CPI Financial

Islamic finance #risks raised by Dana Gas case

Dana Gas applies Shari’ah non-compliance as a cause for restructuring. Dana Gas has proposed a restructuring to holders of its $700 million of Sukuk maturing in Oct 2017. Its proposal is on the basis that these Sukuk are no longer Shari'ah compliant because standards of interpretation have changed since they were issued in 2013. Dana Gas is seeking to have its existing Sukuk declared invalid in a UAE court and this court has granted Dana Gas an injunction protecting it from claims until the case is decided. If the precedent of revisiting Shari'ah compliance infects the Islamic finance industry, there is greater risk of a loss of confidence in other markets too. There are many examples of distressed conventional bond borrowers engaging in opportunistic negotiating positions. The result was higher cost of borrowing for them rather than for the broad asset class.

IIRA maintains ratings of #Bahrain Islamic Bank

Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) has reaffirmed ratings of Bahrain Islamic Bank (BIsB) at BBB/A2 on the national scale and BBB-/A3 on the international scale. IIRA added that the bank’s rating outlook is constrained by the macroeconomic environment and tougher industry conditions for banks in the Gulf. Given the presence of external, regional concerns, the outlook on international scale ratings is assessed as Negative. Impairment in recent financings remains minimal, indicating improvement in the bank's business underwriting capability. However, overall asset quality concerns remain notable. IIRA has assigned BIsB a Fiduciary Score of 71-75, which signifies that the rights of various stakeholders are adequately protected.

Global #Sukuk Market Outlook: the surge in Sukuk issuance isn't the new normal

The Sukuk market performed strongly in the first half of 2017 as issuance increased by 37.7% in the first six months of the year. This was primarily driven by the jumbo local and foreign currency issuances by some GCC governments. Sovereign issuers turned to Sukuk because wanted to diversify their investor base and to benefit from the good liquidity conditions in local and global financial markets. S&P Global Ratings expects the volume of Sukuk issuance to remain strong in 2017, but this is likely to be the exception rather than a new norm. In their view, the large transactions in the first half of 2017 are unlikely to be repeated in 2018. It remains to be seen if the recent developments in Qatar will impact issuance out of the country. Qatar was placed under sanctions by a group of governments that cut diplomatic ties and trade and transport links.

Middle East and other sovereign #investors put major asset allocation decisions on hold

Invesco has released its fifth Invesco Global Sovereign Asset Management Study. The study was conducted amongst 97 individual sovereign investors and asked them to rate the importance of economic and geopolitical factors on their investment strategies. Middle East and other sovereign investors see low interest rates as the greatest tactical asset allocation factor. Brexit and the US election results are expected to grow in importance for future allocations, as the implications of political shifts on investment performance becomes clearer. Sovereign investors have ranked the US as the most attractive market. However, long term confidence is still restricted by concerns about growing protectionism limiting access for foreign sovereigns. The UK saw the biggest drop in attractiveness and Continental Europe's attractiveness has also fallen. However, Germany stands out from its European neighbours because of its perceived safe haven status. Despite target return gaps increasingly widening, geo-political uncertainty is causing sovereign investors to make fewer allocation changes than at any point in the last five years.

The IFSB releases the Islamic Financial Services Industry #Stability #Report 2017

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) has released the fifth edition of its annual Islamic Financial Services Industry Stability Report 2017. The Report finds that despite subdued growth conditions, the global IFSI has been able to sustain its total assets value at approximately $1.9 trillion in 2016. The Report illustrates areas that could be further strengthened across all sectors of the IFSI (banking, capital markets and Takaful), many of which will require measured efforts by the national authorities to address the emerging risks. Secretary-General of the IFSB, Zahid ur Rehman Khokher, stated that Islamic financial services industry withstood the challenging operating environment. However, it moved away from the double digit growth trajectory witnessed in the previous years. He added that this slowdown underscores the importance of strengthening the resilience of the Islamic financial system.

IDB/World Bank #report details role of Islamic finance in ending poverty

A report published by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and World Bank Group has outlined the potentials of Islamic finance in curbing income inequality and ending poverty worldwide. The report was unveiled by IDB President, Dr Bandar Hajjar, on the sides of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the IDB Group in Jeddah. It details the trends in Islamic finance, identifies the major challenges and recommends policy interventions to leverage Islamic finance. The report notes that the Islamic banking sector needs innovative risk-sharing products and services, enhanced scale and access to Islamic finance, improved liquidity and stability, and bolstered human capital and literacy in Islamic finance. The report also provides an overview of recent policy initiatives taken by several IDB member countries to promote shared prosperity.

