Fiscal pressures exerted by low oil price are expected to increase the role of private sector and capital markets in the financing of hundreds of billions worth of project financing in the GCC countries. Standard & Poor’s estimate that $604 billion (Dh2.2 trillion) worth of project contracts need funding through 2019. Assuming there are no further cancellations, reprioritisations, or deferrals of projects through 2019, the rating agency expects $140 billion-$160 billion in contract awards per year. The countries awarding the most projects will be Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar. Out of the projects planned and under way in 2016 of $140 billion, about 48 per cent involve real estate; oil and gas, 17 per cent; and infrastructure, 17 per cent.
The Responsible Finance Summit has announced the support of the International Shari'ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) for the Summit. The Summit, which will be hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia, will include the participation of ISRA's Executive Director Prof. Dr. Mohamad Akram Laldin, who will join a panel session on the popular perceptions about responsible finance and how Islamic finance can contribute to expanding its appeal to a wider audience. The Summit, organized by RFI Foundation and co-organized by Middle East Global Advisors, also represents a setting for ISRA to highlight its work in applied Shari'ah research on Islamic finance, particularly on ethical dimensions of Islamic finance.
The Royal Jordanian Airlines announced the successful closure of its US$ 275,000,000 dual conventional and Islamic secured syndicated facility. The syndicate comprised of seven banks based in Jordan, UAE and Qatar; they are Mashreq, Arab Bank plc, Al Khalij Commercial Bank (Al Khaliji) Q.S.C, Dubai Islamic Bank, and The Commercial Bank/Qatar acting as Mandated Lead Arrangers, Arab Jordan Investment Bank as Lead Arranger and Bank al-Etihad as Arranger. Mashreq Bank acted as the sole book-runner for the loan. The facility carries a tenor of 5 years and the proceeds of the facility will be primarily utilized to consolidate and refinance RJ's existing debt and further support the company's on-going strategic growth and turnaround plans on the short- and medium-run.
Kuwait Finance House Turkey (KFH-Turkey) issued Tier 2 capital-boosting sukuk worth $350 million to support its capital situation. The bank has set the yield at 7.9 percent for 10-year tenure. The sukuk will be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange for trading. The credit rating agency "Fitch" assigned an expected rating of BBB- to this tier 2 Basel III-complaint issue. The bank targets boosting its capital adequacy ratio so it can grow and enhance its presence in the international markets, said CEO- KFH -Capital Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Marzouq. KFH -Turkey mandated international banks and financial institutions led by KFH -Capital as a global coordinator, manager and syndicator, in addition to other lead managers and syndicators which are HSBC, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), Nour Bank, QInvest Investment Bank, Emirates NBD, and KAMCO Investment Company.
Alkhabeer Capital, an asset management and investment firm in Saudi Arabia, has announced the launch of Alkhabeer IPO Fund. The Alkhabeer IPO Fund is a Sharia Compliant, Open-Ended Investment Fund targeting IPOs and newly listed companies in Saudi Arabia during their first three years on the market. The fund may also invests part of its assets in the same at other GCC capital markets. Ahmed Saud Ghouth, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Alkhabeer Capital, commented that year-on-year the firm has reported increases in assets under management and has assessed the IPO performance of securities in the GCC, which have seen improvements in the money raised over 2015.
Only a fraction of US$11.5 trillion worth of wealth owned by Muslim individuals, institutions and government is managed by Islamic banks and financial institutions. About US$9.5 trillion remain outside the global Islamic financial services industry that has US$2 trillion asset under management, said Professor Humayon Dar, Chairman of Edbiz Corporation at the 2nd Annual International Forum on Islamic Finance in Khartoum, Sudan. Professor Humayon Dar pointed out that the missing dollars are managed by Western financial institutions. Consequently Islamic banks and financial institutions are losing potential revenue of US$180 billion on an annual basis.
