Saudi Arabia

Windfall for startups? #Saudi Arabia backs new $100 billion tech #fund

Saudi Arabia is joining forces with Japanese telecom firm Softbank (SFTBF) to form a tech investment fund worth as much as $100 billion, making it one of the largest on the planet. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said that over the next decade the fund would be the biggest investor in the technology sector. Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund will put up as much as $45 billion of the money, with Softbank throwing in at least $25 billion. Neither partner appears to be deterred by warnings of potential bubbles in the valuations of big startups and established tech companies in the US. Funding for startups has also plunged recently in India. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced an ambitious plan to create a huge sovereign wealth fund that would be worth 7 trillion riyals ($1.9 trillion) by 2030, which would make it by far the biggest in the world.

Al Rajhi Capital raises $155mln for European Real Estate Fund

Al Rajhi Capital has announced the closing of a private placement subscription for the Al Rajhi European Real Estate Fund after raising SR581 million ($155 million) in equity. The five-year closed-ended fund will invest in income generating properties, such as warehouses occupied by solid tenants with long-term leases. The main geographic focus of the fund will be Western Europe. Gaurav Shah, CEO of Al Rajhi Capital, said that this fund marked the commencement of the global expansion of the company's real estate investment platform. Al Rajhi Capital has managed over $1 billion in transactions across the logistics and community retail space and recently successfully exited a $360 million fund focused on investing in KSA and UAE logistics.

SEDCO Capital’s second real estate income fund acquires new properties

SEDCO Capital announced the acquisition of seven real estate assets over the past 19 months, bolstering the firm’s realty portfolio in Saudi Arabia. The purchased assets include the Hyper Panda retail in Dammam, Olya School in Riyadh, Dar Al Baraa School in Riyadh, an Extra Store in Dammam, Alhamra Plaza retail strip outlet in Riyadh and Irgah Plaza retail strip outlet in Riyadh. The acquisitions collectively total SR473 million in purchase price for approximately 88,000 sqm of built up area. According to Hasan Al-Jabri, CEO of SEDCO Capital, the total assets under management reach the $5.2 billion mark and clearly show clients' confidence in SEDCO.

#Saudi asks banks to reschedule consumer loans

Saudi Arabia’s central bank has asked local banks to reschedule consumer loans after the government cut bonuses and other financial perks for public sector workers. The cabinet announced this week that it would slash ministers’ salaries by 20% and reduce a range of allowances for public employees. In addition, the government said it would base salary payments on the Western calendar rather than the Islamic calendar; since the latter is about 11 days shorter. This is expected to reduce income further. Banks are currently negotiating with the central bank to be allowed to deduct up to 40% of customers’ salary payments to service their consumer loans, instead of the 33% currently permitted. If the central bank declines, banks will discuss raising interest rates on the loans.

#Qatar-backed fund seeks to improve lives in Muslim countries

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) was officially launched on Thursday. It was first announced two years ago by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and is now supported by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The decision-making body approved projects worth $363mn for the first of the five years that the fund will be operational. These projects will be primarily in the Middle East and several Islamic and African countries. The funds will be used to protect communities from the risk of malaria and HIV/Aids, increase access to water and primary healthcare, and empower poor farmers to grow more food. Administered by the IsDB, the fund combines $2bn of IsDB financing with $500mn in grants from donors.

#Saudi banks’ liquidity comfortable in spite of outflows, says Fitch

According to a recent Fitch Ratings report, major Saudi banks continue to report liquidity coverage ratios (LCRs) above 100% despite a 30% outflow of government-related deposits. The banks’ ability to withstand such a shock demonstrates that their liquidity positions are resilient. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) released $5.3 billion (20 billion Saudi riyals) of government-related deposits into the banking sector yesterday. According to Fitch Ratings, Saudi banks will continue to adopt careful liquidity management strategies in order to protect their LCRs from falling below current levels.

#GCC’s Islamic banks have stronger liquidity profiles

Retail-focused Islamic banks in GCC countries have strong liquidity coverage ratios (LCRs) due to their large base of core retail customer deposits and low reliance on market-sensitive wholesale funding. According to Moody’s, retail deposits in 2015 comprised around 67% of Islamic banks’ customer deposits for the three GCC countries, compared to 40 for conventional banks. Islamic banks in GCC countries have become systemically important and continue to increase their market penetration, outpacing conventional banks. Sustained lower oil prices continue to reduce the flow of deposits and could lead to a gradual weakening of the LCR metrics for both Islamic and conventional banks.

