Financial Institutions

#Kuwait bank in #merger talks to create $92bn Islamic lender

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is seeking to hold talks with Bahrain's Ahli United Bank (AUB) for a potential merger. This would create an Islamic lender with about $92 billion of assets, six months after negotiations broke down. KFH sent a letter inviting Ahli United to sign a memorandum of understanding and a non-disclosure agreement to start valuation studies. The deal may provide a boost to debt-laden Bahrain, as the country struggles to cope with lower oil prices. According to Joice Mathew, the head of equity research at United Securities, the integration of business could be challenging because of the geographical dispersion of their assets and combination of Islamic and conventional banking.

Gulf banking transparency on the rise - study

Non-credit ratings agency Sigma Ratings found that Gulf countries outperform many Latin American and European countries in transparency and compliance. Among the most transparent banks in the region are Emirates Islamic Bank, Al Hilal Bank, the National Bank of RAK, Sharjah Islamic Bank, and the Arab Bank for Investment and Foreign Trade. According to Sigma Ratings CEO Stuart Jones, non-credit risk ratings were badly needed on factors like governance, compliance and financial crime risks. Jones added that specifically the GCC countries seem to be over-performing in the region, and there is lot of positive movement with regards to these countries.

ADIB launches 100% capital protected green notes

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) launched a 100% capital protected smart and green energy equities basket note. The investment note, which matures in 12 months, is open for subscription until July 28, with a 31% participation rate in the upside positive performance. According to Saif Al Keem, Head of Wealth Management & Priority Banking at ADIB, this new note from ADIB focuses on equities that are driving investments in clean technology and manufacturing smart energy on a global scale. There is a growing demand for solutions which can capture and store energy generated from wind and solar power, which provides significant opportunities for the manufacturers of efficient battery technology.

MOVES-#Britain's largest Islamic bank Al Rayan appoints new COO

Birmingham-based Al Rayan Bank appointed Paul McMillan as chief operating officer as part of the bank’s expansion efforts. McMillan, a former chief executive of mortgage servicing firm Acenden, takes over the role from the bank’s previous COO Venkat Chandrasekar. Al Rayan is one of the five standalone Islamic banks in Britain and is owned by Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan.

AIIB and IsDB Group join forces to grow sustainable infrastructure

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB Group) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a framework for strategic cooperation. The MOU will have a strong focus on sustainable infrastructure including development of energy and power, transportation and telecommunications, rural infrastructure water supply and sanitation, environmental protection, urban development and logistics. IsDB Group President H.E Dr. Bandar M.H. Hajjar said the Group looks forward to stimulate the region’s economic growth together with AIIB. The two banks intend to share knowledge and exchange experiences among employees through joint temporary assignments, secondments and training.

Islamic Windows of Coris Bank International pave the way to achieve SDG goal by ensuring financial inclusion and shared prosperity

Islamic banking is gaining a strong footing in Africa with the launch of Islamic banking windows of Coris Bank International in Mali, Senegal, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire. The official launch of Coris Bank Baraka Senegal took place in the presence of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) representatives, the Minister of Budget of Senegal, the Deputy CEO of Coris Bank International group and the CEO of Coris Bank International Senegal. The Minister of Budget of Senegal showed appreciation to Coris banking group for launching the Islamic window. ICD as a technical advisor facilitated the launch of Islamic windows in Senegal, Benin and Mali. Further, Coris Bank International and ICD are collaborating together to launch one more Islamic window in Côte d’Ivoire by end of June, 2018.

#Qatari banks lead Gulf states in real estate lending despite blockade: report

Qatari banks lead the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members states in real estate lending despite the economic blockade. Qatar disbursed 3.36 billion U.S. dollars of incremental credit in the first quarter of this year. Saudi Arabian banks ranked second, as they disbursed 1.47 billion dollars of incremental credit. Residential-related transactions contributed to 48% of the total transactions and accounted for 50.8% of the transaction volumes in the first quarter. On Sunday, Fitch Ratings has upgraded the outlooks of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) to 'stable'. The rating showed that Qatar was able to overcome the economic and trade blockade imposed on it by the Saudi-led bloc since last year.

ADIB becomes first bank to join UAEIIC

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has joined the UAE International Investors Council (UAEIIC), making it the first bank in the UAE to become a member in the council. ADIB's acting CEO Khamis Buharoon said his bank was committed to the development of Emirati investments, which are critical to economic diversification and the UAE’s global economic competitiveness. The council provides a link between investors, governmental and semi-governmental entities to streamline the investment process. It also serves as a pillar for ensuring the protection of UAE capital abroad through advice, guidance, and logistic support.

Fitch upgrades Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) rating to stable and affirmed 'A' rating

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Qatar Islamic Bank’s (QIB) outlook to 'stable'. The move reflects Fitch's view that Qatar has successfully managed the fallout from last year's rupture of trade, financial and diplomatic relations. Public sector liquidity injections have stabilised the banking sector and stemmed the outflow of non-domestic funding. The government has demonstrated a strong commitment to its banks and key public sector companies. Earlier this year, Fitch also affirmed QIB’s Long Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A'. These ratings of QIB reflect its well-established franchise in Qatar, with a market share of about 11% of total banking system assets at end-2017.

