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Abu Dhabi's Al Hilal Bank seeks rating, to issue sukuk in Q3

Al Hilal Bank plans to issue a debut Islamic bond worth $500 million in the third quarter of this year, according to its chief executive Mohamed Berro. The bank aims to fund growth, diversify its balance sheet, and benchmark the bank in on the debt market. Al Hilal Bank mandated National Bank of Abu Dhabi, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank for the issue. Furthermore, the bank expects to obtain a credit rating in the coming two or three months.

Barwa Bank honours best performing staff for business excellence

Barwa Bank Group (BBG) recently held its “Business Excellence” awards ceremony to honour the group’s best performers. The awards have been established to recognise the effort and contribution of employees and to motivate and inspire the team. The initiative is part of a commitment to training and development by the bank management to empower staff and ensure that Barwa Bank Group continues to be a major contributor to the financial services sector in Qatar and the region.

Prince Charles visits OIC headquarters

Prince Charles of Wales visited the headquarters of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu welcomed Prince Charles, and informed him about the activities of OIC aiming at scaling up food, energy and water security programmes in the OIC member states. The Secretary General and Prince Charles agreed on the need for regular exchange of views and information on energy and water issues.

KFH-Bahrain launches 'Fursan Baytik' Employees' recognition award

Kuwait Finance House - Bahrain announced the launch of its 'Fursan Baytik' employees' recognition award, which aims to honor and appreciate the achievements of employees in the Bank. It is based on a set of criteria that considers their achievements both during work and in their own time such as reliability, teamwork and effectiveness as well as social responsible activities. Mr. Yaqoub Majed, the Chairman of KFH-Bahrain honored the first three employees to receive the award during the annual staff gathering.

Index will tally women on corporate boards

A new index will track the number of women on the boards of publicly listed companies across the region. The Arabian Gulf chapter of Women Corporate Directors will partner with the Dubai-based Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance to produce the measure. The index will help to identify organisations committed to promoting women to top executive and boardroom positions as well as gaps in corporate representation. Currently, only 1.5 per cent of board seats in the GCC are held by women. In December, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, had announced that it would become compulsory for every government company in the UAE to have a female board member.

Sustainable banking principles and financial system’s stability

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently released the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles (NSBP) to promote sustainable way of doing business, especially in the banking industry. NSBP is anchored on nine over-arching principles. These were among others managing environmental and social risk in business decisions, safeguarding human rights and promoting women’s economic participation and empowerment. The Bankers’ Committee, as a commitment to sustainable development adopted NSBP, with particular focus on the development of agriculture, power and oil and gas.

Natural Gas Co. Wants Trustee For Arcapita Subsidiary

Tide Natural Gas Storage I LP, which paid $515 million for natural gas assets from a subsidiary of Bahrain's bankrupt Arcapita Bank BSC, asked a New York bankruptcy court Monday to appoint a trustee of the subsidiary's bankruptcy because of conflicts of interest. Tide asked to convert Arcapita subsidiary Falcon Gas Storage Co. Inc.'s bankruptcy from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 and for the court to appoint a trustee because Arcapita reorganization's plan will give the Bahraini bank and its creditors too much power.

KSA ranks 44th in female corporate managers

According to a report released by MyHiringClub.com, Kuwait ranks 35th globally, Oman 37th, Bahrain 40th, UAE 42nd and Saudi Arabia 44th in a list that evaluates countries with women serving on company boards and top managerial levels. GCC economists said local business community is need of women's participation in company boardrooms. Saudi Arabia' share is 54 percent of total women labor force in the GCC region. This will allow the women to go beyond their traditional role and make remarkable progress in the area of labor, education, and socioeconomic development. The number of businesses registered for Saudi women stood at nearly 36,200 which represents 4.7 percent of total registered businesses in the Kingdom. The volume of women investments in businesses has so far reached SR 3 billion, which represents 4.3 percent of the total number of private sector companies in Saudi Arabia.

Eversendai undervalued, says majority shareholder

Construction-based Eversendai Corp Bhd’s majority shareholder feels the company is undervalued and does not reflect the company’s true business potential and track record. Eversendai’s executive chairman and group managing director AK Nathan said that right now it is important to build up the base, build up the business. He also opined that the share price can not be suppressed for too long. However, construction stocks in Malaysia have been underperforming at the moment. Moreover, Eversendai’s lack of liquidity is also an issue in attracting fund managers to invest in the company.

Dubai Group's $10bln debt plan to include more oversight for creditors

Dubai Group's $10 billion debt restructuring will be managed by David Smoot, chief executive officer of Dubai International Capital (DIC). In addition to Smoot's appointment, two banks will be named to a post-restructuring creditor committee to provide oversight of Dubai Group's business to ensure the interests of creditors are protected for the duration of the debt deal. In order to succeed the group is yet to divest some of its larger assets.

PM urges Gulf Finance House to invest in energy sector

Pakistan's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf emphasized the close relations between Bahrain and his country and praised the Gulf Finance House Bahrain for doing well financially. Moreover, he drew the attention of Esam Yousif Janahi, Chairman and Founder of Gulf Finance House, to huge investment potential in Pakistan and expressed the need to invest in energy. He said that there were a good wind corridor, hydel potential and coal reserves. Jahani said that his company was examining the possibility of investing in energy sector in Pakistan. He further said that the investment policies of Pakistan were conducive and attractive for foreign investors because of rewarding returns on investments.