Gulf sukuk issuance forecast to remain stagnant for months

Corporate and infrastructure sukuk issuance in the Gulf region and Malaysia has continued to stagnate so far this year and this may carry over to the coming quarters, according to S&P Global Ratings. Despite the slump, essential infrastructure funding requirements, low interest rates, and investors' appetite for Islamic assets in their portfolios continue to be supportive for the world's core corporate sukuk markets.

In the GCC, corporate and infrastructure sukuk issuance totalled $2.5 billion in the first eight months of 2016, compared with $2.3 billion for the preceding eight months. Versus the same periods in 2013 and 2014, issues are down sharply from $5 and $6.5 billion, respectively, S&P said.
"Further out, we see possible brighter prospects for issuing corporate and infrastructure sukuk over the medium to long term. We estimate that Gulf government spending on projects alone - including infrastructure contracts awarded over 2016-2019 - could be about $330 billion," said S&P Global Ratings analyst Karim Nassif.

LCRs of Islamic lenders in Qatar comparable to conventional peers

Qatari Islamic banks’ short-term high quality liquidity assets to cover monthly net cash outflow is comparable to those of their conventional peers and their funding pressures are to some extent mitigated by frequent bonds and sukuks issuance by the government, according to Moody’s, a global credit rating agency.

“In Qatar, the LCRs (liquidity coverage ratios) of Islamic banks are comparable to those of their conventional peers. This situation reflects the absence of sizable retail deposit franchises among the Qatari banks, coupled with heightened systemic liquidity pressures that had led to banks relying more heavily on market funding,” Moody’s said in a report. The funding pressures are mitigated somewhat by the frequent issuance of bonds and sukuk by the Qatari sovereign, a situation, which provides local Islamic banks with the same good access to HQLAs (high quality liquid assets) as their conventional peers, it said.
The rating agency found that five of the six GCC countries are Basel III compliant and have introduced LCRs, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman; only the UAE has yet to adopt a LCR framework for its banks.

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.

King Abdullah Port secures $720m Islamic loan for planned expansion

King Abdullah Port (KAP) will add new terminals after securing a $720m Islamic bank loan to finance the planned second phase development of Saudi Arabia’s first fully privately owned port. The strategically positioned Red Sea port unveiled the SAR 2.7bn ($720m) murabaha facility, with a tenure of 14 years, from Arab National Bank and Saudi Arabia British Bank. KAP has quickly established itself as a serious alternative to historic Jeddah Islamic Port which previously handled the bulk of Saudi Arabia’s cargo. Once complete, KAP will be able to handle 20m teu, 1.5m vehicles and 15 million tons of clean bulk cargo annually.

Source: 

http://www.seatrade-maritime.com/news/middle-east-africa/king-abdullah-port-secures-$720m-islamic-loan-for-planned-expansion.html

Moody's: Strong Islamic #retail franchise drives profitability for #Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank despite tougher operating conditions

Moody's announced that Al Rajhi Bank's dominant Islamic retail franchise will continue to drive a strong financial performance into 2017. Despite pressure on the Saudi economy from lower oil prices, Al Rahji's retail focus delivers solid margins and asset quality. Moody's analyst Nitish Bhojnagarwala said Al Rajhi's Islamic retail portfolio drives higher financing yields and stronger margins than its peers both in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). Coupled with a modest cost base and relatively lower provisioning, this generated a solid return on assets of 2.5% for the first six months of 2016. Furthermore, strong profits, combined with solid retention rate, provide healthy internal capital generation for the bank, which had a tangible common equity ratio of 19.8% as of June 2016.

#Saudi Arabia-based asset manager with responsible #investment approach to Islamic finance joins RFI Foundation

SEDCO Capital has joined the RFI Foundation as an industry member. SEDCO brings a strong commitment to responsible finance as a Shari'ah compliant investment manager. SEDCO Capital offers services in asset management, including asset allocation, real estate, private equity, public equity, liquidity instruments, agriculture, timber, and commodities that conform to Shari'ah. According to CEO Blake Goud, the activities of the RFI Foundation will support greater convergence between Islamic and traditional responsible finance in the coming years.

CIBAFI technical #workshops schedule announced

The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) has announced the schedule of its Technical Workshops on Product Development for Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs). The workshops will start on August 30 and will be organized in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The three-day Technical Workshops aim to provide participants with hands on technical knowledge and skills pertaining to product development, with a focus on Islamic financial services. CIBAFI, as the voice of the industry, aims to provide platforms such as these to develop human capital and bring industry professionals together.

