Islamic Banking

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Bahrain Islamic Bank receives first rating from Moody`s

Martin Morris reported on 10 February on Arabianbusiness that Moody's Investors Service, has assigned Baa1 long-term and Prime-2 short-term local and foreign currency issuer ratings and a D+ bank financial strength rating (BFSR) to Bahrain Islamic Bank. (BisB). The rating outlook is stable.

Sharjah Islamic Bank profit drops 23 %

Sharjah Islamic Bank released that its profits declined 23 % to AED 231.59 mn in 2008, down from AED 301.83 mn in 2007.

Amlak Finance Jordan reducing its capital

The board of Amlak Finance Jordan decided to reduce its capital to 1 mn Jordinian Dinar in order to preserve the rights of the shareholders, and in consideration of the global financial crisis, which hit specifically the mortgage markets.

The main investors in the company are cited, that the decision on this specific sector does not preclude high confidence in the Jordanian investment environment and the strength of the Jordanian economy, which is less affected by the crisis than other region and stressing that their investments in other crucial sectors in the Kingdom are still ongoing according to plans.

GBCorp income rises 8.1 % to USD 53.1 mn

Global Banking Corporation (GBCorp), the Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, said its total income in 2008 increased 8.1 % to USD 53.1 mn compared to USD 49.2 mn for the previous year. Its net profit reached USD 21.2 mn. Total assets reached 93 % to USD 455.9 mn against USD 236.2 mn for the previous year. The bank had USD 723 mn worth of fund under its management.

Bank Indonesia to reduce CAR for banks aiming to spin off Islamic commercial bank

Bank Indonesia plans to reduce the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) for conventional banks wishing to set up a shariah commercial bank through a spin-off from Rp 1 trillion to Rp 500 billion as of March.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), looks into establishing an Islamic bank in Indonesia as partner.

The Islamic Bank of Asia aims for expansion

The Islamic Bank of Asia, majority owned by DBS is looking for acquisition opportunities in Malaysia and Indonesia, although it is also keen on Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. The Islamic Bank of Asia currently focuses on commercial banking, corporate finance, capital market and wealth management services. The step towards Malaysia and Indonesia targets the retail markets.

Kuwait Finance House Malaysia more than doubles paid up capital

Kuwait Finance House Malaysia said last Friday it has received a USD 300 mn capital injection from its parent, increasing the paid-up capital to USD 500 mn.

Qatar Islamic Bank announces profit growth

Mohamed Salem reported in The Peninsula that Qatar Islamic Bank released a net profit to QR 1.64 bn, representing a 30.8 % growth over 2007. The profit in 2007 was QR1.25bn. The bank also announced it plans to launch a rights issue to raise its capital by 10 %.

UAE Cabinet appoints Steering Committee to Review, Develop Strategies for Amlak, Tamweel

UAE Cabinet appoints Steering Committee to Review, Develop Strategies for Amlak, Tamweel. The high-level Committee, headed by H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, brings together experts from across ministries and regulatory bodies. The move highlights the federal government's support to the UAE economy and strengthening of its financial institutions. The Committee will draw up a comprehensive report of Amlak's and Tamweel's performances under the changed economic environment and present its recommendations on the way forward to the government by the end of February.

Ajman Bank officially launched

Ajman Bank is officially launched as the Emirate of Ajman`s first Islamic commercial bank. The bank will serve the community and emphasize social corporate responsibility.

Yousif Khalaf is the CEO of Ajman Bank.

Kuwait Finance House’s 2008 posts profit before provision and increase income

Edward Russell reported on Financeasia on 2 February, that Kuwait Finance House’s (KFH) 2008 posts profit before charges but faces falling revenues. In Q4, KFH's revenue fell 16.3 % quarter-on-quarter to KD 185 mn. The revenue decline increased 3.7 % from the previous quarter when it fell 12.5 % quarter-on-quarter. Despite the decline in revenues in the second half of the year, the bank managed to report an overall increase in income of 6.5 % year-on-year.

The finance house's unaudited full-year net profit totalled KD 157 mn(USD 542 mn on revenues of KD 884.9 mn. Given the current economic environment, KFH announced to retain KD 211 mn as a "provision". After the KD 211 mn provision, KFH lost anywhere between KD4 8 mn and KD54 mn for the year. Full-year and fourth-quarter audited results have yet to be released.

Iran: Cooperative Development Bank planned

Iran Daily reported on 1 February that the director of Iran Privatization Organization (IPO) has said the organization plans to establish the first-ever cooperative development bank.

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.

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.

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.

Two Gulf banks possibly to be licensed in France

Stanley Carvalho reported on 21 January in Arabianbusiness that two financial institutions in the Gulf may be licensed to introduce Islamic banking in france later this year according to a member of the French banking delegation, one of them being Qatar Islamic Bank, the second possibly located in Bahrain.

Islamic finance media house set up

Shariah consultancy Yasaar has announced the launch of a dedicated Islamic finance media entity called Yasaar Media. Yasaar Media recognises that there is a serious need for an information provider in the Islamic finance industry that produces in-depth reports and studies on specific market niches, asset classes and countries.

The people behind Yasaar Media are Paul McNamara and Majid Dawood.

Europlance wants to promote Islamic finance and banks in Paris

Nasser Al Harthy reported in The Peninsula on 21 January about Paris-based Europlace that it welcomes sukuk issuers on NYSE Euronext and the setting up of Islamic banks in Paris. Arnaud de Bresson, Managing Director of Paris Europlace, said the new reforms that were adopted concerned authorisation of Shariah-indexed mutual funds, listing of sukuk in France, tax neutrality on Murabaha (transactions on real estate property, shares, machinery and commodities) as well as tax deduction on renumeration of sukuk.

Syria approves Al Baraka banking partnership

Gulf News published based on Bloomberg 15 January an article regarding the governmental approval for Emirates Islamic Bank, Kuwait Syrian Holding, and two Saudi investors from the Al Rajhi family to partner with Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group, setting up Al Baraka Bank-Syria. The bank plans an IPO at the end of Q1 to sell 35 % according to Amir Assassa, a founding member of Albaraka Bank-Syria. Assassa said that Albaraka Banking Group will own 23 % in the Syrian bank, Syrian investors 16 %, Emirates Islamic 10 % and Kuwait Syrian Holding, which is partly owned by the Al Kharafi Group, 5 %, he said.

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