Financial Institutions

Malaysian Rating Corp. plans to offer Sharia Ratings

Malaysian Rating Corp. starts offering from July 2009 onwards services to rate the degree of Sharia compliance of Islamic financial institutions. The audit will review the risk management culture and frequence of Sharia meetings aside from management skills.

The Agency targets fund managers, insurers and banks in Malaysia first before it plans expansion to South-East Asia.

Mohd Razlan Mohamed is the CEO of the Malaysian Rating Corp.

Unicorn Malaysia announces maiden net profit

Unicorn International Islamic Bank Malaysia Berhad has reported a net profit of MYR 812,546 (USD 223,993) for 2008, its first full year of operation with an international Islamic bank license awarded under the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) initiative. Unicorn Malaysia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bahrain-based Unicorn Investment Bank.

The bank, with the BNM’s approval, has also increased its paid-up capital via a non-renounceable rights issue. As of year-end 2008, the Bank’s paid-up capital stood at MYR 71.9 million (USD 19.8 mn), versus a MIFC minimum capital requirement of MYR 10 million (USD 2.7 mn)

Unicorn Malaysia has four business lines: Treasury, Corporate Banking, Investment Banking and Strategic Acquisitions/Direct Investment.

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Ithmaar Bank outlines 2008 achievements

Ithmaar outlines 2008 achievements and concludes that due to good diversification the global crisis has been well mastered. Ithmaar reported USD 85.2 mn in consolidated profits for 2008.

Ithmaar Bank, a Bahrain-based investment bank with global reach, heads a regional banking and financial services group that comprises more than 20 subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures. Their combined activities, covering investment, private, retail, and commercial banking, private equity, Islamic insurance and assurance, equipment leasing, and real estate development, form a unique 360 degrees value chain that embraces the entire spectrum of banking and financial services.

Michael P. Lee is CEO of Ithmaar Bank.

In February 2009, following a meeting of the Bank’s Board of Directors, Ithmaar reported $85.2 million in consolidated profits for 2008. Of these profits, $22.2 million are attributable to the Bank’s shareholders. Ithmaar also reported significant growth in both its total assets and its funds under management, and said its balance sheet remains strong, with liquid assets at $1.3 billion, representing around 23 percent of its total assets.

Al-Salam Bank Bahrain progressing merger talks with Bahrain Saudi Bank

Bahrain-based lenders Al Salam Bank and Bahrain Saudi Bank said in a joint statement posted on the Bahrain stock exchange that the due diligence and evaluation is expected to be completed in the coming weeks. The planned merger would create a bank with combined market value of USD 400 mn.

The two banks said regulators and shareholders would be approached in April to approve the deal.

Call for Islamic Microfinance in Nigeria

Maje T. Sanusi reported in the Triumph Newspaper on 24 Marcht about the Micro-Finance Investors Forum organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and held in Kano. The Principal of Oasis Associates, Malam Ahmad Dogara has called for Islamic Micro financing in the Nigeria’s banking system.

Annual General Meeting Shamil Bank

Shamil Bank has taken over Faisal Private Bank in Switzerland completely and is itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ithmaar Bank. Shamil Bank also acquired a 34 % stake in takaful company Solidarity.

Shamil Bank reported USD 66.8 mn in total income, and a net profit of USD 22.8 mn last year during their Annual General Meeting.

Faisal Al Alwan is the CEO of Shamil Bank.

ADIB board approves AED 2 bn sukuk

The board of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has approved issuing a AED 2 bn (USD 545 mn) sukuk to the government.

Reuters: Dubai Islamic Bank prepares USD 817 mn capital hike

Dubai Islamic Bank is considering raising AED 3 bn (USD 817 mn) in fresh capital and converting emergency government deposits into regulatory capital. The bank's board of directors would discuss the two measures on March 25, the bank said on Tuesday in a statement on the bourse website.

Rival banks, such as Union National Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Emirates NBD Bank in the UAE have already launched similar moves.

KuveytTürk aims to enter German retail market

KuveytTürk aims to cater for German Muslims from payment services to the whole range of Islamic finance products in the years to come. The application process for a financial services branch with both regulators is ongoing but not yet finished contrary to what media sources were reporting yesterday.

Amlak and Tamweel's future direction is getting clearer

Nadia Saleem reported in the Gulf News that the possible merger of the UAE's largest Islamic mortgage providers, Amlak Finance and Tamweel, is in the final stages of being resolved, while the liquidation option has been taken off the table and quotes Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy informing reporters about it.

Aside from merger, keeping them seperate and liquidation was under discussion.

Nigeria circulates draft of Islamic banking regulation

According to Les Afriques the Central Bank of Nigeria is circulating a draft of their regulation for Sharia compliant financial institutions.

IDB plans USD 500 mn sukuk

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) said that it planned a USD 500 mn sukuk, to finance its 2009 financing program.

