United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Islamic insurers need to focus on profitable lines

The overall profitability of Takaful industry is under strain largely because the industry has yet to break into some of the most profitable lines of business that are dominated by conventional payers, according to rating agency Standard & Poor’s.
“In our view, the takaful sector is underperforming, especially in the UAE, because it lacks the advantages of conventional insurers, which are often larger and benefit from better economies of scale. They have more-established distribution mechanisms and so their revenue generation is less dependent on intermediaries,” said Emir Mujkic, Associate Director, Finance Services of Standard & Poor’s.
The crowded UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council insurance markets often suffer from overcapacity, which can often trigger aggressive price wars. “In our opinion, Islamic insurance companies require considerable capital investment to become established, yet relatively new companies often come under pressure to generate profits and deliver healthy returns to their investors,” said Mujkic.

Emaar Properties mandates banks for US dollar #Sukuk

Emaar Properties has mandated Standard Chartered Bank as Sole Global Coordinator of its new US dollar Sukuk. Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, First Gulf Bank, Mashreq, National Bank of Aub Dhabi, Noor Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Union National Bank are mandated as Joint Lead Managers to arrange investor meetings in Asia, the Middle East and Europe commencing on 4 September 2016. USD 2 billion Trust Certificate Issuance Programme may follow subject to market conditions. FCA/ICMA stabilization applies.

Dubai's Emirates Islamic Bank prices $250m #sukuk tap

Dubai-based Emirates Islamic Bank has priced a $250 million tap of an existing Islamic bond issued in May. The tap was priced at 170 basis points over midswaps, the order book was worth $706 million. The 'new' deal is a copy of an existing bond with the same terms and conditions. Emirates Islamic's tap came off a $750 million five-year sukuk issued on May 23. That deal was priced at 220 bps over midswaps and carried a coupon of 3.542 percent. Chief Executive Jamal bin Ghalaita said the cash would support the bank's long-term growth and development plans. The new offering was arranged by Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, EMCAP and Standard Chartered.

Emirates NBD's Islamic arm cuts over 100 jobs - sources

Emirates Islamic, the sharia-compliant arm of Dubai's largest bank Emirates NBD (ENBD), has laid off more than 100 people to adjust to a cooler economy. Growth in much of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has slowed this year because of low oil prices. Earlier this year, Emirates Islamic cut around 200 jobs. Most of the latest jobs to go were in the department servicing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Chief Executive Shayne Nelson said the bank continued to focus on cost control. The bank had already made cuts in April when it made around 100 people redundant from its subsidiary Emirates Money to save costs. National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah said in January it would cut up to 250 jobs, while Abu Dhabi-based First Gulf Bank and the UAE operations of HSBC have reduced their headcounts since late 2015.

Sharjah Islamic Bank plans benchmark dollar #sukuk issue

Sharjah Islamic Bank will begin investor meetings on Aug. 29 for a potential benchmark U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk issue. The meetings will be held in Asia and Europe and the issue would be subject to market conditions. Bank ABC, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, HSBC, KFH Capital, Maybank, Noor Bank, QNB Capital and Standard Chartered will arrange the meetings.

Fitch: Index move boosts #sukuk; frameworks & standards still key

According to Fitch Ratings the inclusion of sukuk in major bond indexes would be a significant boost for the product, but initiatives to harmonise standards and improve transparency remain key to its long-term development. Reuters reported that JP Morgan would include eight sovereign and corporate sukuk in various bond indexes from 31 October. This may encourage issuers to supply index-eligible sukuk and support secondary market liquidity. However, Fitch Ratings believes the sukuk market's growth rate will be determined by two factors. Firstly, product-specific initiatives around regulation of sukuk issuance, which have been noteable in some jurisdictions, but have not always been harmonised across jurisdictions. Secondly, the broader attempts to deepen the investor base and improve transparency in the relevant capital markets. Sukuk issuance from key markets in 1H16 rose 11% from a year earlier to USD21.74bn, representing 30% of total issuance. Overall, Fitch expects this year's sukuk issuance to at least match 2015 issuance of around USD32bn.