MASIC partners on #Islamic #financing of $219 million New York Condo

Baker & McKenzie advised Mohammed I. Alsubeaei & Sons Investment Company a leading private equity investment company based in Saudi Arabia in a $219 mn dollar Murabaha facility to develop a luxury condominium development. MASIC provided the mezzanine financing for the development project, 45 Park Place, located in New York's TriBeCa neighborhood. The deal highlights the expansion of Islamic financing into the US real estate market.
MASIC partnered with other financial institutions and Soho Properties on the downtown condo project, which is scheduled for completion in 2018. Financiers for the project include Malayan Banking Berhad, London Branch; Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A.; Warba Bank K.S.C.P.; and MASIC.
Baker & McKenzie partner Mona Dajani said, “This successful financing by MASIC is a milestone transaction in the United States using tiered Shari’ah-compliant facilities for commercial transactions. This transaction aptly demonstrates the increased activity in Islamic financings in the United States which has emerged over the past year.”
The Baker & McKenzie team, led by Ms. Dajani, included partner, Pat McDonald and associates Michael Reed, and Maher Haddad.

#Moodys’ Raised Emaar #Sukuk to Baa3 and EIB Sukuk to A3

Highlights and Performance
Bloomberg Malaysia Sukuk
Bloomberg Malaysia Sukuk Ex-MYR Total Return and Dow Jones Sukuk Total Return indices ended relatively flat at 103.9 (+0.02%) and 159.8 +0.01%) respectively, with yields tightened marginally by 0.6bps to 2.470%. Combined with the Fed‘s dovish meeting (June 15), uncertainty over the Brexit referendum jitters (June 23) and mixed signals from China over slowing economy bring the risk-adverse sentiment. The top performers over the week were INDOIS 3/26 and GS 9/19, which moved -11bps to -13bps; while the underperformers were dominated by banking papers — EIB 1/17, Noor Bank B3T1 and DIB B2T1 which widened 12bps each.
Bank Indonesia
Bank Indonesia cuts key policy rates by 25bps in a surprise move, with the BI rate, deposit facility rate and 7-day reverse repo rate now stand at 6.50%, 4.50% and 5.25% respectively. In addition to the rate cut, BI also raised the minimum threshold on loan-to-funding ratio to 80% from 78%. Indonesia risk premiums widened 1.5bps to 196.0bps.

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.

#Saudi's Bank Al Bilad says plans up to 2 bln riyal #capital-boosting #sukuk

Saudi Arabia's Bank Al Bilad has received regulatory approval to issue a capital-boosting sukuk worth as much as 2 bn riyals ($533.3 m), it said in a bourse statement on Sunday.
The issue will enhance its Tier 2, or supplementary, capital and last for 10 years, although the bank has the option to redeem the sukuk after the fifth year, according to the filing.
Sources told Reuters last month that Bank Al Bilad, one of the smaller lenders in Saudi Arabia, had chosen HSBC's local unit to arrange the Islamic bond offering. ($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

#Sipchem completes second #Sukuk offering

In a statement to the Tadawul, Saudi International Petrochemical Company announced the successful completion of a Shari’ah-compliant Sukuk issuance amounting to SAR 1.0 bn on 16 June 2016.
The Sukuk was priced at 235 bps over six-month SAIBOR for a tenor of five years maturing on June 16, 2021.
Eng. Ahmad Al-Ohali, Chief Executive Officer of Sipchem, commented that the successful completion of its second Sukuk offering will provide funding for general corporate purposes (including, without limitation, the repayment of any financial obligations). He expressed his appreciation to all who participated in the success of the Sukuk offering especially Riyad Capital and NCB Capital for their efforts in successfully managing the private issuance.
In a separate statement to the Tadawul, Sipchem also reported that with reference to the announcement to the market dated 12 May 2016 regarding the company’s intention to exercise its right of early redemption of its Mudaraba Sukuk with an aggregate amount of SAR 1.8 billion maturing on 6 July 2016, Sipchem successfully completed the early redemption of the Sukuk in full on 15 June 2016.

#Saudi’s Bank Al Jazira prices SAR2 billion capital-boosting #sukuk

Bank Al Jazira has priced a 2 billion riyal ($533 million) sukuk issue that will boost the lender’s capital reserves. The bank priced the transaction at 190 basis points over the six-month Saudi interbank offered rate. The Islamic bond issue is structured with a ten-year lifespan but includes an option for the lender to redeem the sukuk after five years. It was arranged by GIB Capital as well as the bank’s own investment banking arm.

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