Growing Islamic finance firms lobby British government for #tax relief

Islamic finance firms are lobbying the British government for tax reforms, arguing that the treatment of some shariah-compliant structures is hindering their growth. Islamic financial transactions often require multiple title transfers of underlying assets, which can trigger double or even triple tax charges. More than 20 firms offer Islamic financial products in Britain. According to Samir Alamad, head of product development at Al Rayan Bank, capital gains taxes are affecting Islamic banks and their customers. He added that taxes on investment property and commercial finance also need clarification. Islamic banks are expanding, but there are concerns that future changes could also have an impact on the sector. The government’s 2017 budget has proposed changes starting from 2019 to the tax status of nonresident investors and the way they are taxed on real estate disposals.

Dubai Islamic Bank sees huge demand for capital raising plan

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has announced a successful closing to its capital raising programme. The issuance of 1.6 billion additional shares at price of AED3.11 per share was announced in April with the aim to boost the core capital of the bank by over AED5 billion ($1.36 billion). According to DIB's Group CEO Dr Adnan Chilwan, growth remains on the horizon as the bank’s financial position has become stronger than ever before with improved asset quality and balance sheet. He added that the capital boost will help maintain the bank's "competitive edge".

The Islamic Development Bank Launches New Brand for the First Time in its History

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has been undergoing significant strategic reform in the last year, led by the Bank’s new President, H.E. Dr Bandar Hajjar. The new brand identity maintains the core elements of the IsDB’s heritage while signalling modernity, independence and transparency. The IsDB’s mission includes equipping people to drive their own economic and social progress at scale; putting the necessary infrastructure in place to enable them to fulfil their potential; building collaborative partnerships between public and private sectors. The bank aims to use the latest science, technology and innovation solutions to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Algosaibi signs grant agreement with Ebdaa Bank

The Algosaibi Holding Group has signed a grant agreement with Ebdaa Bank. This grant of BD100,000 ($263,000) will enhance the bank’s financial solvency and increase its ability to expand borrowers list which currently includes more than 2,500 borrowers. The agreement was signed by Dr Khalid Al Ghazawi, CEO of Ebdaa Bank, and Fawaz Algosaibi, CEO of Algosaibi Holding. As a nonprofit social financing, Ebdaa Bank seeks to help low-income Bahraini make their way to business. Fawaz Algosaibi praised the efforts made by Ebdaa Bank to provide easy financing for low-incomers and for the prudent management practices implemented by the Bank. He expressed his full confidence in the ability of the bank to manage the amount of support and maximize the benefits.

Decentralized Islamic Bank Hada DBank Lands First Corporate Client

Hada DBank has landed its first corporate client in the shape of Uberstate. As part of the deal Uberstate will purchase $1 million worth of HADA tokens. Both the startups will look to support each other to make a sustainable crypto-economy possible. UberState is a platform for real estate investment and development by providing an opportunity for fractional ownership of big assets. Most of the value of the native token is backed by real estate assets and the token can be exchanged for goods and services around the world. Uberstate themselves are going to launch their token sale. Hada DBank CEO Hisyam M. believes that to have two blockchain-based projects working together is the true meaning of blockchain economy.

Noor Financial sells $16 million stake in Meezan Bank

Kuwait-based Noor Financial Investment Company (NFIC) has sold its stake in the Pakistani Meezan Bank Limited (MEBL), which is worth $16.014 million. A total of 2.49% of the total issued and paid up capital of the bank was sold and shares have been acquired by various foreign institutional investors at purchase price of Rs70 per share. Meezan Bank is planning to raise up to Rs7 billion by issuing Tier 1 Sukuk in the coming few months to shore up its capital adequacy ratio. According to the bank’s annual report for 2017 the capital adequacy ratio of Meezan Bank was at 12.89% last year, whereas its total assets grew 19% to reach Rs781 billion in December 2017, compared to Rs658 billion in 2016.

New Islamic banking service to be launched in Germany

AlBaraka Türk launches basic online Islamic account services in Germany utilizing solarisBank as service provider and license holder.

Ali Allawala appointed CEO of #Malaysia’s Standard Chartered Bank Islamic unit

Pakistani banker Ali Allawala has been appointed as the chief executive officer of the Islamic Unit of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia. Ali Allawala possesses over 22 years of experience in retail banking, both within conventional and Islamic banking. He joined Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan in 2012 and had previously worked for Citibank and Samba Financial Group. He was named "Best Islamic Consumer Banker in Pakistan 2015" by the Islamic Finance Awards. Mr. Allawala has extensive multi-product experience in business development, product management, distribution, digital banking and marketing.

#Kuwait's Noor Financial to divest stake in #Pakistan's largest Islamic bank

Noor Financial Investment Company will divest a portion of its 49% stake in Pakistan's Meezan Bank. The company is in preliminary discussions with foreign institutional investors for a proposed divestment of 9.59% of the total issued and paid up capital of Meezan. Noor has been mulling a sale since at least 2013. Meezan Bank is Pakistan’s fastest growing bank, it posted a profit in each year of operation and its net profits grew 13.5% in 2017 to $93 million. Noor’s stake in the bank was valued at $375 million in 2017.

VEB and The Islamic Development Bank Group to Establish a Partnership Fund Amounting up to $100 mln

Russia's Vnesheconombank (VEB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group will establish a Partnership Fund. According to VEB Chairman Sergei Gorkov, the joint fund will be based on the principles of Islamic finance and will aim at promoting investment in the Russian economy and financing high technologies. The joint contribution of VEB and the IDB Group to the fund's capital will amount up to $100 million. Third-party investors will be involved as well. Gorkov added that the Middle East market is one of the strategic areas of cooperation for Vnesheconombank. It plans to open a representative office in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and create a Russian business desk there. It will provide access to sales and capital markets in the region and create opportunities for partnership with local players.

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