Financial Institutions

Benchmark, India launches Exchange Traded Fund

Shailesh Menon reported in Economic Times on 29 January that Benchmark Asset Management is launching a Shariah-compliant open-ended exchange traded fund. The scheme opens for subscription on February 4 and closes on February 25.

Shortfalls and Overbanking in the GCC

Rohit Chawdhry, portfolio manager of Bahrain Islamic Bank, analyses the issue of overbanking in the Gulf region and the institutions anticipating mergers in the February issue of The Middle East. He concludes that all state plans fostering project developments are not covered by a sufficiently large banking sector. The Institute of International Finance estimates there are about USD 1.9 trillion worth of projects under way in the region, making the GCC one of the largest project finance markets in the world. But analysts estimate that the present project finance, which includes bank lending, bond and equity issuance, has a funding shortfall of at least $900bn, if not more. To create banks which are able to shoulder a greater proportion of the financing needs of projects under construction, by state and private investors is the challenge of the policy makers.

Nigeria: Micro Bank Offers Islamic Compliant Services

Mustafa Abubakar reported in Daily Trust / Allafrica on 28 January that, The Kwara Commercial Micro Finance Bank is to offering Shari'ah compliant services and was officially commissioned in Ilorin on 27 January.

The bank will also offer other conventional banking services such as Micro loan, pay plus, small business loan and agricultural loan. The director of the bank Olayinka Blackshear said the state Governor Dr. Bukola Saraki in partnership with other interests took the initiative to facilitate the incorporation of the bank, in a bid to boost grassroots economy.

S&P: Shamil Bank of Bahrain 'BBB-/A-3' Ratings Withdrawn At Bank's Request

Press Release

PARIS (Standard & Poor's) Jan. 28, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it affirmed its 'BBB-/A-3' ratings on Shamil Bank of Bahrain. The outlook on the ratings remains negative. The ratings were subsequently withdrawn at the bank's request.

As a result of the withdrawal, Shamil will no longer be subject to Standard & Poor's review. At the moment of the ratings withdrawal, the bank had no rated debt outstanding.

Amlak meeting to consider job cuts

Amlak Finance, the mortgage financer will consider job cuts at its board meeting on 31 January the company announced in a statement along to discuss the merger proceedings with Tamweel and earnings. Amlak and Tamweel will be both taken over by Abu-Dhbai based Real Estate Bank, merge with the Emirates Industrial Bank under the new name Emirates Development Bank according to reporting by the state news agency WAM in November.

Pakistan’s Islamic Banks Plan to Open 230 New Outlets in 2009

Shanthy Nambiar and Farhan Sharif reported on Bloomberg, 27 January, that Pakistan's Islamic banks plan to expand their network of outlets this year to take advantage of rising demand for Shariah-compliant financing according to Pervez Said, director of Islamic banking at the State Bank of Pakistan. These banks have 500 branches, after adding 210 outlets last year. Pakistan is promoting growth in Islamic finance to expand the reach of the banking sector which has less than 25 million deposit accounts. Shariah-compliant facilities are forecast to rise to 277 billion rupees ($3.5 billion) this year from 185 billion in 2008, according to central bank data.

New Saudi-Arabian Property Financer as JV between Al-Khabeer and Al Mutajara

Al-Khabeer Merchant Finance Corporation built a Joint-Venture with Al Mutajara installments company to establish ‘Dari for Home Loans,’ a new SAR 1 bn capitalised Saudi joint-stock company-under development stage, which will specialise in financing the construction and purchase of houses and residential properties in accordance with Islamic Sharia principles.

Dari Home Loans will become one of the first real estate financing companies in the Kingdom to specifically cater to the middle income sector. It will not include property developers among its pool of clients.

Dari Home Loans is currently appointing personnel and officials for managing its human resources and is negotiating with a global partner for the transfer of management experience to this sector in the Kingdom. Al-Khabeer is adopting its turnkey and integrated banking solutions to develop Dari, as Al-Khabeer directs the finance and advisory for the company. The new property funding firm’s founders are confident that it will be fully established in a short span of time given the strength of the Kingdom’s economy.

Mohammad Sheikh is Chief Operating Officer of Dari Home Loans.

Gatehouse Bank plc announces the establishment and first issue under the Milestone Sukuk platform

Gatehouse Bank plc has announced the establishment of a USD 1 bn Sukuk programme by Milestone Capital PCC ("Milestone"). Gatehouse Bank is the Arranger and Dealer of the Milestone programme as published in a press release via Zawya on 27 January.

The first Sukuk issue under the Milestone platform was successfully completed recently. The Milestone programme is listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange and certificates issued under the programme are entered into the Euroclear and Clearstream clearing systems, with BNP Paribas Securities Services acting as common depositary. Milestone Capital PCC is a Jersey based orphan Protected Cell Company, designed to allow the efficient creation of new, segregated, bankruptcy remote cells. Each cell has the ability to issue a diverse range of Sukuk certificates, which is proving very appealing for issuers and investors alike.

David Testa is the CEO of Gatehouse. Ashurst LLP is the legal advisor to Gatehouse Bank on the transaction.

Saudi banks suffer end of year losses

Joanna Hartley reported on 24 January that the Saudi banking sector has posted poor results for the last quarter of 2008 impacted by the global economic environment according to Fitch rating, saying that 2009 will be challenging. The preliminary 2008 results released by the 10 main commercial banks in the kingdom confirmed that the last quarter of 2008 was the worst quarter of the year for all. Despite this the 10 banks remain among the highest rated by Fitch Ratings across the GCC region and generally have sound domestic franchises.