Russian VTB Bank to enter sukuk issuance market

Oksana Kobzeva reported on 18 March on ArabianBusiness that Russia's second largest bank VTB may become the country's first issuer of sukuk. VTB Capital and Liquidity Management House, a subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House, on Wednesday signed a protocol of intention aimed at cooperating in the development of Islamic finance in Russia and other former Soviet countries.

VTB Capital is headed Yuri Solovyov

Islamic Bank of Britain reduces losses in 2008

Islamic Bank of Britain, which offers Sharia-compliant banking services for individuals and businesses, reduced its loss by 15 % to GBP 5.9 mn in 2008 down from GBP 6.9 mn 2007. The bank put the reduction down primarily to growth in fee and commission income.

The customer numbers increased by 10 % to over 47,000 and deposits increased by 15 % GBP to 158 mn.

Two new major products were launched, an Islamic home finance and a 60-day notice savings account, which was launched in December 2008.

Unicorn Bank to make further investment of USD 12.9 mn in Dawood Islamic Bank

Dawood Islamic Bank Limited has received Rs. 1 billion (USD 12.9 mn) investment from Unicorn Investment Bank Limited, based in Bahrain , this was stated in a statement issued from Bank’s headoffice in Karachi. Dawood Islamic Bank launched in 2007 with an initial paid-up capital of Rs. 3 billion. The Dawood Islamic bank has a branch network of 21 branches spread over the major cities of Pakistan , including Karachi , Lahore , Islamabad , Faisalabad , Multan , Sialkot , Iqbalabad and Joharabad.

Unicorn already had a 22.2 % equity stake in Dawood Islamic Bank prior to the current investment. With the new investment the equity of Unicorn Investment Bank, in Dawood Islamic Bank has increased to 37% percent

Aamir Khan is Managing Director and Head Global Private Equity of Unicorn Investment Bank and a founder Director of Dawood Islamic Bank

Said Rafique Dawood is Chairman Dawood Islamic Bank.

Ratings On Dubai-Based Government-Related Entities Lowered On Deteriorating Economic

Press Release

Dial-in Details for 11AM GMT/3PM Dubai Teleconference To Discuss Rating Actions Below

DUBAI, March 17, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today said it had lowered its ratings on six Dubai-based government-related entities (GREs) by one notch. The 'A+' ratings on DIFC Investments LLC, DP World Ltd., Jebel Ali Free Zone (FZE), and JAFZ Sukuk Ltd. were lowered to 'A', and the 'A-1' short-term ratings were affirmed. The 'A/A-1' ratings on Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Authority were lowered to 'A-/A-2', while the 'A+' long-term rating on Dubai Holding Commercial Operations Group LLC (DHCOG) was also lowered to 'A'. The outlook on all entities remains negative. (A separate research update for each of the entities will follow.)

Thee ratings on the GREs reflect both their individual stand-alone credit profiles and our expectation that the United Arab Emirates (UAE; unrated) federal government, backed by its largest constituent, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (AA/Stable/A-1+), will continue to provide, as and when the need arises, financial support to the Dubai government, which owns the rated GREs.

Four Dubai-Based Banks Long-Term Ratings Placed On CreditWatch Negative On Deteriorating Operating Environment

PARIS (Standard & Poor's) March 17, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it has placed its long-term counterparty credit ratings on four Dubai-based banks, namely Emirates Bank International PJSC (EBI), National Bank of Dubai (NBD), Mashreqbank, and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) on CreditWatch with negative implications (see ratings list below). The 'A-1' short-term ratings on EBI, NBD, and Mashreqbank were also put on CreditWatch with negative implications, while the 'A-2' short-term rating on DIB was affirmed. This action reflects our growing concerns regarding the impact on the banking sector of the economic downturn in Dubai.

BBK looking for other acquisitions after merger with Shamil Bank was cancelled

Frederik Richter reported on 15 March based on Reuters that Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK) is looking for opportunities to acquire after the planned merger with rival Shamil Bank was put on hold.

BBK recently created its fully-owned Islamic investment bank Capinnova. BBK has a market capitalization of about $1.04 billion and a market share of 15-20 percent in the Bahraini retail market, according to its own estimates. (Reuters)

Tunisia: New Islamic bank ahead: Banque Islamique Zitouna

Les Afriques reported on 7 March that Mohamed Sakhr El Materi, President of Princesse El Materi Holding has received end of January the regulatory agreement to create the commercial bank Zitouna.

Existing Islamic banks in Tunisia are Best Bank (Bank Ettamwil Tounsi Saoudi) and Noor Islamic Bank, the latter with its regional office.

Futurebank sees 20.9 % increase in net profit in 2008

Futurebank sees 20.9% increase in net profit in 2008 and net profit rises to BD 10.7 mn.

Dr. Valiollah Seif is Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.
Dr. Hamid Borhani is the Chairman of Futurebank.

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