Europe

Albaraka Turk picks arrangers for capital-boosting sukuk- sources

Turkish Islamic bank Albaraka Turk has reportedly picked seven arrangers for a potential dollar-denominated sukuk to bolster its supplementary or Tier 2 capital. The lender is expected to raise around $250 million, and the sukuk issue is planned before the end of the year. Albaraka Turk has chosen Barwa Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, Nomura, Noor Bank, Standard Chartered and QInvest to arrange the sukuk issue. The bank, a unit of Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group , didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

QNB in preliminary talks to buy Turkey’s Finansbank

In a statement to the Qatar Exchange, QNB revealed its involvement as a potential bidder for Finansbank, the National Bank of Greece’s Turkish banking subsidiary. Established in 1987, Finansbank operates 654 branches and has more than 12,000 employees. The bank’s total assets in H1 2015 reached TRY 82.45 billion. The bank was acquired by National Bank of Greece in 2006. QNB has also recently investigated the possibility of taking over KFH Malaysia. However, a bourse statement on 22 September said the bank had stopped preliminary talks to acquire Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) without reaching an agreement.

EIIB-Rasmala expands real estate investment business, acquires property in UK

European Islamic Investment Bank plc (EIIB-Rasmala) has announced the expansion of its real estate business. Simultaneously, the Group has also announced the acquisition of a commercial office building for GBP 11.8 million ($17.9 million, AED 65.9 million), located on the Doxford International Business Park. The real estate division will focus on identifying high quality, income generating opportunities in the UK, Europe and the United States. The primary focus will be on the UK. The Group expects to invest approximately $1.5 billion in a broad mix of real estate transactions over the next three years, with $750 million being allocated for investments in the UK.

Interview: Richard Bishop: Complex and compliant

Cobalt Underwriting founder Richard Bishop has talked about why he launched London's first Islamic insurance managing general agent – and why London needs to stay relevant. It was back in 2007, when Richard Bishop was working in general broking, that a chance conversation with a Muslim cleric sewed the seed of a business idea that would grow to become the London market’s first Islamic insurance managing general agent.

Al Rayan Bank commits to Birmingham

Al Rayan Bank is renewing its commitment to Birmingham as it gets set to relocate to a new head office in Edgbaston. The bank has purchased offices in Calthorpe Road and will move 100 of its employees from its current leased offices later this month. In February 2014, Al Rayan Bank was acquired by Masraf Al Rayan, the second largest Islamic bank in Qatar by market value. A rebrand followed before the bank posted its financial performance. In 2014, the bank’s operating income increased by 168%, customer financing increased by 86% and retail deposits increased by 59%. The bank also transformed a £5.5m loss in 2013 to an after tax profit of £1.2m.

Kuveyt Turk picks arrangers for capital-boosting sukuk - sources

Turkish Islamic bank Kuveyt Turk has picked seven banks to arrange a potential dollar-denominated sukuk to bolster its supplementary or Tier 2 capital. Kuveyt Turk Participation Bank, which is 62 percent owned by Kuwait Finance House, is planning to issue the sukuk after the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha which begins this week. Kuveyt Turk has picked KFH Capital, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Noor Bank and QInvest to arrange investor roadshows ahead of the potential issue. The lender is expected to raise around $400 million.

Turkey's Albaraka raises $450 mln in Islamic loan deal

Turkish Islamic bank Albaraka Turk has secured a $450 million dual-tranche murabaha loan, the proceeds of which will be used to expand its financing activities in the country. The bank closed a $278-million portion and a 154.5 million- euro ($174.7 million) tranche in the 367-days and 733-days tenures paying profit margins of 1.1 and 1.25 percentage points over the London interbank offered rate/Euro interbank offered rate respectively. Sixteen investors participated in providing the murabaha facility from Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region. Due to the oversubscription, Albaraka Turk decided to increase the facility size to $450 million instead of $400 million as originally planned.

Dubai Islamic Bank makes shock Shariah exit from Albaraka Türk loan

In an unexpected move, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) pulled out of Albaraka Türk's latest $450m murabaha loan because it did not think the loan was Shariah compliant, according to two bankers on the deal. Turkish participation bank Albaraka Türk has signed a $450m-equivalent one year loan, which it increased from the $400m launch size.

Jadwa Investment completes global distribution agreement with Allfunds Bank

Saudi Arabian investment management and advisory firm Jadwa Investment has completed a distribution agreement with European platform Allfunds Bank (AFB) to offer shariah-compliant mutual funds to international investors across AFB’s global platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Jadwa’s portfolio of public equity and fixed income funds will be accessible across AFB’s worldwide network of 33 countries, including commercial banks, private banking institutions, fund managers, insurance and takaful companies and fund supermarkets. Jadwa Investment will be the only investment firm to provide actively managed and passively managed (indexed) shariah-compliant funds.

Islamic bank focuses on advisers

Al Rayan Bank has boosted its staff in order to expand its mortgage business through mortgage advisers. It comes as the bank appointed Saalik Haleem as intermediary specialist. Mr Haleem, who is based at the bank’s operational headquarters, has been tasked with boosting the 13 per cent intermediary share of the bank’s mortgage business and creating new relationships with mortgage advisers across the UK. He has worked in Islamic finance for several years, specialising in the areas of advisory and Islamic investments, specifically Sharia-complaint Oeic/unit trusts.

Turkey calls for stock markets to be Islamic shariah compliant

Chairman of Borsa Istanbul Talat Ulussever called on Tuesday for the development of trading in stock markets to be compliant with the Islamic Sharia. Transactions at the stock markets should be Islamic Sharia-compliant not only restricted on issuance of bonds, said Ulussever at the opening of the 1st conference on Islamic Finance. He said policies failed to revive the global economy since 2008, but rather increased burden of debts by more than USD 50 trillion. Ulussever said economic and financial crises were linked to huge debts. He said the Islamic financing should be fully based on Islamic foundations.