Hogan Lovells advises on the first #Sukuk to be listed on ISE's Global Exchange market

Hogan Lovells has advised Aktif Bank on the first Sukuk ever to be listed on the Global Exchange Market of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE). The $118million Sukuk was issued under a mudarabah structure with GAP Insaat Yatirim ve D?s Ticaret, a Turkish construction company. While the Irish Stock Exchange has listed Sukuk historically, this is the first Sukuk to be listed on the ISE's Global Exchange Market. The Hogan Lovells team was led by Imran Mufti (Partner, Dubai), with support from Annalisa Feliciani (Counsel, Rome), Ahmet Kalafat (Senior Associate, Dubai) and trainees Marjun Parcasio and Luigi de Angelis. Onur Aksoy from Aktif Bank said this Sukuk represents a milestone for Islamic capital markets originating out of Turkey. He added that Aktif Bank was pleased to work with the Hogan Lovells team, benefitting from their deep understanding of Islamic finance and capital markets.

$453 million in infrastructure projects for Islamic Development Bank members

A total of $453 million worth of infrastructure projects for five member states has been approved by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The approval was given ahead of its annual meeting of the Board of Governors on 17-18 May 2017 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. IDB also approved three special assistance projects worth $580,000 for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kenya and Rwanda. The President of IDB, Dr. Bandar Hajjar, underlined the role of infrastructure projects in order to accelerate development activities. He notied that the meeting addressed in detail youth economic empowerment and the significant opportunities created for youth through infrastructure projects.

Gulf Islamic Investments expands #investments into lucrative transportation and logistic

Gulf Islamic Investments (GII) successfully completed a Shari’ah compliant growth capital financing round for transportation company Bion Group. The UAE-based Group provides both heavy haul transportation services and the manufacturing of heavy transport equipment. Pankaj Gupta, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Gulf Islamic Investments, said this partnership was an excellent opportunity for Bion Group to take advantage of the uptrends in the ever-increasing construction sector. Noas Al Rawi, CEO of Bion Group, said that with GII's assistance Bion will improve its services portfolio and increase production capacity. He added that Bion will target the refrigerated transportation sector and further consolidate its position in the country’s construction sector.

QInvest and GCC investor launch “Magnolia Fund” to invest in #US #residential #market

#Qatar's QInvest announced its collaboration with a GCC institutional investor to create the Magnolia Real Estate Fund. The fund has already completed its first acquisition of an asset in Colorado, USA. The acquisition was funded using an Ijarah property debt structure. The Magnolia Fund is focused on investing in the fast-growing, income-generating multifamily residential market in the US. The Fund is building a portfolio of assets in the sector and plans to make more acquisitions during 2017. The newly acquired asset is located in Fox Creek, Thornton, a northern suburb of Denver, Colorado. The asset is projected to yield net cash in excess of eight per cent on annual basis and a net IRR in the range of 12-13%. The multifamily manager TruAmerica has co-invested in the asset and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the property.

Baker McKenzie wins major #litigation case for Dubai Islamic Bank

Global law firm Baker McKenzie has successfully acted for Dubai Islamic Bank in its defence of a $2 billion claim brought against it in the English Commercial Court. The claim was brought by Plantation Holdings, a holding company owned by an Argentinian-resident property developer. The allegation was breach of contract related to plot of land on the outskirts of Dubai, which Plantation had planned to develop into a high-end luxury lifestyle and equestrian complex. The Bank took security over the project as part of the restructuring of a $500 million debt owed to it as a result of a complex receivables financing fraud. The case was heard in an eight week trial, with evidence from witnesses from seven jurisdictions. The court ruled that Plantation's principal director had made up evidence and that another of Plantation's witnesses had manufactured documents, Plantation has been ordered to pay 70% of the Bank's costs on the indemnity basis. The nature of the case also resulted in examining the volatility of the Dubai property market and the functionality of its property registration system, as well as the Dubai authorities' approach to financial misconduct.

IFC makes equity #investment to expand payment infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has announced an equity investment of $30 million via the consortium fund Network International to expand the payment infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa. Network International is jointly controlled by the Emirates NBD Bank and Warburg Pincus/General Atlantic consortium. The investment will help the company expand and modernise its banking client network in the Middle East and Africa. The investment is expected to allow MSMEs to access card-based payments and develop digital data records, to help them grow their customer base. Bassel Hamwi, Head of the IFC Middle East and North Africa Fund, said the shared infrastructure brings down costs and boosts financial inclusion, while reducing the risk of fraud.

Deadline for comments on #AAOIFI #Sukuk Exposure Draft set for 31 March

The Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has published the exposure draft of the accounting standard on Sukuk and invites feedback from the Islamic finance industry. The objective of the standard is to prescribe the accounting and financial reporting guidance for the accounting treatment and classification with regard to the Sukuk issuance. It also covers the presentation and disclosure of Sukuk issuance. It provides principle-based accounting treatments for broadly two types of Sukuk issuance, off balance sheet and on balancesheet as well as respective subcategories. Comments on the exposure draft are welcome and should be directed no later than 31 March 2017 to accounting@aaoifi.com. Comments and suggestions will be presented in an upcoming meeting to discuss and make necessary changes to the standard.