Nakheel confirms talks to tap new funds

Having cleared all of its historical debts, Nakheel confirmed talks are on with banks to tap 'cheap' funds for its ongoing and future projects. But there is no intention to seek such funds through another sukuk or via a share offer. Nakheel is now completely off debts, having paid off Dh4.4 billion to trade creditors via a sukuk. It had in 2014 paid off Dh7.9 billion to its banking lenders, four years before they were due. Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said he is hopeful of netting a new funding agreement before the year end. The funds can come in handy with Nakheel’s existing roster of projects. This includes a mega-mall, with an estimated development cost of Dh4 billion plus.

National Bonds website now offers up-to-date financial planning advice

#UAE based National Bonds has started providing financial planning tips and tools via its website. The new financial planning section offers valuable information in both Arabic and English to help customers achieve their financial objectives. Topics cover planning for retirement and children’s education, debt management, investment solutions, takaful and estate planning. In addition, the website offers practical financial planning tips on goal setting, cash management and budgeting, financial health, and the rule of 72. The portal also includes online calculators for accurately computing expenses, commitments and budgets. Mohammed Qasim Al-Ali, CEO of National Bonds, said the new online tool will save time and effort for those looking for simple and straightforward financial planning.

Al Hilal Bank’s new CIO looks to collaborate with #fintechs

Al Hilal Bank's new CIO Gopi Krishnan is calling on fintech CEOs to get in touch and collaborate. Krishnan moves from another regional bank, Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB), where he was CIO since 2012. Prior to that, he was with BankMuscat International as programme director in charge of transformation, enterprise project management office and group integration. Al Hilal Bank offers Islamic banking services in the retail, corporate, wholesale, treasury and investment segments. Its core operations are underpinned by the T24 banking platform supplied by Temenos.

#Australian Islamic Finance Juggernaut Moving Forward with Middle-East #Expansion

Equitable Financial Solutions (EFSOL), Australia's largest, international Islamic finance company has announced the establishment of its Dubai office at Emirates Towers. EFSOL is actively pursuing its Middle-East expansion strategy, following the successful establishment of its ASEAN office based in Singapore. Usman Siddiqui, Managing Director of EFSOL said the new Dubai office will give investors access to the company's superior products and returns. He is confident that the EFSOL team will boost their financial products' offerings in key areas of Islamic finance.

Dubai Islamic Bank rights issue is credit positive, says Moody's

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) closed an approximately AED 3.2 bn ($860 mn) rights issue, thereby increasing the bank’s share capital to AED 4.9 bn from AED 3.9 bn as of March 2016. According to Moody's this capital increase is credit positive for DIB because it replenishes reserves and enhances loss-absorption. Moody’s estimates that DIB’s consolidated tangible common equity to risk-weighed-assets ratio will improve to around 12.3% from 9.8% as of March 2016. The new capital will also increase the bank’s reported Tier 1 capital ratio to 18.1% from 15.6%. The additional capital will support the bank’s solvency in the context of continued balance sheet expansion.

Ramadan #Sukuk deal flow as tightest spread for a year issued by #Qatari Bank’s $750m print

A Riyal denominated Sukuk has been issued by the Saudi International Petrochemical Company. The company announced the successful completion of the issuance amounting to SAR 1.0 bn on June 16, 2016. The Sukuk was priced at 235 bps over six months SAIBOR for tenor of five years maturing on June 16, 2021. Riyadh Capital and NCB Capital helped to arrange the private issuance.
In the hard currency space, the Commercial Bank of Qatar issued a Eurobond which achieved the tightest spread for a MENA financial institution this year, conventional or Sukuk.
Whilst the issuance was not a Sukuk, demand for bond indicates strong investor appetite, a good sign of market demand which is likely to be tested with several large planned issuances post Ramadan. Most eagerly anticipated is a potential sovereign issuance by Saudi Arabia, as well as by Aramco, the Saudi national oil giant.