Tahya Masr (Long Live Egypt) Fund, originally initiated by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to support national economy, is planning to launch a leasing firm, its executive chairman Mohamed Ashmawy said. The anticipated firm will be with a capital up to 100 million Egyptian pounds (US$13 million). The firm will help provide job opportunities for the youth. Since the fund was initiated in 2014, individuals and businessmen have contributed billions of Egyptian pounds to the fund. The fund's executive committee encompasses leading businessmen like Naguib Sawiris, former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa and a representative from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
As Italy's demand for mini-bonds grows, Nctm Studio Legale (Nctm), a law firm, has hired Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) to help it structure an Islamic Bond. Under the agreement, SRB will collaborate with Nctm to help structure and certify the mini-bonds in light of Sharia guidelines. Shariyah Review Bureau team has many years of experience in a range of industries, specializing in Investment Funds, banking, insurance, agriculture, and Asset Management. The demand for their services has quadrupled over the years with 2015 being the most eventful year. SRB expects this Islamic bond to open new venues of connecting capital with businesses in Italy and also help provide new opportunities to the SME sector.
The Thomson Reuters Global Sukuk Index was last at 116.20589 points, down from 116.97354 at the end of last year. The Thomson Reuters Investment Grade Sukuk Index is at 114.17065 points against 115.21206 at end-2015. Some of the sukuk in the pipeline are: Kuwait Finance House is studying the issuance of sukuk to boost its capital reserves, its chief executive said. Indonesia's government has appointed CIMB , Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered for an offer of U.S. dollar sukuk. The chief executive of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp said in late January that the company was studying means of finance including sukuk.The government of Qatar is in talks with banks about a sovereign sukuk issue as soon as March or April.
Bahrain-based Ibdar Bank has announced that it has made a £8 million investment in a prime new residential project. Angel Gardens, consisting of residential 458-apartments and a total development value of £124 million, forms part of the wider NOMA re-development project aimed at transforming Manchester city centre. The development is being funded through a combination of equity invested by Ibdar and other co-investors and senior debt to be obtained from one of the Banks. Forecasts indicate an expected income return through operations starting at 9.1% on stabilized income, rising to 10.8% per annum after three years of stabilised operations and a targeted IRR of +15% over a five year investment period.
Hosted by Operation HOPE in January in Atlanta (Georgia, USA), the 2016 Hope Global Forums Annual Meeting convened to Reimagine the Global Economy with a focus on 'Inclusive Economics'. Setting forth a goal to outline a solid vision for today's global economy, the meeting connected global leaders and Nobel Prize winners with government officials and the private sector. Leading the efforts to deliver youth financial literacy in the region with the Riyali financial literacy program, SEDCO Holding Group participated in this fourth edition of the Hope Global Forums. The three-day Annual Meeting topics covered the new and modern global economy, and demonstrated how community can serve as a call to action to inspire innovation and thought leadership to achieve economic growth and financial stability.
Emirates Islamic has announced its full-year financial results for 2015, with the bank reporting strong growth for the fourth consecutive year. For the twelve months ending December 31, 2015, the bank reported a net profit of AED 641 million, a 76 per cent year-on-year increase. The bank's total net income (net of customers' share of profit) during the period rose to AED 2.43 billion, up 25 percent compared to AED 1.95 billion in 2014. The bank recently launched the ISLAMIC BANKING INDEX by EMIRATES ISLAMIC™, a consumer focused survey on Islamic Banking in the UAE. In addition, Emirates Islamic introduced EI Trade, a customised Shari'a-compliant online trade and supply chain platform for its business and corporate customers.
Bahrain-based Ibdar Bank has announced the successful exit from four Bahrain-based real estate investments for a total value of USD 21.67 million. The first two exits consist of the sale of two 11-story buildings acquired by the Bank for total consideration of USD12.07 million. The first is a 64-apartment fully furnished building located in Manama and the other consists of 38-fully furnished apartments in Busaiteen. The other two exits consist of the sale of the Bank's affiliate company's 11-story and 10-story properties located in the popular Juffair area. The properties consist of 83 fully furnished apartments in total and supporting convenience, leisure and parking facilities, which were sold for a total consideration of USD9.6 million.
