Zawya

Al Baraka Banking Group Increase its Total Operating Income by 7% to US$ 538 million and Total Assets Reach US$ 25 billion in the First Half of 2016

The #Bahrain based Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) announced that it achieved an increase in total operating income of 7% and net profits before tax and provisions by 4% during the first half of 2016. Total assets increased by 2%, total finance and investments by 4%, deposits by 1% while total equity increased by 2% as at the end of June 2016. Total operating income reached US$ 538 million in the first half of 2016 compared to US$ 502 million during the same period of 2015. Al Baraka's CEO Adnan Ahmed Yousif said the Group opened 24 new branches in the first half of 2016 to bring total branches to 611. He considers the entry of the Group to Morocco market a very important achievement, because it represents one of the main markets in the Arab Maghreb and Africa. Also, it means a higher diversification in assets and income sources for the Group.

Notes on a smaller island

There is little escape from the volatility that the Brexit vote has wreaked. Islamic banks' partiality for UK real estate could be particularly painful if property prices fall, as they are predicted to, by as much as 10%. Islamic banks' overreliance on the property sector is well documented, and Britain has long been a favourite destination for real estate investment. The biggest issue facing the UK financial services sector is whether institutions will retain their passporting rights. There is much at stake for Britain too. Islamic finance plays a significant role in infrastructure development in the UK, from The Shard to the Olympic Village. Over 6500 homes are currently being financed by a GBP 700 million investment by Gatehouse Bank. The UK cannot afford to lose this funding, especially when investment from Europe dries up.

QIIB completes issuance of QR1bn #Sukuk

QIIB announced the issuance of QR1bn Sukuk. The Sukuk aims at boosting the Bank's Tier 1 Capital to maintain a higher Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) complying with the Basel III norms. Last year QIIB shareholders had approved the Bank's proposal to raise up to QR3bn through Sukuk issuance.
A higher capital adequacy will not only help the Bank's risks absorption capacity but also expected to promote financial stability and efficiency of the Shairah compliant banking services provider.

Islamic finance expanding its footprint in #Oman

Recent regulations on sukuk are helping growth in Oman's Islamic banking sector, with sharia-compliant lenders gaining ground. Growth of Islamic banking is far outstripping that of the conventional banking segment with Islamic banking assets up more than 62% year-on-year (y-o-y) at the end of March. In contrast with the performance of the Islamic segment of the market, assets of conventional commercial banks rose by 9.1% y-o-y to the end of March to OR28.6bn ($74.3bn). The new regulations released by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) in April clarify requirements for issuing sukuk and provide a legal framework. According to Sheikh Abdullah bin Al Salmi, executive president of the CMA, the new regulations are expected to expand the range of investment instruments available in the sector.

Deloitte and IRTI launch new Islamic Finance insights series

Deloitte and the Islamic Research & Training Institute (IRTI) have launched a new whitepaper entitled "The catalysts for change: Strategic priorities in governance and regulation in Islamic Finance practice." It is the first publication of a series of whitepapers aiming to address industry issues and present practical analyses. According to Joe El Fadl, Partner at Deloitte Middle East, the primary goal of the series is to provide a forum through which best practice, knowledge and Islamic finance research can be shared with stakeholders. It also presents the progress in governance, regulatory compliance, risk, sustainable business models, financial reporting, transparency and leadership.

$500m #sukuk sold in private placement

The government of Oman sold a $500 million six-year sukuk in a private placement. The profit rate is set at 3.5%, the amount will have to be repaid in three equal instalments after four, five and six years. Oman's first Ijara format five-year sukuk worth RO 200 million ($520 million) was issued in October last year and received strong orders. The government which is facing a widening fiscal deficit has been adopting several measures tide over the falling revenue from lower oil prices. Recently, the government raised a $2.5 billion two-part bond and a $1 billion loan from banks. This was the first international bond issue in two decades by the Sultanate.

The IFSB, World Bank and Turkish Treasury Organise a Joint #Conference on Value Proposition of #Takaful Industry in Istanbul

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), The World Bank Group (WBG) and the Republic of Turkey have organised a joint conference focusing on the takaful sector. This conference, themed "Realising the Value Proposition of Takaful Industry for a Stable and Inclusive Financial System" was held in Istanbul on May 30-31, 2016. The Keynote Address was delivered by Ramazan Ulger, President of the Turkish Insurance Association and Ozgur Koc from the Association of Participation Insurance. Mr. Ulger highlighted that there are 60 insurance companies and one reinsurance company operating in Turkey. He suggested for the takaful industry to develop a wider range of products to address the needs of individuals. Ozgur Koc reiterated the country's vision to establish Istanbul as an Islamic financial centre.

#Turkey's Banking Regulation and #Supervision Agency BRSA" officially an Institutional Member of #AAOIFI

The important role of the Republic of Turkey in the global Islamic finance industry as well as its distinct standing both at the official and popular levels, the steady growth both of Islamic banks and financial institutions operating there, in addition to the parallel evolution of its regulatory and supervisory framework, the AAOIFI has been keen to strengthen professional and technical ties with this country. This was translated into an official visit by AAOIFI to a number of banking regulatory and supervisory bodies as well as a number of Islamic banks and financial institutions, professional entities and academic institutions.