The expectation of tougher conditions for the banks and lower profitability in the coming months resulted in most banks' individual ratings being downgraded in December 2008. Their long-term issuer default ratings largely remain driven by the extremely high probability of support from the Saudi Arabian government (rated 'AA-').

Bahrain Islamic Bank lowers profits marginally

Bahrain Islamic Bank announced on 21 January that its financial results for the year 2008, decreased to BD 22.3 mn net income from BD 25 mn for the year 2007, after making provisions against contingences that may arise in case the current international financial and economic crisis continues further.

The board of Directors has decided to propose to the Bank's AGM the distribution of 20% of dividends of paid up capital as of 31st December 2008 as 10% cash and another 10% bonus shares.

Largest Islamic bank to be launced by June

Liau Y-Sing reported on 23 January that the largest Islamic bank is announced to be launched in June operating out of Bahrain with a paid up capital of USD 11 bn; the Islamic Development Bank being the largest shareholder according to Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, chairman of the General Council of Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions. The bank, which has yet to be formally named, has been in the pipeline for several years and is currently undergoing final review by IDB on its capital input. While a total of $1 billion will be raised by private investors, including IDB, the other $10 billion is expected to come from an IPO on the Bahrain stock exchange, Sheikh Saleh Abdulla Kamel is cited.

Bank Al Jazira plans SAR 150 mn dividend

Bank Al Jazira`s Board plans a SAR 150 million or SAR 0.5 a share, cash dividend payout for 2008.

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Dar eyes UK Islamic banking unit

Arabian Business reported on 28 April that Investment Dar its proposed British bank unit 'Dar Capital' might start with capital of up to GBP 100 mn. A project study should be finished by year-end.

Chairman of Investment Dar is Adnan Al-Musallam.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/517695-dar-eyes-uk-bank-with-up-to-100-ml...

Gatehouse Bank licensed as 5th Islamic investment bank in London

Gatehouse Bank, a subsidiary of the Kuwait-based investment firm The Securities House KSCC, has been approved as an investment bank by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and can now offer Shariah-compliant products.

David Testa is chief executive at Gatehouse.

Source: http://www.ukinvest.gov.uk/OurWorld/4029877/en-GB.html

Gulf Islamic banks continue to outperform conventional peers

Darren Stubing reported on 27 April Gulf Islamic banks continue to grow at a strong pace in excess of conventional banks in the GCC countries.

Islamic financial institutions exceed the return on assets of their peers in the Gulf (3.6 % vs. 2.4 %) and the return on equity (24 % vs. 19 %), net profit grew 11 % compared to 5 %.

Banks with retail banking proved stronger and more conventional banks consider converting to Islamic bank status, such as the Commercial Bank in Kuwait, however, Islamic banks do required better economies of scale to drive down cost-income ratios, which can be achieved by cross-border expansion including M&A.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2008/4/pages/04272008_70eea8abe8c54a...

JP Morgan eyes stake in Kuwait Finance House

Reuters reported on 20 April that JP Morgan eyes a stake in Kuwait Finance House quoting a local daily al-Anba based on an unsourced report. The local paper shall have said that the U.S. bank had applied to the central bank of Kuwait to approve a stake buy, adding it was unclear how large a stake it wanted to acquire.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/innovationNews/idUSL2066795520080420

Sharia compliant Ajman Bank holds founding general assembly meeting

Albawaba reported on 20 April that Ajman Bank PJSC it had held its Founding General Assembly meeting for shareholders of the company.
Convened on Wednesday 16 April, the shareholders approved all of the meeting’s resolutions including the completion of the incorporation of the Bank; the adoption of the Bank’s Memorandum and Articles of Association; the Founders’ report and the Pre IPO Auditing report.

Ajman Bank will be Ajman’s first commercial bank. Investors include the Government of Ajman and some of the UAE’s leading financial institutions and private individuals.

The Board of Directors comprises:

HH Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Vice Chairman
HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member
Dr Ali Rashid Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Member
Mr Ali bin Abdullah Al Hamrani, Member
Mr Yousef Ali Fadil Bin Fadil, Member
Mr Salem Rashid Al Khadar, Member

The Fatwa and Shariah Board comprises:

Dr Husain Hamid Hassan, Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrazaq Al Siddiq,
Dr Jassim Ali Al Shamsi

Yousif Khalaf, the CEO of Ajman Bank and former CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank and Ithmaar Bank.

Dubai Islamic Bank and DIC in talks to open bank in Jordan

Business 24/7 reported on 16 April that Dubai International Capital (DIC) talks with Dubai Islamic Bank about setting up a Shariah-compliant Islamic bank in Jordan.

Sameer Al Ansari heads Dubai International Capital. DIC manages a $500 million (Dh1.8 billion) fund investing in Jordan.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

Alinma's USD 2.8 bn IPO oversubscribed

Tradearabia reported on 15 April that the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the new Islamic bank, Alinma, oversubscribed the SAR 10.5 bn (USD 2.8 bn) three days before the close of subscriptions.

Alinma Bank sought to sell 1.05 billion shares at 10 riyals each representing 70 % of the banks capital. The bank raised 10.64 billion riyals from about 5.4 million subscribers.

The Public Investment Fund and two state pension funds - the General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI) and the Public Pension Agency - will equally share the remaining 30 % of Alinma's SAR 15 bn capital.

Source: http://www.tradearabia.com/news/CM_141803.html

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