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British Islamic Insurance Holding undertakes Private Placement

Gan Yen Kuan reported on 10 April in The Edge Daily that MNRB Holdings Bhd has proposed to invest GBP 8.96 mn in the non-listed British Islamic Insurance Holdings Ltd (BIIH), being an equity stake of maximum 9.99 % based on a private placement effort. MNRB aims to diversify the business and to expand into international business and the potentially lucrative market in Europe.

MNRB is Malaysia’s largest re-insurer.

BIIH has an authorised share capital of GBP 100 mn. Its issued and paid-up share capital is GBP 4.1 mn with a share premium of GBP 42.1 mn. It is incorporated on 27 February 2006.

BIIH has two wholly owned subsidiaries, namely BIIH General Ltd (BIIG) and BIIS Ltd., both have yet to obtain permission from the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) to carry out their respective business in general insurance and insurance intermediation services.

BIIH is unlisted but aims to be listed on the Alternative Investments Market in London and on one or more suitable GCC based exchanges later.

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

Gulf Re targets high-value energy projects

Mohamad Al Kady reported on 12 April in Business 24/7 that Gulf Re, a newly formed joint venture between the Bermuda-based Arch Capital Group and Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), is set to offer reinsurance services for large GCC projects in oil, gas, power and water desalination.

GulfRe starts to think about creating a re-Takaful organisation to offer Islamic reinsurance services to their clients.

Gail Norstrom is the CEO of GulfRe

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

UK: Takaful coverage for mobile phones

FoneShield UK Ltd, a UK mobile phone insurance provider, is set to launch the first mobile phones takaful coverage.

Though a 'Sharia' compliant standard for ethical insurance has been chosen to meet the upwardly-mobile European Muslim market, it is also believed to be a standard that will have a wider appeal amongst ethical consumers.

FoneShield UK Ltd is an FSA regulated insurance provider, based in London and has been operating since 2005. It is one of the first to offer an online, self-service option to mobile phone dealers and recently launched 'CaShield' to protect mobile phone cashbacks.

Amian Moaven is Director of FoneShield UK Ltd

Source: http://www.freepressreleases.co.uk/Press_Releases/Telecoms_News/Sharia_E...

Bangladesh: Prime Finance manages IPO of Takaful Islami

The New Nation, Bangladesh reported on 10 April that Prime Finance and Investment Limited has signed an agreement with Takaful Islami Insurance Limited to manage their proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Md Akter Hossain Sannamat is Managing Director of Prime Finance & Investment Limited.
Abul Kashem Chowdhury is Managing Director of Takaful Islami Insurance Limited.
Md. Fazle Azim is Chairman of Takaful Islami Insurance Limited.

Source: http://nation.ittefaq.com/issues/2008/04/10/news0012.htm

Tabreed names banks for Sukuk issuance

Business 24/7 reported on 13 April that National Central Cooling Co (Tabreed) has mandated Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered and National Bank of Abu Dhabi as lead managers for its planned USD 300-500 mn convertible Sukuk due by 2011.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

Sharia compliant Gold Exchange Traded Fund

Peter Cooper reported on 9 April on Business 24/7 about the Sharia compliant Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) by Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and World Gold Council. The ETF will be backed by physical Gold deposited under the Almas Tower of DMCC. After approval of the regulatory body Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) a secondary market will be operated by listing the ETF on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX).

DMCC has taken a share in London-listed Shariah Capital, which is supervising the compliance. Other Gold ETFs usually used derivatives to replicate the performance of Gold.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

Rajhi Bank increases profits

Souhail Karam reported on Reuters, 13 April, on the profit rise of 2.1 % of Saudi-based Rajhi Bank in Q1 from core business operations.

Net Income from investment rose 11.5 % to SAR 2.03 bn. Income from banking services increased 18 % to SAR 454 mn. Growth is targeted by diversifying its sources of revenue, developing the investment and corporate banking sectors along with retail banking. According to analysts posted profits could be even higher, but were impacted by the cost of international expansion.

Rajhi plans to add 160 branches in Saudi Arabia by mid-2008.

Chief Executive is Abdullah Sulaiman al-Rajhi.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssFinancialServicesAndRealEstateNews/id...

