Asia

British Islamic Insurance Holding undertakes Private Placement

Gan Yen Kuan reported on 10 April in The Edge Daily that MNRB Holdings Bhd has proposed to invest GBP 8.96 mn in the non-listed British Islamic Insurance Holdings Ltd (BIIH), being an equity stake of maximum 9.99 % based on a private placement effort. MNRB aims to diversify the business and to expand into international business and the potentially lucrative market in Europe.

MNRB is Malaysia’s largest re-insurer.

BIIH has an authorised share capital of GBP 100 mn. Its issued and paid-up share capital is GBP 4.1 mn with a share premium of GBP 42.1 mn. It is incorporated on 27 February 2006.

BIIH has two wholly owned subsidiaries, namely BIIH General Ltd (BIIG) and BIIS Ltd., both have yet to obtain permission from the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) to carry out their respective business in general insurance and insurance intermediation services.

BIIH is unlisted but aims to be listed on the Alternative Investments Market in London and on one or more suitable GCC based exchanges later.

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

Bangladesh: Prime Finance manages IPO of Takaful Islami

The New Nation, Bangladesh reported on 10 April that Prime Finance and Investment Limited has signed an agreement with Takaful Islami Insurance Limited to manage their proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Md Akter Hossain Sannamat is Managing Director of Prime Finance & Investment Limited.
Abul Kashem Chowdhury is Managing Director of Takaful Islami Insurance Limited.
Md. Fazle Azim is Chairman of Takaful Islami Insurance Limited.

Source: http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/04/10/news0012.htm

Rajhi Bank increases profits

Souhail Karam reported on Reuters, 13 April, on the profit rise of 2.1 % of Saudi-based Rajhi Bank in Q1 from core business operations.

Net Income from investment rose 11.5 % to SAR 2.03 bn. Income from banking services increased 18 % to SAR 454 mn. Growth is targeted by diversifying its sources of revenue, developing the investment and corporate banking sectors along with retail banking. According to analysts posted profits could be even higher, but were impacted by the cost of international expansion.

Rajhi plans to add 160 branches in Saudi Arabia by mid-2008.

Chief Executive is Abdullah Sulaiman al-Rajhi.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews/id...

Academic Research Papers

Dear Members,

Please share your opinion about the following proposal in regard to

- Academic Research Papers

This forum could facilitate to publish your research papers and having them rated by peers afterwards. This would speed up the time from production to publishing tremendously compared to traditional journals.

It also gives a chance to see unusual papers published, however, a good number of submissions might be of lower quality at the same time.

The action question: Is there interest in the community to use such a platform in this way???

Please comment!!!

Gulf Finance House: USD 10 bn Caspian Energy Hub

Gulf News reported on 11 April that Gulf Finance House aims to develop the USD 10 bn Caspian Energy Hub in collaboration with the Government of Kazakhstan and PFC Energy International and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The project, shall be a services hub that caters to commercial, technical and human resource needs of the oil and gas industry in the Caspian region. The hub also aims to become a global technical training centre for the oil & gas industry.

Esam Janahi is chairman of Gulf Finance House, Vahan Zanoyan is CEO of PFC Energy International and both presented the concept to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazar. Ulf Wokurka is deputy chairman of the Management Board of Kazakhstan Holding for Management of State Assets. Gani Uzbekov is deputy chairman of the Board of Sustainable Development Fund called "Kazyna".

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Oil_and_Gas/10204695.html

Indonesia plans to sell two Sukuks in the second half year

Harry Suhartono from Reuters reported on 8 April that Indonesia's finance ministry plans for the second half of the year 2008 two Sukuk domestically and international following the approval of the new bill.

Indonesia's finance ministry plans to sell Islamic bonds in the international and domestic markets in the second half of 2008, a senior official said late on Monday following the approval of new bill on Islamic debt.

Rahmat Waluyanto is the treasury director general at the finance ministry. According to him the ministry has suitable underlying assets worth 15 trillion rupiah (USD 1.63 bn).

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said it might take between one to 1.5 months for the ministry to draw up the necessary regulations following the approval of the bill.

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINJAK28409420080408

More information in regard to the Sukuk bill:
http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINJAK29608520080408

CIMA launches qualification in Islamic finance

Joyce Goh reported on 9 April in The Edge Daily, that Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) launches qualification in Islamic finance.

CIMA’s new qualification comprises four modules: Islamic commercial law; Islamic banking and takaful; Islamic capital markets and instruments; and accounting for Islamic financial institutions.

CIMA’s director of education is Robert Jelly. CIMA divisional director is Sopiah Suid, CIMA Malaysia's president is Michael Eow.
Deputy Finance Minister attented the signing: Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. Dr Mohd Daud Bakar is president and CEO of IIIF.

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

Korea considers easing Islamic finance

Yoon Ja-young reported on 7 April that Korea regulators plan to revise laws to support banks to reach out to the markets of Islamic countries.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) plans to revise laws through a revision this year. FSC Chairman Jun Kwang-woo sees bankers requests in this regard very positive. Steps should include opportunities for Sukuk.

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2008/04/123_22065.html

Local currency government sukuk in Pakistan

Reuters reported on 7 April that Pakistan has shortlisted six banks to manage a local currency sukuk to be mandated according to sources Reuters spoke with, those are ABN Amro Pakistan, Dubai Islamic Bank, Meezan Bank, MCB Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, United Bank Ltd. Last month the finance minster, Salman Shah, indicated the issuance till 30 June, the end of the fiscal year. A banker familiar with the plans estimates the size at least to be Rps 20 bn (USD 318 mn).

