Financial Institutions

Malaysia to Seek Large Islamic Banks for International Reach

Malaysian Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said to Bloomberg, that an international Islamic financial institution of a large size that can take international business, whether business in Europe, or South Korea or any part of the world is wanted to be seen, reported Shanthy Nambiar and Haslinda Amin on Bloomberg.

Amlak Finance will halve its s take in a property investment

Amlak Finance will halve its investment in Sky Gardens, a tower located near the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Amlak had purchased properties in various parts of Dubai to sell them to potential purchasers. As buyers have become fewer, the company decided to scale back its investment.

Dubai Islamic Bank offers to buy back Sukuk up to USD 200 mn

Dubai Islamic Bank offered to buy back up to USD 200 mn of sukuk. Pricing shall be at least 86 % of face value, but not more than 90 % determined by an auction.

Dubai Islamic has USD 750 mn of sukuk due 2012.

Noor Islamic Bank closes Rep Office in Tunisia

Noor Islamic Bank closes its representative office in Tunis. The decision shall be taken as expansion plans have been revisited towards focussing on the Gulf region.

Addendum: Noor Islamic Bank denied the closure of the rep office in a press release.

New Islamic brokerage firm in Kazakhstan

Fattah Finance was launched in March, immediately after Kazakhstan's law on Islamic finance came into force.
A subsidiary of Almaty-based financial services provider Almaty Financial Centre, Fattah currently offers only brokerage services, but plans to expand its range of activities later this year as it grows its team. It offers its clients shares that are listed both in Kazakhstan and in other markets. "It doesn't matter where the shares are listed, only whether they are Sharia compliant or not," says Ussenzhan Turdiev, head of Fattah's information and analysis department.

The full interview by Clare Nuttal can be read via the link below.

Fitch has affirmed Al-Rajhi A+

Fitch Ratings affirmed Al-Rajhi's long-term issuer default rating (IDR) at "A+" with a stable outlook. Its short-term IDR at "F1", individual rating at "B/C" and support rating at '1'. The bank continues to dominate the Islamic market segment and retail banking, which has been historically its main focus. The bank's long-term IDR is unlikely to change unless the sovereign rating changes.

ABC International Bank plc ("ABCIB") has appointed Faisal Alshowaikh as Head of Islamic Financial Services

ABC International Bank plc ("ABCIB") has appointed Faisal Alshowaikh as Head of Islamic Financial Services, based in London, to grow and develop its Islamic finance business, which was first established in late 1999, and includes Real Estate, Leasing and Islamic home finance through its alburaq retail finance business

IDB unit funds PT Bank Negara Indonesia expansion to Asia

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, a unit of Islamic Development Bank plans to invest as much as USD 500 mn in PT Bank Negara Indonesia’s Shariah- compliant banking unit to help it expand in Asia, specifically Indonesia, Southern Thailand and Malaysia.

The nation’s Shariah-compliant banking assets rose 47 % to 48.4 trillion rupiah (USD 4.6 bn) at the end of 2008, according to Bank Indonesia data.

Islamic National Bank in Gaza as sign of divide

The new Islamic National Bank is regarded as sign of divide between the Palestinians. The Palestinian Monethariy Authority refused the license, being the recognised body according to the Oslo agreement in 1993 and Paris economic agreement on 1994 between the Palestinians and Israelis. Alternatively the bank has sent its establishing papers to the Prime Minister's office in Gaza and they have given it authorisation to start banking activities in Gaza.

Unlike other banks, it has no global serial number (swift code) which makes it impossible to work with other banks around the world or even in the Palestinian territories. The main clientele of the bank are Gaza Government employees, approximately 31,000.

Islamic Bank of Asia launches its first liquidity product

The USD Islamic Placement is similar to a conventional fixed deposit, except it is based on the Shariah principle of Murabaha, with a minimum of USD 500.000.