LCP launches UK's only Sharia-compliant fund

The London Stock Exchange already boasts 53 Sukuk issues, raising more than $38bn. It has a mounting presence in Sharia-compliant Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) too, with seven available based on Islamic indices. In addition, Takaful has reached a new high in the UK, with premiums estimated to have reached $30bn in 2012. However, since the launch of the Sovereign Sukuk, there has been a general hush around the subject, with the Government not considering another one in the near future. While investors will find a number of other commercial funds to take its place, curiously, there remain few opportunities to invest in Sharia-compliant residential funds. That gap in the market has been seized by the residential funds and asset manager, London Central Portfolio (LCP).

Crowdfunding et Finance Islamique : l’IFSO organise une conférence à Paris

IFSO – Islamic Finance Students Organization, association des étudiants et diplômés en Finance Islamique de l’Université de Strasbourg, organise dans le cadre de ses Universités Européennes de la Finance Islamique, une conférence sur le thème “Crowdfunding et Finance Islamique, convergences et perspectives”, le Samedi 10 octobre 2015 de 15h00 à 17h30 à Paris. Avec la participation de M. Tariq BENGARAI Abou Nour, enseignant chercheur en finance islamique, porte parole du CIFIE (Comité indépendant de la finance islamique en Europe). M. Amine NAIT DAOUD, co-fondateur 570 Asset Management et autres.

University for refugees launches crowdfunding campaign

Kiron University, a social enterprise company headquartered in Berlin, will offer refugees a two-year online programme in partnership with providers of Moocs (massive open online courses), followed by one or two years at a partner institution. Students will be awarded a double degree, from both institutions. Several universities in Germany have signed up to the initiative. The organisation is in the process of seeking more partners in the UK, before rolling it out to other countries in Europe. It is targeting about 400,000 refugees in Europe, and so far 15,000 have signed up to start the programme in October.

Al Rayan Bank finds business agility in cloud applications

Matthew Glover, head of IT and change delivery at Al Rayan Bank, says its use of cloud amounts to a competitive advantage against big banks, and its customer base of 60,000 gives it an edge against challenger banks which are similarly unburdened by legacy. Being an Islamic bank makes Al Rayan’s business different, too. Glover is not himself Muslim, and neither are many of its customers, he says. He heads a team of 14 IT and business professionals. The IT estate is a mix of on-premise and cloud. Apart from the core banking system, which is a Misys platform running on an IBM AS/400, Salesforce is the most important part of the bank’s technology landscape.

Albaraka Türk to boost deal beyond $400m

Turkish participation bank Albaraka Türk will sign its murabaha loan next week and increase the deal from the $400m launch size, according to bankers on the deal. The deal is comprised of a 367 day tranche with a margin of 110bp and a two year and three day tranche paying 125bp, according to one banker on the deal.

International Halal Tourism Conference comes to Istanbul

Istanbul will discuss halal tourism on Dec. 1-3, where more than 1,000 attendees will come together in the city for the second annual International Halal Tourism Conference. Industry and sectoral professionals are expected to formulate new strategies concerning the $150 billion sector. The concept of halal tourism, which concerns nearly 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world, is the fastest growing trend of global tourism. The conference will be crucial for professionals who are actively engaged in the sector or seeking ways to operate in this market. While countries such as Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are prominent actors in this sector, many more countries are trying to attract Muslim tourists from all over the world.

Gatehouse completes £8.6 million financing of UK petrol station portfolio

Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the completion of an £8.6 million senior financing to support Investra's acquisition of a portfolio of five petrol stations in the UK. Based in Dubai and with an office in London, Investra is an investor of UK real estate. This transaction is the second financing which Gatehouse has completed in partnership with an equity sponsor based in the GCC region in the past six months. Investra is looking to increase our holdings of high-quality income generating assets. Henry Thompson, CEO of Gatehouse, said he was looking forward to announcing further transactions in the coming months.

Ethical Finance Experts to tackle question: Can Islamic Finance Governance Structures be used to Protect Reputation of Global Ethical Banking?

The Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF 2015) will serve as a platform for historic discussions on what Islamic financial governance can help address ethical lapses in the ethical finance industry. GEFF 2015 will take place on the 1 and 2 of September in Edinburgh. Experts from organizations such as the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), Al Rayan Bank, HSBC Amanah Malaysia, European Islamic Investment Bank (EIIB-Rasmala) and Ernst & Young will engage fellow ethical finance leaders as part of GEFF's mandate to bridge the disconnect between Islamic finance and the rest of the ethical finance universe. During the panel discussions, experts will review the established regulatory infrastructure in Islamic finance. Find more information at www.geff2015.com.

Turkiye Finans, Albaraka Turk apply for lira sukuk

Turkish Islamic lenders Turkiye Finans Katilim Bankasi and Albaraka Turk have applied separately to issue Islamic bonds, according to Turkey's Capital Markets Board. Turkiye Finans has applied to raise up to 1.5 billion lira ($513.2 million) through its wholly-owned unit, TF Varlik Kiralama. No tenor or details of underlying assets were given for the deal, which could be sold as a public offering or to qualified investors. Albaraka Turk, a unit of Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group, has also applied to raise up to 1 billion lira through its asset-leasing company, Bereket Varlik Kiralama. The bulk of sukuk issuance in Turkey has come from the government and the country's Islamic banks, although corporate issuance is also growing.

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