Saudi Arabia

Saudi civil aviation authority mulls sukuk issue

Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority is eyeing sale of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, in several tranches to finance a modernisation of the kingdom’s airports.

Saudi Arabia top aid giver

Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of countries that offer humanitarian aid to calamity-hit people across the world.
The Kingdom offered 1.9 percent of its national income last year in humanitarian aid and relief assistance to people suffering from calamities and crises across the world.
Minister of Higher Education Khaled Al-Anqari opened the conference on Sunday on behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
The event has been organized by Madinah Islamic University in collaboration with the King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives (KAFRA).

Global Islamic Assets May Hit $700B By Yr End; GCC Leads -Report

Total assets of lslamic banks globally is expected to hit $700 billion, out of which two thirds is in the Arab Gulf region.
Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank is the biggest Islamic lender in the region, holding assets of $48.41 billion, followed by Kuwait Finance House at $41.57 billion.

Palestinians Lure Banks With First Sukuk Bills

The Palestinian central bank is attracting local banks to its first sale of Islamic bills.
Palestine Islamic Bank will submit a bid for as much as $10 million, and Arab Islamic Bank said it probably will participate.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is seeking to expand Islamic finance to reduce reliance on aid from the U.S., Europe, Saudi Arabia and others as the territory starts building institutions for a future state.

Moody's downgrades Dar Al-Arkan ratings to Ba3, outlook stable (Saudi Arabia)

Moody's Investors Service has today downgraded the Ba2 ratings for Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Company, Saudi Joint Stock Company , Dar Al-Arkan International Sukuk Company II and the US$450 million USD Certificates ("sukuk") to Ba3. The outlook is stable.
The reason is a combination of:
(1) DAAR's weaker than anticipated operating performance continuing in the third quarter of 2010 attributed to lower land sales, resulting in a departure from Moody's original expectations where land sales are an important part of the funding mix;
(2) DAAR's weaker than anticipated financial metrics, such as Moody's adjusted debt to book capitalisation (LTM 35.3% per end of September 2010), or FFO/Debt (LTM 18.4% per end of September 2010) which are not in alignment with Moody's guidelines for the Ba2 rating category;
and (3) the negative free cash flows DAAR has generated over the first nine months of 2010

Mideast banks tap women's wealth

Emirati housewife Sarah Alzarouni brushed past a group of women clad in floor-length black robes, some with only their eyes showing, to enter through the frosted doors of one of Dubai Islamic Bank’s women-only branches.
Clutching a Louis Vuitton bag to match her designer head scarf, Ms. Alzarouni greeted the female tellers and bank manager with three kisses on the cheek and sat down to do business.
Financial institutions in the conservative Gulf Arab region, where many women are reluctant to mix with men outside their families, are tapping into the niche, with women-only bank branches and investment funds mushrooming.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam where unrelated men and women are not allowed to mix, is leading the charge.
Industry experts say more women need to participate in the Islamic banking industry at senior levels to help grow products that appeal to a female clientele. But while the finance industry remains a boys club around the world, the glass ceiling is lower in the Middle East.

Saudi needs 150,000 housing units a year: LaSalle

Saudi Arabia needs 150,000 housing units annually as demand for residential property is soaring, while a long-awaited mortgage law will not solve the top oil exporter's housing problem.
Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, is facing a massive housing problem due to rapid population growth and an inflow of expatriate workers coming to the kingdom rolling out a $400 billion infrastructure spending plan.
In addition, the country has only a small secondary real estate market, and land prices are higher than in other Gulf Arab states.
Rentals prices for residential housing units would keep rising by some 10 percent annually like in previous years. Saudi Arabia has been working for years on a mortgage law but Harris said the bill, if finally approved, would not solve the problem as there was not sufficient land available for sale and few experienced real estate developers operating.

Saudi sukuks seen doubling next year, says Saudi Hollandi

Saudi firms may launch 10 Islamic bonds, or sukuk, in 2011, more than double their number this year, but they will be dominated by private placements.
Key factors that will spur demand for Saudi sukuk issues will be a low interest rate environment in Saudi and Dubai World's restructuring accord with 99 percent of its bank lenders as well as Dubai's successful $1.25bn conventional bond issue in late September.
Saudi Arabia has had four sukuk issues this year so far, Nisar said, but declined to comment on the expected size of issues and only cited Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and an Aramco-Total joint-venture as being among the prospective issuers.
The interest rate environment in Saudi Arabia -- the main repo interest rate stands at two percent -- might seem discouraging for prospective sukuk buyers.