Conyers advises DP World on the establishment of $3bn #sukuk program

Conyers advised DP World on the recent establishment of a sukuk program comprising up to US$3 billion of sukuk certificates to be listed on the Nasdaq Dubai, as well as the successful first drawdown of US$1.2 billion thereunder. Linklaters advised the joint lead managers and bookrunners, who included Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Emirates NBD, First Gulf Bank, J.P. Morgan Securities, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Société Générale. Fawaz Elmalki and Oliver J. Simpson of Conyers’ Dubai office advised on the matter.

Al Hilal Bank raises private placement funding $225 Million

Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank acquired $225MM RegS floating rate note Sukuk at 3mL+160bps under its $2.5 billion existing Trust Certificate Issuance Program. This trade marks the return to senior unsecured dollar Sukuk market since 2013 by an Abu Dhabi financial institution. CEO of Al Hilal Bank, Khaled Abdulla Alkhoori, said this was the first Islamic private placement in the UAE. The bank aims to work towards raising funding for medium term to enhance its funding profile.

#Dubai’s Meydan raises Dhs 1bn Islamic financing

Dubai’s Meydan Group has obtained Dhs 1bn ($272m) of Islamic financing partly through an issue of Islamic bonds and partly from a term financing facility. The money will help to strengthen Meydan’s capital structure, diversify its investor base and support new projects. Despite the regional economic slowdown Dubai is continuing to invest heavily in its tourism and real estate industries. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank coordinated and structured Meydan’s financing. Three other UAE banks – Al Hilal Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Ajman Bank – were also involved.

Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank raises $225 mln in #sukuk placement

Abu Dhabi government-owned Al Hilal Bank has raised $225 million by privately placing Islamic bonds. The issue, maturing in January 2019, was priced at the three-month London interbank offered rate plus 160 basis points. It was the first unsecured U.S. dollar sukuk issue by an Abu Dhabi bank since 2013. CEO Khaled Abdulla Alkhoori said the bank aims to work towards raising funding for the medium term to enhance their funding profile. The issue was the second tranche of the bank's $2.5 billion notes programme. In the first tranche, Al Hilal raised $500 million of five-year debt in 2013.

Emirates Islamic Bank donates more than Dh2m to inmates

Emirates Islamic Bank has made two donations of Dh2 million and Dh50,000 to inmates of Dubai Police’s Punitive and Correctional Establishments. The Dh2 million was allocated from the Zakat accounts to help inmates who are incarcerated for financial issues. The other donation, that of Dh50,000, was allocated from the charity accounts to pay for plane tickets for needy inmates.

#Dubai Islamic Bank set to open $860m rights issue

Dubai Islamic Bank is opening subscriptions on Tuesday for a 3.16 bn dirham ($860.3 mn) rights issue. The bank is offering 988.4 mn new shares to shareholders in total, with subscription open on the basis of one new share for every four currently held. Shares are priced at 3.2 dirhams each, a substantial discount to Monday's closing share price of 4.95 dirhams. DIB is the latest bank in the Gulf to replenish reserves after a period of strong lending growth. At the end of March DIB's total capital adequacy ratio stood at 15.6%, above the UAE's regulatory minimum of 12%.

ADFG and Bahrain’s GFH to launch Islamic bank in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) and Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group are jointly setting up an Islamic bank in Abu Dhabi’s new financial free zone with initial capital of $100 mn. ADFG's CEO Jassim Al Seddiqi said the bank will open very soon, it will be run as a commercial bank accepting offshore deposits and dealing in dollars. ADFG has recently raised its stake in GFH to 11.74% from 10% and the two firms are seeking other joint opportunities for the future.

#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.

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