Saudi- Expert calls on women to invest frozen funds

Azeemeh Zaheer, vice president at the London-based Gatehouse Bank, has called on Saudi businesswomen to invest funds that are kept frozen in banks. According to the expert, with the accumulation of wealth, globalization and openness, women have begun to invest their funds and try to overcome all traditional barriers which limit their (financial) independence. She said women in GCC countries retain more than 300 billion and if 15 percent of that money, or 45 billion, invested in London, it would be a big success for shariah-compliant Gatehouse Bank.

Former bank chief defeats taxman in 'careless error' tribunal

The former Chief Executive of Gatehouse Bank David Testa has successfully appealed in the first-tier tax tribunal against HM Revenue & Customs' "flawed" refusal to suspend a penalty imposed for a careless inaccuracy. HMRC rejected David Testa's offer of using a qualified tax practitioner to ensure he ironed out future self-assessment errors after he mistakenly failed to declare his severance payment after he left his post with the bank in 2009. The tribunal upheld Testa's view, noting HMRC's policy "sits uneasily" regarding inaccuracies arising from one-off events. Judge Kevin Poole described HMRC's logic as "flawed" and added there is "a danger of taking too narrow a view of the legislation".

Dubai's Noor Investment Group Forms Endowment Management JV

Dubai's Noor Investment Group and a government-run charitable foundation have agreed to set up a joint venture company that will manage funds on behalf of Islamic charities in the United Arab Emirates and beyond.

Turkey's perfect partnership tilts towards the Gulf states

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, reinforced his credentials as a political leader of the Muslim world at the Sharjah Government Communication Forum this week. Besides championing of political causes in the region, he used the forum for the enhancement of his country's economic and trade relations with GCC states. A memorandum of understanding signed by investment officials from Turkey and Sharjah aims to extend further the business relationship between Turkey and a UAE emirate. Mr Erdogan certainly seems to have pulled back from full-blown commitment to a Europe-orientated strategy. In contrast, trade and economic relations to the south-east are blossoming.

Egyptian firm Wins $30 Mln Contract for Extension of Abidjan international airport

The Arab Contractors (AC) has won a $30mln contract for the extension and modernization of the Abidjan International Airport cargo facilities in the Ivory Coast. The project is funded by the Islamic Development Bank and aims to create a commercial zone next to the airport, with a lodging area, hangars, a convention centre, a duty-free zone, office buildings, warehouses, exhibition halls, a shopping centre and housing for flying staff. Moreover, the Egyptian contractors will also have to refurbish the apron, renovate access roads and increase the terminal’s capacity from 11’000sqm to 26’000sqm.

Can top corporations develop needed water solutions?

Nearly 300 asset managers, water infrastructure and energy sector executives attended the event ‘Water: Emerging Risks and Opportunities' in New York to learn about opportunities for investing in water and the growing water demands of the United States’ booming unconventional energy sector. The event was sponsored by Goldman Sachs, GE and the World Resources Institute. On the other hand, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility convened a roundtable on the obligations of companies to respect the human right to water. Seventy religious investors, major water-intensive companies, and grassroots activists came together to tackle the question of what companies can and should do to ensure their operations “do no harm” to water supplies of local communities. Investors at the Goldman event very well may be driving the green technologies that can help the industrial companies at the ICCR session clean up their acts. But the problem for companies is that in most places, water is so cheap that investing in these solutions can sometimes be hard to justify on a traditional ROI basis, if not on a moral one.

Investors Demand Climate-Risk Disclosure in 2013 Proxies

Shareholders are filing resolutions asking companies to disclose physical risks posed by climate change for the first time this proxy season. The resolutions include setting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals, publishing sustainability reports, pursuing energy efficiency, and disclosing information about hydraulic fracturing operations. Although shareholder resolutions on sustainability rarely receive a majority vote, they can still prompt companies to take action to avoid risk to their reputation or address investor concerns. Environmental and social resolutions accounted for more than 40 percent of all shareholder resolutions submitted in 2012, the largest proportion of those addresses corporate political spending.

Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation organizes open meetings between beneficiaries and senior management

Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation (AMAF), has launched an initiative to raise customer service levels and contribute to faster, more effective communication channels through a series of monthly open meetings between senior management and Foundation beneficiaries. The open meetings took place in the Foundation's headquarters since the beginning of January. Ahmed Hassan Nasser, Director of Investment Department met with beneficiaries on each Tuesday of the month, while Huda Al Mannai, Director of the Department of Minors, conducted meetings on Wednesdays.

Microfinance: PPAF, Telenor, Tameer join hands

The Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMB) for extending financial services to poor and un-banked communities. Under the MoU, a pilot project is to be launched to extend financial services to select communities by establishing Easypaisa shops, which will provide services that include bill payments, money transfers, donations, international home transfers, withdrawals and deposits through mobile accounts. One Easypaisa shop will be set up in each PPAF community to cater to their banking needs. Once the pilot project is completed, it will be replicated nationwide, a press release stated.

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