#China Turns To Islamic Finance To Drive Economic Initiative

The Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road initiative, now known as One Belt One Road (OBOR), was designed in 2013 to develop economic cooperation between China and Eurasia. The Chinese government has now decided to speed up the operation of the Silk Road fund. Proposals to strengthen the cooperation of China-ASEAN Interbank Association have also been completed. Also a High Speed Rail project in China is considering using Islamic securities to raise a fund for almost 30 billion Chinese yuan (US$4.7billion). In addition, Hainan Airlines Group is planning to raise US$150 million for ship purchasing and to raise offshore Islamic securities.

IIFM and ISDA publish Islamic Foreign Exchange Forward Standards

The International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) today published two new standards for Islamic forward foreign exchange products for use in Islamic hedging transactions. The Islamic Foreign Exchange Forward (IFX Forward) is intended to help minimize the exposure of Islamic financial institutions to foreign exchange volatility. The new standard does not require the usage of the balance sheet for both counterparties in Foreign Exchange Forward hedging transactions.

#Sukuk market to witness better activity in #Oman

Several Omani private firms are keen to raise funds by way of sukuk after Mohammed Al Barwani Holding received approval for a OMR58 million-issue. The companies interested in issuing sukuk can avail tax concession if the special purpose vehicle for sukuk issue is registered in Oman and the issue is floated in the local market. Mohammed Al Barwani Holding's sukuk issue opened subscription on Monday either in Omani rial or dollar. So far, Oman witnessed only two sukuk issues that raised a total of OMR300 million, OMR50 million from real estate development firm Tilal Development Company and the other one a OMR250 million sovereign sukuk issue.

#Dubai's Emirates Islamic Bank launches $750 mln 5-yr #sukuk

Emirates Islamic Bank has launched the sale of $750 million in sukuk with five years duration. Pricing for the instrument has been set at 220 basis points over midswaps after attracting orders from investors worth more than $2.2 billion. The pricing is tighter than the 225 bps over the same benchmark indicated earlier in the day, and well inside initial guidance of the 240 bps area. The issuance was arranged by Standard Chartered, Al Hilal Bank, Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC, Maybank and Noor Bank.

Bahrain's GFH to list Khaleeji bank subsidiary in Dubai

GFH Financial Group plans to list its Bahraini subsidiary Khaleeji Commercial Bank in Dubai and acquire a financial services company to increase shareholder value. GFH's CEO Hisham al-Rayes said the company wants to regarded by investors as a financial holding company rather than an investment bank. The company aims to generate around 15% of its income over the next two years from real estate investments, which will be managed by a new Dubai-based operation called GFH Real Estate.

Islamic Development Bank invests $3.7 bln in #Egypt: official

The volume of Islamic Development Bank (IDB)'s investments in Egypt currently amounts to US$3.7 billion. The statement was made by Nazih Al-Nasser, director of asset management and advisory activities of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). He made his remarks in Cairo on Tuesday during a conference organised by the Egyptian Banking Institute, designated to focus on the role of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

IDB Group and World Bank Group Produce Global Report on Islamic Finance

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and the World Bank Group have jointly produced a global report on Islamic finance. The full report, titled 'Islamic Finance: A Catalyst for Shared Prosperity?', will be launched during the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting later this year. Some of the key recommendations include having adequate policy interventions and financial infrastructure to enable Islamic finance serve as a catalyst for poverty alleviation and inclusive prosperity.

ADNOC Distribution Signs a Fifty-year Mustaha Agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports

ADNOC Distribution and Abu Dhabi Ports signed a Mustaha agreement. The new agreement aims to strengthen ADNOC Distribution's capacity to develop new projects at Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad) and provide logistical support. The agreement was signed by Saeed Mubarak Al Rashidi, CEO of ADNOC Distribution and Mana Mohammed Saeed Al Mulla, CEO of Kizad. ADNOC Distribution will set up a lubes and grease plant, as well as strategic storage warehouses. The company will commence its operations in the new location by the beginning of 2022.

Guidance Capital Markets closes $50m #sukuk issuance for Al Bayan group

Guidance Capital Markets announced it closed a three year Sukuk issuance for the Saudi Arabian conglomerate Al Bayan. The USD denominated Sukuk was issued last week through a private placement with three GCC banks, and was led by Guidance, who also acted as financial advisor to Al Bayan. The issuance is one of the first transactions of its kind, where a private conglomerate in KSA closed a USD dollar Sukuk through a private placement.

Banks focus on cost cutting to mitigate margin pressures, asset quality issues

Banks across the #GCC are resorting to job cuts and tighter recruitment policies to trim costs. The banking sector has come under pressure following decline in economic activity resulting from reduced oil revenues. According to industry estimates UAE banks have shed nearly 1,200 jobs from the second half of last year. RAKBank has announced a cut of up to 250 jobs, Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered have also reduced their headcount.

Islamic & Christian finance: A shared heritage

Islamic and Christian finance have evolved from the same roots and a shared history. They share much in common and divergent views on interest and usury will probably remain the key difference for the near future. Like Islamic Finance, Christian Finance operates alongside modern-day conventional financial services. For example Reliance Bank in the UK avoids dealings with any company whose main source of income is derived from sales of tobacco, alcohol, gambling, pornography and armaments.

Emirates Islamic completes Murabaha on Nasdaq Dubai

Emirates Islamic Bank completed a $50 mn (Dh183 mn) Collateralised Murabaha deal with France-based Natixis on the Nasdaq Dubai. This was the largest collateralised Murabaha transaction closed by Emirates Islamic this year, and the first of its kind executed on the Nasdaq Dubai Murabaha Platform. CEO of Emirates Islamic Jamal Bin Ghalaita said the transaction sets a precedent for other financial institutions considering Sharia-compliant financing.

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