Sukuk advance to record on thirst for yield: Islamic finance

Global Islamic bonds are poised to extend gains after climbing to a record this week, buoyed by Asian economic growth and a pickup in Persian Gulf issuance.
Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, the government run utility, sold $2 billion of non-Islamic senior unsecured debt yesterday in its largest dollar denominated bond sale.
Islamic Development Bank, a Jeddah based multilateral lender, plans to sell $1 billion of bonds this quarter under a $3.5 billion sukuk program, Vice President Abdul Aziz Al Hinai said August 24. Saudi Arabian Oil Co, based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and Total SA, based in Paris, plan to sell $1 billion in sukuk this year, Simon Eedle, global head of Islamic banking at Credit Agricole SA, the lead arranger of the sale.

Al Rajhi Capital launches Luxembourg Fund for investment in Saudi Arabia equity market

Al Rajhi Capital, the investment-banking subsidiary of Al Rajhi Bank and a leading asset manager in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced the launch of the Al Rajhi Saudi Equity Fund, a Specialized Investment Fund (SIF) established under Luxembourg law.
Al Rajhi Capital Company is the independent, wholly owned investment subsidiary of Al Rajhi Bank, the world's largest Islamic bank and the largest commercial bank in the GCC region in terms of market capitalization.

GCC Islamic banking sector grows at 20% per annum representing 17% of banking system total assets, reveals KFH Research report

The report pointed out that Kuwait ranked first among the GCC countries in terms Islamic banks assets to total banking assets, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE have risen among the countries that promote Islamic finance products and services. It added that there are many opportunities still available for Islamic finance solutions in the region where real estate finance tops other areas of interest prevalent in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The existence of financial centers in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, as well as a number of Islamic finance organizations such as the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, Liquidity Management Centre, and the International Islamic Financial Market will continue to attract new players to the region and further propel the Islamic banking industry to greater heights.

Over 90 percent HNWIs in the GCC don’t want retirement: Report

With high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in the GCC are seen as the most active in management their wealth during later life, over 90 percent reject the idea of getting retire, according to Barclays Wealth latest Insights report.
The report titled The Age Illusion: How the Wealthy are Redefining Their Retirement is the twelfth in the Barclays Wealth Insights series, shows that HNWIs in Saudi Arabia (92 percent), United Arab Emirates (91 percent) and Qatar (89 percent) illustrated the biggest desire amongst global respondents to keep working in later life. According to the findings of the report the retirement is being rejected by a new breed of wealthy worker, who want to carry on working for as long as they are able.

Sharia platform created

Allfunds Bank, the business-to-business fund platform, has launched an Islamic Services Unit to comply with Sharia principles. The company, jointly owned by the Santander and Intesa Sanpaolo groups, offers over 80 sharia-compliant funds from asset management firms based in Luxembourg, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The unit has a fatwa endorsed by the Sharia'h Board of Amanie Dubai, a specialist Islamic consultancy firm, making it the first sharia-compliant platform.
Allfunds said its clients would have direct access to the largest available range of Islamic funds and it would take further opportunities to expand the service, such as setting up a dedicated website for the sector.

Premier Saudi Investment Firm Upgrades to Advent's Integrated Solution

Advent Software, Inc. a leading provider of software and services for the global investment management industry, today announced that Jadwa Investment has selected Advent Portfolio Exchange(R) (APX), Advent's portfolio and client relationship management solution, and Advent Tradex(TM), a fund order management solution to streamline operations and support client service capabilities. Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment is a leading investment house in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and among the Kingdom's largest by assets under management.
The firm is a pioneer in the field of Shariah-compliant investment services, developing innovative and market-leading investment and financial products tailored to the needs of individual, corporate and institutional clients. Jadwa Investment offers a breadth of investment services for clients including dealing, investment management, custody, and advisory services.

Takaful the fastest growing segment in Saudi insurance

According to the research report Saudi Arabia Insurance Market to 2012 from market research and analytical consultancy RNCOS , Takaful is the fastest growing segments of the Saudi Arabian insurance industry. RNCOS says that protection and savings and health insurance are the fastest growing insurance lines in Saudi Arabia, with health insurance accounted for around 50 per cent of the overall insurance market at the end of 2009. The most recent introduction of compulsory health insurance for private employees, irrespective of the size of the company they are working with, will further boost the health insurance market in the country. The general insurance category has shown substantial growth despite being heavily hit by the financial crisis.

Solidarity names Bseisu group chief executive

The Solidarity Group Holding board has appointed of Ashraf Bseisu as group chief executive officer. Mr Bseisu is a long-standing Solidarity executive and a prominent member of the region's insurance industry. Solidarity Group Holding, one of the largest takaful companies in the world, includes the Solidarity Family Takaful Company and Solidarity General Takaful Company in Bahrain as well as subsidiaries and associates in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia and Luxembourg. Mr Bseisu is currently Bahrain Insurance Association chairman and the General Arab Insurance Federation vice-president. He has been with Solidarity since his appointment as general manager - finance and corporate management in July 2006 and has held several senior posts within the organisation. He has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance and financial services sector, where he held several executive positions.

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