Swiss banks going onshore in the Middle East

Andrew White reported in Arabian Business on 11 April about Swiss banks going onshore in the Middle East.

Pasha Bakhtiar, managing director at Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch (LODH) focusses over the next 10 to 20 years to grow the presence in areas with strong wealth creation, which is the case in the Middle East. Last year the bank established a formal presence in Dubai to better offer its services to existing and new clients in the GCC. Lombard sees an advantage in being a family owned bank like the family businesses in the region.

Hans Nützi, CEO at Clariden Leu agrees that Private Banking becomes more international opposed the way clients banked 5 to 10 years ago. Clariden Leu has a local 13 people asset management team in Dubai and sees demand for structured products.

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/516200-banking-on-the-old-school

Gulf Finance House: USD 10 bn Caspian Energy Hub

Gulf News reported on 11 April that Gulf Finance House aims to develop the USD 10 bn Caspian Energy Hub in collaboration with the Government of Kazakhstan and PFC Energy International and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The project, shall be a services hub that caters to commercial, technical and human resource needs of the oil and gas industry in the Caspian region. The hub also aims to become a global technical training centre for the oil & gas industry.

Esam Janahi is chairman of Gulf Finance House, Vahan Zanoyan is CEO of PFC Energy International and both presented the concept to Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazar. Ulf Wokurka is deputy chairman of the Management Board of Kazakhstan Holding for Management of State Assets. Gani Uzbekov is deputy chairman of the Board of Sustainable Development Fund called "Kazyna".

Source: http://archive.gulfnews.com/business/Oil_and_Gas/10204695.html

Islamic bank is planned in Ghana by the end of 2008

Felix Dela Klutse reported in Daily Guide on 10 April that an Islamic bank is planned in Ghana by the end of the year.

Professor Thomas Kubi is a promoter of the bank and gave an interview to CITY&BUSINESS GUIDE in Accra, Ghana. According to this the bank would be offering corporate banking, housing finance, car finance, retail banking products and other permissible services. The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana, which is the regulator of the country’s banking industry, had agreed in principle for the setting up of the bank in the country.

He further disclosed that an international Shariah advisory firm, Dar Al Istithmar, in collaboration with his outfit, MCA International Consult, had already prepared a proposal outlining the strategy to introduce Islamic banking to the country.

Source: http://www.modernghana.com/news/162238/1/Ghana-welcomes-islamic-bank

Indonesia plans to sell two Sukuks in the second half year

Harry Suhartono from Reuters reported on 8 April that Indonesia's finance ministry plans for the second half of the year 2008 two Sukuk domestically and international following the approval of the new bill.

Indonesia's finance ministry plans to sell Islamic bonds in the international and domestic markets in the second half of 2008, a senior official said late on Monday following the approval of new bill on Islamic debt.

Rahmat Waluyanto is the treasury director general at the finance ministry. According to him the ministry has suitable underlying assets worth 15 trillion rupiah (USD 1.63 bn).

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said it might take between one to 1.5 months for the ministry to draw up the necessary regulations following the approval of the bill.

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINJAK28409420080408

More information in regard to the Sukuk bill:
http://in.reuters.com/article/asiaCompanyAndMarkets/idINJAK29608520080408

AlBaraka: Algerian subsidiary posts strong results

Bahrain Tribune reported on 9 April that, Banque Albaraka D'Algerie, a subsidiary of Bahrain-based Albaraka Banking Group (ABG), announced a net income increase to USD 19 mn in 2007, which is a 34 % growth.

Mohammed Seddik Hafid, Board Member and General Manager of the bank. Adnan Ahmed Yousif is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banque Albaraka D'Algerie and President and Chief Executive of Albaraka Banking Group.

Source: http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093192151

Singapore's Islamic finance efforts

Pratap John reported in Gulf Times on 8 April that Singapore now provides tax neutrality between conventional and Islamic financing, such as by sales tax exemption for financing based on the Murabaha structure. MAS now allows the city state’s banks to offer Murabaha financing, investment products and deposits.

Angelina Fernandez is director of communications of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Ong Chong Tee is deputy managing director of MAS.

Source: http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=211745...

