaries. KFH did not give any details about the debtor, or say whether the customer was a corporate entity or an individual. The bank is expected to release second-quarter earnings in August.

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