The Independent

Jaiz Bank: Balancing the Business and The Market

After the first tier commercial banks in Nigeria, Jaiz Bank was the most active stock on the exchange with volumes of 7,179,550 with a total value of N4,682,686.00. The increased activity is indicative of swinging sentiments in favour of the stock. But the stock has underperformed the All Share Index (ASI) in the last six months as it returned a negative 45% while the ASI returned 40%. Jaiz Bank managed to grow its Gross Income in the first half year ending June to N3.25 billion from N2.56 billion. Income from Finance Investment grew 19.82% to N2.95 billion from N2.46 billion while Sukuk leapt 198.3% to N293.35 million from N98.35 million. Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Kwara State governor highlighted there was a lot of scope for growth for the bank and Islamic banking in Nigeria. Hassan Usman, the bank’s managing director, said he was optimistic about the future of the bank and therefore urged everyone irrespective of their religious background to key into the model.

Bahrain Islamic Bank plans £166m sale of non-core assets

Bahrain Islamic Bank is seeking to sell about 82m dinars (£166m) of unproductive assets such as land and shares as part of a five-year plan to boost growth. The lender sold 14m dinars-worth of these assets in the first half and plans the sale of a similar amount in the remainder of the year. S&P Global Ratings downgraded Bahrain in February because its vulnerability to slumping oil prices has increased since 2009. Fitch Ratings expects Bahrain’s general government debt to rise to almost 80% of GDP this year, from 62% in 2015. According to CEO Hassan Jarrar, Bahrain Islamic Bank plans to boost revenue by 20 to 25% annually, achieve a return on equity of 15% to 16% and cut its cost-to-income ratio to mid-40% from 60% over two years.

Uganda embraces Islamic banking

Financial inclusion in Uganda is expected to deepen following a move by Parliament to enact a new financial law hence paving way for Islamic banking in the country. The legislators passed the Financial Institutions (amendment) Bill 2015 on Jan.7, a decision that will see individuals who had been locked out of mainstream banking by virtue of their faith or religious affiliation able to access financial services with less hindrance, once signed into law. The law will also allow financial institutions to roll out agency banking as well as offer ‘bancassurance’ products. According to Bank of Uganda data, the country’s bank account holders stand at just four million — mainly from the urban areas — out of the bankable population of about 12 million people.

Sharia-compliant savings and bank accounts rocket in popularity across Britain

More savers than ever are turning to Islamic accounts in Great Britain. Tim Sinclair is head of marketing and retail sales at Al Rayan Bank, formerly known as the Islamic Bank of Britain. He says that business has taken off in the past 18 months. A large part of this growth was driven by non-Muslims. Mohammad Khan, head of Islamic finance at PwC, thinks that ethical concerns are one driver of interest in sharia-compliant products, but not the main reason. The competitiveness of the Shariah products is also an important incentive. For example, six of Al Rayan’s savings products are currently listed in the Moneyfacts “best buy” tables.

Islamic Gatehouse Bank to aid UK housing crisis

London-based Gatehouse Bank plans to build 6,600 rental homes and gain from the shortage in decent housing stock. The bank hopes to gain from the big shift in the country’s housing market away from buying to renting. Gatehouse has formed a joint venture with the property developer Sigma Capital to leap into the sector. Initially they will build 2,000 new homes in Liverpool and Salford at a cost of about £200m before going on, if the venture proves a success, to build a further 4,600 properties with a further £500m investment. If successful, it would overtake Britain’s biggest stock market-quoted landlord, Grainger Trust, which has currently got 4,000 homes. Gatehouse already has a £1bn property portfolio across the UK and US.

Sale of Leeds United will make GFH Capital a tidy profit

Bahraini GFH Capital is considering selling a majority stake of Championship club Leeds United which it has owned since December 21. GFH bought Leeds from Ken Bates for £17million plus payments based on reaching the Premier League within four years. A multi-national consortium led by former Hull City executive Adam Pearson has made proposals to buy either 51 per cent or all of GFH's shareholding, which values Leeds at around £25m. According to a GFH statement, they received an offer for a majority stake that has not been accepted, although they have been seeking strategic investors.

Banks targeted in Gaza

The Hamas own bank, 'Islamic National Bank', was destroyed on Tuesday in an Israeli strike. Among other targets following was a villa that residents said belonged to Azzam al-Showa, the president of al-Quds Bank, which has no obvious ties to Hamas. No one was home when an Israeli F-16 struck late Tuesday night.

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