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINISL24089920080407

Local currency Pakistani sukuk

Trading Market reported on 7 April that three local Islamic banks arranged Rs 91 bn Sukuk in Pakistan: Meezan Bank participated in Rs 57 bn worth of Sukuk financing. Dubai Islamic Bank during the year 2006-07, arranged Sukuks worth Rs 24 bn, which is 41% of the total domestic Sukuk issuances. BankIslami managed Rs. 5 bn in the last quarter of 2007.

Source: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/1316415/

Hong Kong and Dubai sign Islamic finance pact

Rita Raagas De Ramos reported in Asian Investor on 7 April about the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Hong Kong’s Securities & Futures Commission the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) calling for mutual cooperation on capacity building and human capital development in Islamic finance, as well as the promotion and development of their respective Islamic capital market segments; both parties will examine the possibility of establishing a framework for the mutual recognition of their regulatory regimes on Islamic funds to facilitate cross-border marketing and distribution of such funds.

The MOU for cooperation on Islamic finance and capacity building was signed by Hong Kong SFC CEO Martin Wheatley and the DFSA CEO David Knott.

Source: http://www.asianinvestor.net/article.aspx?CIaNID=73222

New IFSB documents on Capital Adequacy and Liquidity Management

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) released on 1 April that the IFSB Council adopted two documents to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry.

In its 12th meeting held at the Islamic Development Bank's (IDB) headquarters in Jeddah on March 26th 2008, the Council of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) resolved to approve two documents that aim to further facilitate efforts towards enhancing the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry. The two documents are:

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

Technical Note on Issues in Strengthening Liquidity Management of Institutions Offering Islamic Financial Services: The Development of Islamic Money Markets (Technical Notes)

Guidance Note in Connection with the Capital Adequacy Standard: Recognition of Ratings by External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) on Shari'ah-Compliant Financial Instruments (Guidance Note)

International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) established

Bernama reported on 26 March that Bank Negara Malaysia announced the establishment of the International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) to promote applied research in the area of Sharia and Islamic finance. It will also act as a repository of knowledge for Sharia views or fatwas and undertake studies on contemporary issues in Islamic financial industry. ISRA will be part of the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF).

A Council of Scholars, comprising local and international Syariah scholars will be set up. Dr Mohamad Akram Laldin will be appointed as the executive director of ISRA.

Source: http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v3/news_lite.php?id=322895

State Bank of Pakistan issues updated guidelines

The new standards of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) cover appointment of Shariah advisers, conflict resolution in Shariah rulings, use of charity fund and introduction of new products, reported The News Pakistan on 26 March.

Currently, total assets of Islamic banking industry in Pakistan had exceeded Rs 200 bn and the branch network of 18 Islamic banking institutions (i.e. six full-fledged Islamic banks and 12 conventional banks having Islamic banking branches) has expanded to 47 cities.

Full text: http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=102998

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Sukuk market challenged by subprime crisis

Arthur Macdonald reported in Gulf Daily News that the Sukuk market has suffered from the global financial crisis, but it is likely to recover. It impacted pricing and access to investors. Further the discussion on the Dollar peg of Gulf currencies created addtional uncertainties. Nevertheless the market has grown in ten years from millions to billions, participants of a Sukuk conference in Bahrain said.

Source: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Story.asp?Article=211884&Sn=BUSI&IssueID=...

CIMB to latch on Islamic banking expertise in China expansion

Joyce Goh reported in The Edge Daily, Malaysia about plans of Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd (BCHB), parent company of CIMB Group, will use its 20% stake in Bank of Yingkou (BOYC) of China as a springboard to expand its business there, particularly latching on its Islamic finance expertise to carve a niche for itself in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. China has a larger Muslim community than China. BOYC is looking to expand to Shenyang — the city in Liaoning province earmarked to be an Islamic finance hub of China. Just three months ago, BOYC received the approval from the Chinese government to transform itself from a local commercial bank into a regional bank, thereby giving it the green light to expand its services in the Liaoning province.

Litrak, Malaysia, may return RM 1 per share with debt refinancing plan

Yong Yen Nie reported in The Edge on 18th March about Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd (Litrak), which may return RM 1 per share after debt refinancing. The firm proposed last Friday the issuance of up to RM1.55 billion in Islamic debt papers under a sukuk programme. The new debt issue is meant to refinance the highway concessionaire’s existing borrowings and redeemable unsecured loan stocks of RM1.2 billion and to fund working capital and other operational purposes.

Analysts said the proceeds from the sukuk bond issue would fully retire Litrak’s existing debts that were taken to fund the construction of the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP).

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

Stanchart applies for Malaysia Islamic bank

Saeed Azhar reported on Reuters on 18th March, that Asia-focused Standard Chartered Bank has applied for a license to set up a separate Islamic banking unit in Malaysia, aiming to capture growth in a business that has escaped global credit turmoil.

Standard Chartered had $1.4 billion (699 million pounds) of Islamic banking assets in Malaysia at the end of 2007, more than double the year ago period, he said.

HSBC and Singapore's third-biggest lender, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp , have already received regulatory approval to set up Islamic banking units in Malaysia.

Source: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20080318/tbs-uk-standard-chartered-malaysi...

Takaful help Prudential to make as much profit in Asia as in UK

The Guardian reported on 17th March about the takaful business of Prudential. Prudential is looking to expand into Egypt as the executive who runs the insurer's fast-growing Asian business seeks other markets with scope for rapid growth, like before Indonesia, where 25% of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2007 were sharia-compliant products.

Figures on Friday showed that profits of the Pru's Asian operations broke through £1bn for the first time in 2007 and now match the profits achieved by the insurer's traditional UK operations.

Stowe is already responsible for 13 countries. In India, he believes Pru can soon overtake the state-owned insurer that occupies the number-one slot in the country.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/mar/17/islamicfinance.insurance?gus...

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