Despite prominence in economic activity, SMEs face a funding challenge. November 2014 figures from Souqalmal.com showed that a mere 28% of respondents had resorted to bank financing, while a full 31% were self-funded. This is a gap that Islamic finance offerings can address. Despite this obvious synergy, Islamic finance is still gearing up to effectively service SME needs regionally. The first challenge is one of volume: there are simply not enough Shariah-compliant banks around. This has a chilling effect on SME financing, particularly in those countries where local SMEs won't consider non-Islamic finance. However, the picture is changing for the better as Islamic finance becomes mainstream and is supported by better regulation.
Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has invited banks to pitch for roles in arranging a potential dollar-denominated sukuk, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The AAA-rated IDB is planning a benchmark-sized sukuk offering in the first quarter. IDB was not immediately available for comment. IDB, which last issued a $1 billion five-year Islamic bond in March, is looking to increase its issuance of sukuk, partly to raise its profile among international investors and to secure similar pricing levels to other development banks.
Islamic finance is still not viewed as a viable career option by many college bound students. Neither is it offered at many colleges, especially in the Middle East. Over the last decade, the industry has witnessed impressive growth, but there has not been a corresponding increase in the education in terms of the availability of expertise. Many of the programs have addressed the academic need in terms of providing Bachelors- Masters and PhD programs. The investor, however, needs more. There is only a small group in the Islamic world that is interested in academic accreditation of that sort. The larger majority however, demand professional certifications.
Hogan Lovells has advised the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), as arranger, on the inaugural CFA150 Billion sukuk offering by the Government of Côte d'Ivoire. The sukuk is an amortising sukuk al-ijara and is targeted at local banks and institutional investors. It mirrors the successful Senegal sukuk that Hogan Lovells advised on in 2014. Hogan Lovells' team was led by Global Head of Islamic Finance, Rahail Ali and Partner Imran Mufti. They were assisted by Partner Baptiste Gelpi, International Debt Capital Markets, Paris and Lina Bugaighis, Dubai. Hogan Lovells is an international legal practice that includes Hogan Lovells International LLP, Hogan Lovells US LLP and their affiliated businesses.
Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) has announced that Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) has assigned national scale investment grade credit ratings of 'A- (SD)/A-2 (SD)' (A Minus/A Two) to Al Baraka Bank Sudan (ABBS or 'the bank'), its majority owned subsidiary in Sudan operating since 1984. Outlook on the assigned rating is 'Stable'. IIRA observed that ABBS maintains sizable liquid reserves, with solid liquidity and that asset quality indicators have improved and are better than the banking sector average. The bank achieved a general improvement in profitability, driven by consistent increase in gross revenue supported by low cost of deposit funding. The rating has taken into account the various economic and financial challenges faced by banks in Sudan.
Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) has assigned national scale credit ratings of 'A- (SD)/A-2 (SD)' (Single A Minus/A Two) to Al Baraka Bank Sudan (ABS). Outlook on the assigned rating is 'Stable'. Ratings derive strength from the bank's franchise and an overall conservative approach to business. Its retail presence in Sudan, is reflected in a cost effective deposit base. Ratings take into account the various economic and financial challenges faced by banks in Sudan. ABS derives strategic guidance from its parent's international experience and established banking processes and systems. The fiduciary score has been assessed in the range of '71-75', whereby rights of various stakeholders are adequately defined.
The Thomson Reuters Global Sukuk Index closed last month at 117.01353, up from 115.79726 at the end of 2014. The Thomson Reuters Investment Grade Sukuk Index is at 115.29446 points against 113.69014 at end-2014. Some of the sukuk in the pipeline are: Samalaju Industrial Port proposed a sukuk murabaha programme of up to 950 million ringgit ($221 million). Singapore's Vallianz Holdings said in mid-December that a subsidiary would refinance loans with a Saudi riyal-denominated sukuk issue of up to 1.1 billion riyals ($293 million). Malaysia's Wego Sdn Bhd proposed a sukuk musharaka issue of up to 210 million ringgit. Qatar's Barwa Bank listed a $2 billion Islamic bond programme on the Irish Stock Exchange, taking it a step closer to tapping the sukuk market for the first time.