Zawya

#Egypt approves first issuance of sukuk by Talaat Mostafa subsidiary

Egypt's Financial Regulatory Authority approved the first issuance of sukuk worth 2 billion Egyptian pounds ($127 million) by a subsidiary of Talaat Mostafa Group. The sukuk, issued by the subsidiary Arab Company for Projects and Urban Development, will be available for trading and for expedited payment but will not be transferable for shares. The new sukuk period is for 57 months, up to the end of 2024. Talaat Mostafa Group is Egypt's largest listed real estate developer.

Family Bank in #Bahrain opens Seef headquarters

Bahrain's Family Bank has opened its new headquarters in the Diplomatic Area of Manama. The ceremony was attended by the bank’s board members, chief executives of contributing banks and economic personalities. The establishment of the Family Bank as a first social bank in Bahrain in 2010 aimed to boost the social security network by the activation of a micro loan-giving mechanism. The bank was set up through partnership between the Labour and Social Development Ministry, the Royal Charity Organisation, the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK), Ithmaar Bank, Ahli United Bank and Kuwait Finance House (KFH). It won Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s award for supporting youth projects in 2013.

#UAE's Gulf Islamic Investments buys New York office building

Gulf Islamic Investments (GII) has acquired a property in New York, which brings the firm’s US portfolio to more than $230 million. The property is an office building in White Plains, Westchester County, with a leasable area of 220,000 square feet, and is currently over 90% occupied by more than 30 tenants. It is also strategically located, as it’s close to the Federal, Supreme, District and Country courthouses in New York. According to CEO Pankaj Gupta, the global economy continues to signal a low-interest rate regime for the foreseeable future, hence, GII sees that such long income assets can deliver high single-digit returns. He added that GII was exploring such opportunities in Paris real estate market as well, with the view of taking advantage of the impact of Brexit.

Saudi's Fawaz Abudulaziz Alhokair secures $800mln Islamic finance

Saudi-listed retail group Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Company has signed a Murabaha facility and a revolving credit facility agreement with a syndicate of Saudi banks. The $800 million debt facility is composed of two tranches, including a $650 million Murabaha to be fully utilized in refinancing existing debt, and a $150 million revolving standby credit facility to finance the business’ operational and expansion needs. The Murabaha matures in 7 years, while the revolving credit facility’s tenure is 3 years. The banks participating in the loan agreement are: Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation, the National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group, Arab National Bank, Mashreqbank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

$26mln Islamic financing for #Oman copper-gold project

The Omani-Australian partnership Al Hadeetha Resources has secured funding to the tune of RO 10 million from Alizz Islamic Bank, which will support the financing of the formers copper-gold project. Australian-based mining firm Alara Resources is a majority investor in the project, which centres on the commercialization of an estimated 16 million tons of copper. These new financing arrangements signify another key milestone for the flagship Al Hadeetha Copper-Gold project in Oman. The funds will be used to procure major equipment for the copper processing plant at Washihi. Meanwhile, Al Hadeetha Resources has named Chinese state-owned enterprise China National Geological & Mining Corporation (CGM) as its Engineering Procurement Construction contractor. The project is expected to come into operation by Q1 2021.

Al Baraka Bank leveraging a robust global network

In this interview Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive of Al Baraka Banking Group reviews the group’s 2019 results. Overall, Al Baraka Bank maintained its healthy financial performance despite the lower-income. However, Al Baraka's adherence to its conservative approach to set aside hedging provisions for all its units resulted in a 14% decrease in net income attributable to shareholders during the third quarter. In 2019 the bank launched the Al Baraka Global API website, a step towards innovation in open banking. Al Baraka Banking Group also inaugurated a new fintech company which focuses on e-payments ‘alneo’ in Turkey through its Turkish subsidiary. The bank’s units opened six new branches, taking the total number of branches to 703. Yousif is planning to enter new markets in the coming period through the presence in the Indonesian and Chinese markets, expansion in East Asia, as well as Africa.