Saad Group outlook revised to 'stable' on improved capital structure

Business Intelligence Middle East reported on 9 April that Standard & Poors revisied Saad Group outlookto 'stable' on improved capital structure. At the same time, the 'BBB+' long-term corporate credit ratings were affirmed.

Standard & Poor's credit analyst is Mohammed Fayek.

The potential for a rating upgrade is constrained by leverage and the potential for volatility in portfolio value. A sustained weakening of equity markets or a more aggressive growth strategy and subsequently higher leverage for the group could have negative implications for the rating.

Saad issued a Sukuk.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19032

CIMA launches qualification in Islamic finance

Joyce Goh reported on 9 April in The Edge Daily, that Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) launches qualification in Islamic finance.

CIMA’s new qualification comprises four modules: Islamic commercial law; Islamic banking and takaful; Islamic capital markets and instruments; and accounting for Islamic financial institutions.

CIMA’s director of education is Robert Jelly. CIMA divisional director is Sopiah Suid, CIMA Malaysia's president is Michael Eow.
Deputy Finance Minister attented the signing: Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. Dr Mohd Daud Bakar is president and CEO of IIIF.

Source: http://www.theedgedaily.com/cms/content.jsp?id=com.tms.cms.article.Artic...

EIB and Emirates launches Islamic airline co-branded credit card

Business Intelligence reported on 9 April about the Islamic Visa card of Emirates Islamic Bank, Skywards, and Emirates.

The Emirates Islamic Bank Skywards Credit Card will come with a list of benefits and features.

Faisal Aqil is General Manager of Retail Banking at Emirates Islamic Bank. Kamran Siddique is Visa General Manager for the Middle East and North Africa.

Source: http://www.bi-me.com/main.php?c=3&cg=2&t=1&id=19053

Tamweel sets up holding - plans Sukuk

Parag Deulgaonkar reported on 7 April about the extraordinary shareholder meeting of Tamweel, deciding to restructure Tamweel as a holding firm. The UAE mortgage business, property investment, escrow management services and Tamweel International will be the first four operating units.

The company also plans to raise Dh 5.1 bn through sukuk in 2008. This total amount includes Dh 1.1 bn of convertible sukuk and Dh 4 bn of non-convertible sukuk.

Further Tamweel has signed a joint venture agreement with Al Oula Development Company in Saudi Arabia, where the company expects to open a subsidiary later this year. Other expansion plans include Egypt.

Wasim Saifi is CEO of Tamweel.
Zayed bin Saqer Al Nehayan is Chairman of Tamweel.

Source: http://www.business24-7.ae/cs/article_show_mainh1_story.aspx?HeadlineID=...

Bank of London and the Middle East participates in Qatar infrastructure financing

AME Info published a press release on 8 April that The Bank of London and The Middle East plc (BLME) announced that it has participated in USD 20 mn of Forward Lease financing to Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), for the construction of the Ras Abu Fontas A1 (RAF A1) water desalination plant to be built in the northern part of Ras Abu Fontas, Qatar. The Islamic tranche of the transaction was introduced to BLME by European Finance House, London based subdiary of Qatar Islamic Bank. Out of the total project budget of USD 600 mn, USD 150 mn is Islamic financing which is being underwritten by QIB.

Humphrey Percy is CEO of BLME. Mike Clark is CEO of European Finance House.

Source: http://www.ameinfo.com/152651.html

IIFM aims to finalise Master Murabaha Agreement

Talal Malik reported on 7 April 2008 that the Bahrain-based International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) said to finalise soon the standardisation for a Master Murabaha Agreement called Master Agreement for Treasury Placement (MATP). The Agreements are under final review by Sharia scholars.

Khalid Hamad is chairman of IIFM.

Source: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/515834-bahrains-iifm-drawing-up-islamic-f...

Korea considers easing Islamic finance

Yoon Ja-young reported on 7 April that Korea regulators plan to revise laws to support banks to reach out to the markets of Islamic countries.
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) plans to revise laws through a revision this year. FSC Chairman Jun Kwang-woo sees bankers requests in this regard very positive. Steps should include opportunities for Sukuk.

Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2008/04/123_22065.html

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