Moody's: #GCC Islamic banks more profitable than conventional peers for second year running in 2017

According to Moody's Investors Service, the profitability of Islamic banks' in the Gulf cooperation Council (GCC) region will outpace that of their conventional peers for the second consecutive year in 2017. Islamic banks will maintain stronger margins in 2017, primarily as a result of their low funding costs, which reflect their reliance on stable current and savings account balances. Islamic banks also tend to have higher asset yields, given their focus on retail and the real estate related lending. Moody's expects that Islamic banks will retain a margin advantage of about 40 basis points over conventional banks in 2017. Moody's analyst Nitish Bhojnagarwala says conventional banks will continue to beat Islamic peers in terms of cost efficiency. Islamic banks are investing in branch network expansion, while conventional banks have already established their branch networks.

Metito's experience with islamic finance in Africa

Metito is the largest privately held water treatment company in the Middle East. Metito’s African operations account for nearly about a third of its revenues and the current backlog is around $300 million. Metito approached Islamic banks in early 2014 to tap on their resources to support the Group’s growth. As of today, a major of the long-term financing that the group has received in GCC region is comprised mostly of Shari'ah-compliant financing tools. The total size of Islamic financing facilities currently in use stand at around $150 million and the share is expected to increase over the next 12 months. The Group has so far availed three types of Islamic finance financing tools, Musharakah, Ijarah and Murabahah. CFO Wafic Ghanem said Metito has not yet considered tapping into Sukuk issuance for its African business given the infancy of Sukuk market in the continent.

Corrigenda: Wafic Ghanem has been reported being Group CEO before.

KBW Investments launches Islamic #fund

In this interview HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal reveals the full story behind his investment firm’s jump into the Shari’ah space. He founded KBW Investments four years ago and launched in mid-January his newest company, ARADA, in partnership with Basma Group. KBW’s first movement in the Shari’ah-compliant investment space is called Crestmount Capital. Prince Khaled found the fairness of Islamic finance most appealing, the extensive work in preparation of launching Crestmount Capital with Amanie Advisors has been really educational. The projects that Crestmount Fund will invest in will be delivered by PietyTHP Developments, which is a joint venture between Piety and the property arm of Lembaga Tabung Haji of Malaysia. Crestmount Fund I, a Shari’ah-compliant real estate private equity fund, is structured as a Cayman Islands entity. It will fund five identified under-development residential projects in Sydney, Australia, through Shari'ah-compliant commodity Murabahah agreements.

ADIB denies potential #Sukuk issuance this year

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has issued a statement clarifying that the story issued by Reuters about a US dollar Sukuk issuance in the next few months is incorrect. Reuters had recently reported that ADIB is planning to make a US dollar-denominated Sukuk issue in May this year. ADIB said that it has no immediate plans to issue any Sukuk and this has been clarified in an official statement to Reuters.

Fitch: Slower #UAE Islamic Bank growth will weaken asset quality

According to Fitch Ratings, a slowdown in Islamic financing growth in the UAE will reveal a deterioration in banks' asset quality as portfolios season more quickly. This will start to become evident as banks report their 2016 results. Financing growth slowed in 2016 and a continuing slowdown in 2017 is expected. Demand for Islamic financing in the UAE has grown rapidly with increasing customer awareness and wider adoption of Shari'ah products, especially among retail customers. Growth of Islamic bank financing in 2016 was expected to have been significantly lower than in 2015, although still higher than that of conventional bank lending. Newer Islamic banks with smaller franchises are likely to be affected first by the slowdown. Those that have been established for longer are likely to be affected later, and to a lesser degree, given their stronger franchises.

Qatar Islamic Bank AGM gives the go-ahead to #Sukuk issuance

The Assembly General Meeting (AGM) of Qatar Islamic Bank has voted the proposal to increase the limit of the perpetual Sukuk “Additional Tier 1 Capital (AT1) Sukuk“ from QAR 5 Billion to QAR 7.5 Billion. The meeting, held on 21 February, also approved the board of directors’ proposal to distribute 47.5% cash dividends of the nominal value per share, i.e. QAR 4.75 per share.

ICD and International Association of Islamic Business (IAIB) sign a MoU

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the International Association of Islamic Business (IAIB), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore collaboration between entrepreneurs from Islamic countries and Russian Federation. The two institutions are determined to collaborate on introducing Islamic banking products in Russia and lobbying for changes in Russian banking legislation. ICD's CEO Khaled Al-Aboodi said he was looking forward to the collaboration, while IAIB President Marat Kabayev said the purpose of the partnership was to develop economic ties among Islamic countries, to promote Islamic Finance in Russia and attract investors from Islamic countries. ICD and IAIB also agreed to organize joint professional programmes, market research, workshops, publications, study tours and assistance in production and certification of Halal goods.

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