Islamic Bank of Asia considers license in Malaysia

Islamic Bank of Asia reacts positive on the announcement that Malaysia would issue up to 6 new licences for foreign institutions.

Barwa considers acquisitions in Qatar

Barwa is studying acquisition of a number of financial and investment companies in Qatar, under the umbrella of Barwa Bank, including "The First Finance", "The First Investor" and "The First for Renting" companies.

First Islamic window in Mauritius by HSBC

HSBC launches its Amanah Islamic banking services in Mauritius, being the first Islamic window provider. The new services is primarily for international business clients in the offshore sector. Local clients may follow later.

Sandeep Uppal is the CEO of HSBC in Mauritius.

Creditworthiness Of Gulf Banks Is Likely To Weaken In 2009, S&P says

Press Release

LONDON, April 29, 2009--The credit profile of Gulf banks will likely deteriorate this year, notably because of the tougher operating environment, lower business volumes, tighter liquidity, and the region's stock market slump since the end of third-quarter 2008, said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in a report published today.

"We believe that as a result, asset quality and profitability of the banks that we rate are likely to suffer," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Mohamed Damak, lead author of the report, "Tougher Environment Weakens Financial Profile Of Gulf Banks And Pressures Their Credit Ratings."

Indeed, we believe that 2009 will prove to be a difficult year for most Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) banks.

"On a positive note, thanks to their good financial profile, Gulf banks have entered this tougher environment from a position of relative strength," said Mr. Damak.

Dubai Islamic Bank's shareholders agreed Monday to increase its capital

Dubai Islamic Bank's shareholders agreed Monday to increase its capital by 3 billion dirhams (USD 816 mn) over five years. The bank said in an emailed statement that shareholders at a general assembly also agreed to convert an 3.75 billion-dirham deposit from the Ministry of Finance into Tier 2 capital.

Gassner's picture

Need for SME finance? Lack of cooperative banks in the GCC!

Dear Reader,

Just reading an article how much the UAE economy needs the small and medium sized companies and how much difficulties they face to be financed by banks:

http://www.business24-7.ae/articles/2009/4/pages/26042009/04272009_46940...

One issue I missed in this article:

Not a word mentions the role of cooperative / mutual banks or the saving & loans; both financial institutions, which are non profit by its bylaws but dedicated to their members or region. This sector has about 50 % of the total banks balance sheet in my home country Germany, where small and medium sized companies are the backbone of the economy.

So, what is missing in the GCC desperately is setting up cooperative banks and regional saving banks - both can be done Islamically.

Specialised banks needed for SME finance in UAE

Various experts were interviewed and confirmed the need for special banks addressing the needs of small and medium sized companies in the UAE.

Amlak and Tamweel still in need for refunding

The UAE’s two largest Islamic home finance companies will need to secure adequate funding before they can re-start lending, the chairman of Tamweel. Both firms have been funded by banks on short term maturities, a business model, which does no longer work.

Mega bank to be founded in Bahrain

The whole-sale "mega bank" initiated by Saleh Kamel, Chairman of Dallah Albaraka Group shall be situated in Bahrain and is going to fundraise this year reported Shakir Husain in Gulf News. The bank should be business even outside the Muslim regions.

The bank's founders will contribute USD 1 bn in equity and USD 10 bn will be raised by offering shares to the public. Another USD 200 bn is planned to come from sukuk issuance and investment funds.

Among the main shareholders will be the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Jeddah-based multilateral lending agency, Dallah Albaraka Group, Kuwaiti Real Estate Bank and another 10 banks. There are two possible names being considered for the bank, which are Al Imar and Al Istikhlaf.

Albaraka plans to enter France

Al Baraka Banking Group said it planned to enter the French market to tap into Western Europe's largest Muslim community reported Will Waterman in Arabianbusiness. Further Al Baraka's units in North Africa are planning tie-ups with French partners to "establish Islamic banking in France", it said in a statement on the Nasdaq Dubai, where it is also listed. However no legal agreements have been finalised

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