More hope for #sukuk market growth: S&P

Global Sukuk issuances witnessed a 25.6% hike last year from 2018 numbers, with foreign currency issuances leaping 20.8%. This was driven by high levels of liquidity in Indonesia, good performance in Malaysia, Turkey's efforts to tap all available financing sources and the return of some GCC issuers to the market. According to S&P, total Sukuk issuance for 2020 is expected to reach $160 billion-170 billion this year, including $40 billion-$45 billion of foreign currency issuance. The research and ratings agency added that ample global liquidity and negative yields on more than $10 trillion of debt mean that issuers with a good credit story will find relatively easy entry to the Sukuk market this year. S&P pointed out several global themes that bode well for Islamic finance, technological innovation, sustainable investments and diversification, will continue to open the market to new players particularly small and midsize issuers.

Al Baraka celebrates Art Week in headquarters with an Art Exhibition by employees

Al Baraka Islamic Bank organized an art exhibition for talented employees of the Bank as well as for the staff of Al Baraka Banking Group. The Art exhibition took place on 28th January 2020 at the Al Baraka Headquarters in Bahrain Bay. Al Baraka Group President Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif said the exhibition aimed to explore the historical legacies of Bahrain, from traditional crafts, industry and pop culture to modernism’s forms, including art and architecture there by encouraging the talented employees. He further stated that some of the paintings would be selected for use in the Group’s calendars and greeting cards.

INJAZ #Bahrain set to launch its first mobile application

INJAZ Bahrain has endeavored to develop its first mobile application with the support of Al Salam Bank-Bahrain, K-Labs and Inforise IT. The application will offer an enhanced registration experience by enabling new joiners, volunteers and alumni to choose among a list of programs offered by INJAZ Bahrain in collaboration with public and private schools. The application will also provide INJAZ Bahrain’s privileged volunteers with reward points based on their contributed volunteering hours towards youth development. The INJAZ Bahrain application will be available for both Android and IOS users by June of this year. In an aim to expand youth education and economic development, INJAZ Bahrain is leveraging mobile to harness digital innovation to improve the learning process and encourage more volunteers to join its programs.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank extends $87 million financing for 2 deals in #UK

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has provided $87 million to help finance two deals in the United Kingdom that are valued more than $200 million. One of the clients is based in Abu Dhabi and plans to refinance a prime central London healthcare facility worth 900 million UAE dirhams ($245 million). The other client is a Bahrain-based company who plans to acquire a logistics hub in Edinburgh worth 55 million UAE dirhams ($15 million). The London property is operated by an international healthcare group. The Edinburgh property, let to Royal Mail, consists of an office facility and a distribution warehouse situated in Scotland.

Boubyan Bank announces a successful offer for BLME Holdings plc (BLME)

Boubyan Bank had received valid acceptances in respect of a total of 73,263,270 BLME Shares. On 27 January 2020, Boubyan Bank announced that all conditions to the offer were either satisfied or waived and the offer became unconditional. The offer will remain open for acceptances until 1.00 p.m. (London time) on 19 February 2020. Following completion of the offer, Boubyan Bank intends that BLME will continue to operate as a standalone group within the wider Boubyan Bank business.

Al Baraka Bank Egypt confirms its intent to launch digital bank

Al Baraka Bank Egypt is establishing a digital bank, as it decided to increase the capital to EGP 5 billion through 3 years abiding by the Central Bank of Egypt's (CBE) new act. The bank injected EGP 1.7 billion joint funding to the national projects aiming to reach EGP 5 billion in 2023, as well as it will provide in principles 100 Automated Teller Machines (ATM), targeting to reach 200 ATMs during the upcoming period.

Saudi SRC buys $67mln mortgage portfolio from Bank Aljazira

The Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC), a subsidiary of the Saudi Public Investment Fund signed an agreement with Bank Aljazira to buy a SAR 250 million mortgage portfolio. The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that allows SRC to buy more mortgage portfolios from the bank. SRC seeks to inject more liquidity into the Saudi mortgage sector through the acquisition of mortgage portfolios. Bank Aljazira’s net profit increased by 3.8% to SAR 256.9 million in Q3-19, compared to SAR 247.4 million in Q3-18.

