Alkhabeer Capital unveils IPO Fund

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.

US$9.5 trillion of Muslims Wealth Remain Outside the Global Islamic Financial Industry

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.

Sisi's fund to establish $13 million leasing firm

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.

Italy's Islamic Bond: Nctm seeks to open a window of opportunities for Italian SME's

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.

SUKUK PIPELINE - Issue plans around the world

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.

Ibdar makes £8 million investment in prime new Manchester city centre development

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.

SEDCO Holding Group Addresses Youth Financial Inclusion at the 2016 Hope Global Forums in Atlanta

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 net profit up 76 per cent in 2015

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.

Ibdar announces exit from four Bahrain-based real estate investments for USD21.67 million

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.

How Islamic finance plugs SME fund gap

Despite prominence in economic activity, SMEs face a funding challenge. November 2014 figures from 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.

Islamic Development Bank in talks for Q1 sukuk issue - sources

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.

An Education on: The Harmonization of the Islamic Economy

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 advises on debut sukuk for the government of cote d'ivoire

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.

Islamic International Rating Agency Assigns National Scale Investment Grade Ratings for Al Baraka Bank Sudan (ABBS), a majority owned subsidiary of Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG)

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.

IIRA assigns Fiduciary Ratings to Al Baraka Bank 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.

SUKUK PIPELINE - Issue plans around the world

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.

The IFSB Introduces FIS E-Learning Portal to Facilitate Understanding of the IFSB Standards

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) introduced the FIS E-Learning Portal. The portal provides both IFSB members and non-member organisations a learning and knowledge management suite with a number of interactive features that will assist in developing and enhancing knowledge as well as understanding of IFSB standards. The E-modules will cover seven standards which have been transformed into a total of 14 E-Learning modules with a collective seat time of 15 hours. The modules are available by subscription. As an extension of the IFSB membership benefits, a certain number of complimentary subscriptions are made available to organisations from the various categories of IFSB membership.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM) intend to strengthen the cooperation to serve the development of the Islamic finance industry

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM). The purpose of the MoU is to establish and implement a framework for the cooperation between the two parties for contribution to economic development and financial inclusiveness in the Asian and African region, and in so doing to enhance the ability of both organisations to achieve their respective objectives and mandates. The MoU was signed by Mr. Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the ICD, and Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, Chief Executive Officer of the IILM.

Free Falling: Falling Oil Prices and the GCC

The collapse in the price of oil, which began in June 2014, came as a surprise to industry analysts and insiders. They were quick to place blame on OPEC, for its perceived high production, and on China for slowing demand. The truth includes some of these elements but it is not the entire story. Much of the blame for the fall in the price of oil can be traced back to the U.S. Federal Reserve and financialization of the market. Shale producers are now stuck. Many were not profitable at $100 per barrel and are now faced with bankruptcy unless they can continue to refinance their debt and get new funding, which is highly unlikely at this stage.

IDB Group President underlines financing and capacity building to preserve climate

President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, led a high-level delegation to the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)'s 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21)" underway in Paris, France. Addressing a side event dubbed: "Climate Change: Financing and Capacity Building Challenges", Dr. Ali expressed his pleasure to see 51 of IDB Group member countries amongst the more than 180 countries had submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). The IDB Group President, stated that financing and capacity building featured prominently in the INDCs as two major areas for preserving environment.

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