The Peninsula Qatar

Bahrain's GFH eyes share capital reduction, convertible sukuk

Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House will seek shareholder approval later this month for a potential reduction in share capital and to issue a convertible sukuk of up to $500 million to restructure debt and fund new projects. Under the proposal, GFH will reduce the nominal value of its shares by 13.8 percent to $0.265 per share from $0.3075, according to a notice on GFH's website. As a result, paid-up capital will be cut to $837 million from $972 million. GFH also aims to issue convertible sukuk worth up to $500 million to restructure current liabilities, develop projects and fund possible future acquisitions, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. No timeframe was indicated for the potential offering. The proposals will be discussed during its annual general meeting on March 31.

QIIB explores overseas investments

Qatar International Islamic Bank (International Islamic) is exploring investment opportunities overseas, especially in some African countries. However, Abdulbasit Ahmed Al Shaibei, CEO and member of the board of directors of QIIB, did not to disclose the details. Moreover, the bank is working to open seven new branches in different parts of the country, including one each at The Pear Qatar and Al Khor very soon. The bank’s total revenue for 2013 stood at QR1.458bn, and the net profit reached QR750.3m, with a growth of 10.5 percent compared to 2012, and earnings per share reached QR4.96.

Beema records 111 percent growth in net profit

The Board of Directors of Daman Islamic Insurance Company (Beema) has approved the financial statements of the Company for the nine months ended September 30, 2013. Announcing the financial results, Beema Chairman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said the Company’s net profit has crossed QR40m during the period, up 111 percent compared with the same period last year. Income from investment increased 154 percent during the period. The premium collection of the company recorded more than QR160m, up 24 percent, compared with the corresponding period in 2012. Sheikh Jassim noted the portfolio of shareholders recorded 119 percent growth in the profit against the same period of 2012.

Daman Islamic’s third quarter profit crosses QR40m

Daman Islamic Insurance Company’s net profit crossed QR40m for the first nine months of 2013. The figure reflects a 111 percent increase compared to the same period in 2012. Announcing the financial results, Daman Islamic Insurance Company Chairman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani said the returns from the investments increased by 160 percent on year-on-year basis. Sheikh Jassim attributed the company’s strong performance during the period to the diverse insurance products available in the market. The opening of new branches also supported the growth, he said.

Oman’s AMIC plans IPO as part of conversion into takaful firm

Oman’s Al Madina Insurance Co (AMIC) plans to list its shares on the local bourse as part of its transformation into a takaful firm. AMIC plans to issue 66.67 million shares with a face value of 0.1 rial per share, equating to 40 percent of its total post-IPO capital. The offer will take place this year depending on approval from Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA). It was unclear how much money AMIC planned to raise. Oman decided in 2011 to introduce Islamic finance; its draft takaful regulations require local Islamic insurers to be public companies, and AMIC said it expected to become one of the first takaful companies on the market.

QFB names Ahmad Meshari Acting Chief Executive

The Board of Directors of Qatar First Bank (QFB) announced the appointment of Ahmad Meshari as Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Bank with immediate effect. Ahmad will replace Emad Mansour who recently resigned from the bank. Ahmad will have responsibility for QFB’s business lines including the wealth management business, principal investments, asset management and corporate finance advisory. He brings with him more than 30 years’ experience in the financial sector gained through different senior management positions in regional banks and key roles on high-profile boards, primarily with Islamic financial institutions. He joins QFB from Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) where he served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

Bank Nizwa obtains investment banking licence

Bank Nizwa, Oman's first full-fledged Islamic bank, has received an investment banking licence that will allow it to manage funds and issue instruments such as Islamic bonds. The bank launched operations in January and is gradually rolling out a range of sharia-compliant products, aiming to grab a 5 percent share of the country's overall banking market in five years. In December, Oman became the last country in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council to adopt Islamic finance, issuing extensive regulations for the sector.

Barwa bank backs charity project

Barwa Bank has signed a cooperation agreement with Qatar Charity to provide QR500,000 for its Ramadan projects in the country. The deal was signed by Steve Troop, Chief Executive Officer of Barwa Bank, and Yousef Al Kuwari, Qatar Charity Executive Chairman, at the charity headquarters. Troop said that Barwa Bank aims to support projects which provide assistance to the needy in the Qatari community in various ways, including forging partnerships with charities such as Qatar Charity. One of Qatar Charity’s projects is Al Baraha which has been extended from 10 days to one month. Around 24,000 people will benefit from the QR950,000 project during the holy month.

Saudi's Dar Al Arkan tightens guidance on planned sukuk

Saudi developer Dar Al Arkan has lowered price guidance on its planned Islamic bond issue. The company, which is planning to raise at least $300 million from a five-year Islamic bond, revised its guidance lower to around 6 percent from initial yield guidance of 6.25 percent. An update from lead arrangers on Monday indicated that order books were over $500 million. Dar Al Arkan has picked Bahrain-based Bank Al Khair, Deutsche Bank, Emirates NBD, Goldman Sachs and Qatari pair Masraf Al Rayan and QInvest to arrange the potential sale.