Boubyan Bank's profits in 2019

Boubyan Bank has reported net profit of KD 62.7 million in 2019, at a growth rate of 12% compared to 2018, with an earnings per share of 20.4 fils compared to 19.2 fils in 2018. Boubyan Bank CEO Adel Abdul Wahab Al-Majed said that the total equity of the bank increased to KD 575 million by the end of 2019 and the operating income increased to KD 146 million. The year 2019 witnessed the introduction of many new services and products. All-new smart phone Apps were launched in addition to the issuance, activation and use of the virtual prepaid card through Boubyan App. Additionally, the bank earned its verified badge in WhatsApp business and successfully integrated the bank’s Chatbot service, Msa3ed, with WhatsApp business.

Islamic finance gains ground in #UK despite confusion about offerings

According to the 2019 Islamic Finance Consumer Report from Gatehouse Bank, several new faith-based lending or savings accounts have been launched in the UK, but only 54% of Muslim consumers have tried any of them. Gatehouse Bank CEO Charles Haresnape sees that most people don’t really understand Islamic finance, even Muslims don’t understand it. He said that Gatehouse is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain. Haresnape predicts growth for the UK Islamic finance market, driven by the country’s expanding young Muslim population, but said awareness and education would be key factors in driving uptake.

Islamic finance gains ground in UK despite confusion about offerings

The UK Islamic finance sector holds an estimated £15 billion ($19 billion) of assets, the largest outside the Middle East and Asia. The Gatehouse Bank is intent on developing the Islamic finance sector in Britain.

KFH signs partnership agreement with international platform to Showcase Kuwaiti Youth's initiatives

A strategic partnership agreement had been signed, between Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and Entrepreneur Magazine. (KFH) asumes that they will sponsor the Entrepreneur platform for Kuwait with “Entrepreneur Middle East” which specializes in business entrepreneurship and young people’s initiatives.

Shareholders of Dubai Islamic Bank approve acquisition of Noor Bank

Following the conclusion of its General Assembly Meeting, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced that the assembly has approved the acquisition of Noor Bank. With this acquisition, DIB is set to position itself as one of the largest Islamic Banks in the world with total assets exceeding AED 275 billion. Furthermore, this move will strengthen Dubai’s position as a global centre for Islamic finance. In addition to being the first and largest Islamic bank in the UAE, DIB has a significant international presence as a torchbearer in promoting Shari’ah-compliant financial services. The Bank’s ultimate goal is to make Islamic finance the norm, rather than an alternative to conventional banking worldwide.

Dr. Mabid Al-Jarhi, IsDB Prize Laureate, Delivers Lecture on Gains of Switching from Conventional to Islamic Finance

Winner of the 2019 Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Prize in Islamic Economics, Dr. Mabid Al-Jarhi, has delivered a lecture on the gains of switching from conventional to Islamic Finance. He argues that mainstream economics has many limitations, and therefore economists need to be able to identify the weaknesses and propose alternative frameworks. The principles of Islamic Economics provide such a framework. Prohibiting interest on money is not sufficient from an Islamic Finance point of view. Financing through trade contributes to addressing the inefficiency arising from search for trade partners. Together, prohibition of interest and financing through trade would improve allocation of resources in the economy. Dr. Al-Jarhi warns that there is a lot to be done to have a proper Islamic financial system in place. Proper regulations and governance are neccessary to address other kinds of inefficiencies arising from partnership of equity financing.

2020 is the year of sustainability on Arab stock exchanges: AFE’s Secretary General

The Arab Federation of Exchanges (AFE) has been working on launching a development strategy to localise financial technology and sustainable development, declaring 2020 the year of sustainability in Arab stock exchanges. “Reforming the home from within” is the approach taken by the AFE’s Secretary General since taking over the secretariat last year. The most important change was the adoption of a new system for the AFE to restructure its board of directors. The AFE also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Financial Technology Corporation in the Middle East and North Africa, and there will be a kind of joint training for financial technology. Last year the AFE managed to expand the federation’s membership base, it currently includes 21 active members, with 17 stock exchanges and four clearing companies.

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