Malaysia

RHB Bank opens Islamic unit in Singapore

RHB Banking Group is extending its Islamic banking services to Singapore reported Gabriel Chen on asiaone business.

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.

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.

SFS and Kuwait Finance House to launch shipping fund

Cyprus listed SFS Group and Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) aim to launch a USD 150 mn fund. Fund's objective is to invest directly in shipping assets and primarily in vessels to be chartered out on a long-term basis to top league charterers. The fund will be established through a limited partnership in the Cayman Islands before the end of 2009.

Ab Jabar Ab Rahman is the deputy chief executive officer of Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Berhad.

EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd aims to issue Sukuk year end

EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd, Malaysia hopes to raise about RM 80 mn to RM 100 mn through the issuance of Sukuk by year-end to finance the building of two high rise buildings on top of the mall as well as the mall’s refurbishment, reported Shannen Won in The Star Malaysia.

Malaysia's retail sukuk a success

Malaysia's retail Sukuk was a success and oversubscribed, now a second tranche is in preparation.

Danga Capital Sukuk raised MYR 1.6 bn

Danga Capital Bhd., a special purpose vehicle set up by the Malaysia government, raised a Sukuk, offering to MYR 1.6 bn (USD 443 mn) from MYR 1 bn. The 5-year tranche was priced at 4.22 % and the 7-year tranche at 4.49 % at the higher-end of the price guidance.

RAM Ratings has a AAA rating on Danga's planned MYR10 billion program with a long-term stable outlook.

CIMB Investment Bank Bhd. and AmInvestment Bank Bhd. are the joint lead managers and lead arrangers for the issue.

ACR ReTakaful SEA aims strategic alliance with an Islamic reinsurer in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic reinsurer ACR ReTakaful SEA expects to grow its business in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The company is interested in specialized risk, including special liabilities, offshore energy, aviation and satellite and space insurance. The firm was in talks to enter into a strategic alliance with an Islamic reinsurer in Malaysia, which would likely take place in September.

Egon Zehnder executive search assigned to find new EON Bank head

Yap Leng Kuen reported in the The Star that the International search firm Egon Zehnder International has been appointed to find a replacement for former EON Bank CEO Albert Lau Yiong.

Projections for Takaful - Views of Best RE CEO

Nopporn Wong-Anan wrote in Arabianbusiness on 30 March that Saleh Malaikah, chairman of Islamic reinsurance operator BEST Re sees the takaful business growing by 17 % over the next 3 years. The growth prospects lying in the fact that insurance coverage is not widely used in the Middle East and shows therefore potential; Saudi Arabia has a market share of 20 % in takaful from the overall insurance market, and promises the highest growth rate. In Malaysia the takaful market share has reached 30 %.

CIMB Islamic has USD 2.5 bn Sukuk in pipeline / plans infrastructure fund

B.K. SIDHU reported in The Star Malaysia on 30 Marcht that it has won 19 mandeates to raise nearly USD 2.5 bn from the Islamic capital markets and that it is planned to launch a USD 500 mn infrastructure fund. The issuers of the Sukuk are partially situated in the Gulf including a sovereign.

Badlisyah Abdul Ghani is the CIMB Islamic chief executive officer.

Bursa Malaysia Readies Islamic Short-Selling System

Bursa Malaysia’s regulated platform has not finalised the precise structure yet. But according to Bursa Malaysia CEO Yusli Mohamed Yusoff Short-selling is perceived as an essential ingredient for capital markets to perform efficiently.

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 aims to service demand among SMEs

Unicorn International Islamic Bank Malaysia Bhd, aims to achieve transactions totalling USD 400 mn to USD 500 mn this year as the demand for medium-sized issuance, especially sukuk and cross-border transactions from small and medium enterprises, continued to be strong with a ticket size of USD 50 to 100. A focus would be on bridging and construction financing, as well as placement of equities and funds.

Unicorn has four business lines – treasury, corporate banking, investment banking, and strategic acquisitions/direct investment.

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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i-VCAP Receives Securities Commission approval to be a full-fledged Islamic Fund Management Company

i-VCAP Management Sdn Bhd announced it has received approval from the Securities Commission to operate as an Islamic fund management company. The firm is doing Islamic fund management under the general licence for some time.

Zainal Izlan Zainal Abidin is the CEO.

Global sukuk sales to fall again in 2009

Experts are expecting further drop in Sukuk isssuance in 2009. Local currencies help to support the markets, K. Salman Younis, head of Kuwait Finance House's Asian operations was cited.

Malaysia’s capital market fundamentals stronger: Securities Commission

Malaysia’s capital market is fundamentally and prudentially stronger than during the 1997/98 financial crisis, according to the Securities Commission (SC). The market’s exposure to the current global financial turmoil is indirect, the commission said in its Annual Report 2008 released yesterday.

The country also guarantees 100 % of bank deposit until 2010, it said.
The Malaysian Islamic capital market also proved to be relatively resilient with 47 sukuk issues worth RM 43.2 bn approved by the SC last year, which accounted for 31 % of all corporate bonds approved.

Malaysia's PLUS issues RM 745 mn Sukuk

Malaysia's PLUS Expressways issues additional RM 745 mn via a specical purpose company, PLUS SPV Berhad based on Musharaka to investors identified via a book building process. The size of the book was successfully increased from RM 400 mn to RM 745 mn under the Sukuk program.

Malaysian bourse to launch Commodity Murabaha platform in June

Liau Y-Sing reported on Reuters, 5 March that Malaysia's stock exchange will launch in June a platform to allow banks to execute Commodity Murabaha transactions, a popular but controversial Islamic contract with a market worth more than USD 100 bn according to the International Islamic Financial Market. Any tangible asset that is sharia-compliant can be used in commodity murabaha transactions and palm oil is one obvious example. Malaysia is the world's No. 2 palm oil producer.

But some religious scholars have criticised the structure, saying it resembles conventional-based lending instruments. The Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions is of the view that the contract, while not invalid, is not ideal.

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