Bassel Gamal is CEO of QIB

Bassel Gamal was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB). Mr. Gamal is well grounded in banking and finance, and has had experience in several institutions and positions. He will assume his office next month.

QE Al Rayan Islamic index debut on Jan 7

Yesterday Qatar Exchange (QE) and Al Rayan Investment made an announcement about the launch of the QE Al Rayan Islamic index. The new index relies on QE listed stocks of minimum free float size and liquidity that are Shariah compliant. Its debut date is set on January 7th 2013. The goal of the index is to support the creation of Shariah-compliant exchange traded fund (ETF) by Al Rayan Investment. The issuance was carried out with a fatwa by its Shariah Board.

Islamic banking assets to cross $1.8 trillion

Global Islamic banking assets are expected to reach over $1.8 trillion in the coming year. This forecast by Ernst & Young is significantly higher than some industry estimates published earlier. The Islamic banking industry continuously grows worldwide and manages to sustain its quick pace. The top 20 Islamic banks demonstrate growth rates of 16% during the last three years. Saudi Arabia appears to be the largest market for Islamic assets.

Azerbaijan bank plans $150m Islamic loan

International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) considers to raise $150m using an Islamic syndicated loan at the beginning of 2013. Thus, the bank intends to double its Islamic banking assets by the end of next year. According to the bank's director of Islamic banking - Behnam Gurbanzada - signing a mandate in January and closing the deal in April is planned. The deal will be a one-year private syndication. It will contribute to IBA's intention to cater to the estimated 93% Muslims of its 9 million population.

Qtel signs $500m Islamic financing deal with QIB

An Islamic financing facility worth $500m was signed between Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB). The bank plays the role of Sole Mandated Lead Arranger and Investment Agent for the deal. The financing is structured as an 18 month Shariah-compliant "Revolving Murabaha". According to Chief Executive Officer of the Qtel Group - Dr Nasser Marafih - the deal will make the relationship between Qtel and QIB stronger. Ahmad Meshari, Acting Chief Executive Officer of QIB, added that the financing facility enables further avenues of collaboration between the two companies.

Investment recovering in Arab Spring economies

Last month, two UAE real estate developers - Al Futtaim Group and Emaar Properties - announced a big project in Egypt. Not only was this a boost to the country’s property market but it also acted as a sign of a revival of cross-border investment in the region. According to the two companies, they plan to invest about 5bn Egyptian pounds ($820m) in building the "Cairo Gate" which will be situated off the Cairo-Alexandria desert highway. The complex will be 65 hectare big and will be build around a shopping mall. An office park, a luxury hotel, schools, medical facilities and residential space are included in the plan.

ADIB to issue hybrid sukuk this week

This week, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) plans to issue a hybrid sukuk. However, it is likely that investors will demand a big premium for the rare structure. According to expectations, the bank will raise minium $500m to shore up its core capital, complying thus with tighter Basel III global standards. This is a prerequisite for the Tier 1 capital which will be introduced in the UAE in the years to come. ADIB’s Tier 1 sukuk structure is different from the usual instruments to raise Tier 2 capital sold by different Gulf lenders. Firstly, there is no maturity date. Also, the principal is repaid at the discretion of the issuer.

IFSB to revise capital adequacy standard for Islamic banks

Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) intends to make a revision of its capital adequacy guidelines for Islamic financial institutions. The draft for industry feedback is to be released in November. Although IFSB determines the global guidelines for Islamic finance, national financial regulators have the final say regarding how much capital banks must maintain and in what form. The revision is necessary due to the change from Basel II standards to the stricter Basel III standards.

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QIB teams up with QIIB for Nakilat package

Two Islamic Finance institutions, QIB and QIIB, have agreed to financing package for the Qatar Gas Transport Company. The joint arrangement is a big step in enhancing co-operation between both financial institutions and shall cover the increasingly growing market demand for Sharia'-compliant financial solutions.

Dubai World set to make formal standstill request

Dubai World is expected to soon make a formal standstill request to creditors for $22billion in debt while it devises a restructuring plan. Dubai sent shockwaves through global markets on November 25 when it said it would request a standstill on billions of dollars in debt linked to Dubai World and its property units Limitless World and Nakheel, developer of palm-shaped islands. Following are some answers to frequently asked questions about the upcoming standstill agreement:

Qatar First Investment Bank launched

Joyce C Abaño reported on 25th March that the Shariah-compliant Qatar First Investment Bank (QFIB) celebrated its official launching yesterday during an exclusive ceremony at the Museum of Islamic Art. The event was graced by former US president Bill Clinton, who spoke about the challenges of globalisation and growing interdependence, and the need to identify common goals and values worldwide. The bank has an authrised capital of QR 3.6 bn (USD 1 bn).

The bank was awarded a licence by the Qatar Financial Centre in September 2008. Mike de Graffenried is the CEO of QFIB.

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