GCC

Fixed Income market seen as important to Gulf growth

Sean Davidson wrote on 13 February in Business 24/7 about the importance of an active sovereign bond market to strengthen Gulf monetary policies allowing for an integrated market for local currency government bonds where the central, local and forweign banks, individuals and other institutional investors can participate - a matter which plenty of economists agree to.

The UAE government has indicated plans to issue conventional bonds and sukuk in the near future with maturities of up to 30 years.

S&P Placed Kuwaiti Banks On CreditWatch Negative On Large Exposure To Investment Companies

Press Release

Various Kuwaiti Banks Placed On CreditWatch Negative On Large Exposure To Investment Companies

LONDON (Standard & Poor's) Feb. 16, 2009--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it placed its 'A-' long-term counterparty credit ratings on Kuwait Finance House and Commercial Bank of Kuwait on CreditWatch with negative implications. At the same time, the 'A-2' short-term counterparty credit ratings on these banks were affirmed. Furthermore, Standard & Poor's placed its 'BBB+/A-2' long- and short-term counterparty credit ratings on Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait and Burgan Bank on CreditWatch with negative implications. At the same time, Standard & Poor's commented on its CreditWatch placement of Kuwait-based Gulf Bank. The 'A-/A-2' long- and short-term counterparty credit ratings on Gulf Bank remain on CreditWatch with negative implications, where they had been placed on Oct. 27, 2008.

Islamic Securitization - The Right Way Forward?

Heiko Hesse, Andreas Jobst and Juan A. Sole published on RGEmonitor on 13 February an analysis regarding Islamic Securitization and the grown interest for Islamic finance during the financial crisis.

Islamic finance is driven by the general precept of extending religious doctrine in the shari’ah to financial agreements and transactions. Predatory lending, deteriorating underwriting standards, and a series of incentive problems between originators, arrangers, and sponsors, of which all have infested the conventional securitization process, belie fundamental Islamic principles.

The article linked in the source relates the characteristics of this form of securitization to calls for enhanced disclosure and standardization, ratings agency reforms, and better transparency of origination and underwriting practices in conventional structured finance. In particular, it assesses the potential of conflicts of interest (which became apparent in the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis) to contaminate the integrity of the securitization process if it were conducted in compliance with shari’ah principles.

BKME achieves KD 51.4 mln in profits in 08

Bank of Kuwait and the Middle East (BKME) achieves KD 51.4 mn in profits in 2008 versus KD 48.2 mn in 2007 with a 6.6 % increase as compared to the last year.

The conversion of BKME into Islamic Sharia will be completed within the coming months as per the timeframe approved by Central Bank of Kuwait.

Hamad Abdulmohsin Al-Marzouq is the Chairman and Managing Director of BKME.

Islamic Project Finance in the Gulf States

Justin Dargin, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. wrote in Oil & Gas Financial Journal about the Islamization of project finance in the Gulf states saying that although Islamic financial instruments currently make up a small proportion of global finance, they actually experienced an annual 15% growth from 2005 to 2008, with the energy-producing Gulf nations in the Middle East responsible for much of the increase.

Islamic finance now reached the heavy industry of oil and gas, petrochemicals and manufacturing, with SABIC officially promoting it. However, regional Islamic banks are not widely involved in this business, only Al Rajhi and Bank AlJazira so far.

The conducted transactions may evidence a flight from the endlessly leveraged financial products that brought about the economic crisis to what is actually a more orthodox set of asset-backed and asset-based products, integral to Islamic finance. The author shows in the original article a substantial number of cases and details.

UAE banking outlook negative according to Moody's

Rebecca Bundhun reported on 14 January in Arabianbusiness that Moody's sees the fundamental credit outlook for the UAE banking system as negative, as it comes under strain from falling property prices and tightening liquidity conditions. Moody’s Investors Service said on Wednesday its prediction covered the next 12 to 18 months and reflects the number of bank loans given to 'opportunistic' developers, who would struggle to repay them as the property market undergoes a correction.

John Tofarides is a Moody's analyst.

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.

Yields in the Gulf rising strongly

Soren Billing reported on 10 February in Arabianbusiness that credit default swaps for Mideast lenders have risen substantially led by Bahrain, spreads have widened by 174.2 basis points (bps) in the last three months, followed by Saudi Arabia (114.8 bps), Abu Dhabi (96.7 bps) and Qatar at (70 bps), Corporates in the region have been hit even harder. The CDS spreads on Dubai based companies range between 600 bps and 1,100 bps, which is significantly higher than on Abu Dhabi based corporations, which range between 250 bps and 400 bps. The yield on Nakheel’s Sukuk that matures on Dec. 14 this year reached 41.9 % from 27.7 % a month ago.

Kuwaiti investement banks, firms may merge under rescue plan

Kuwaiti banks or investment firms may have to merge if they want to obtain state help under a USD 5 bn (Dh18bn) rescue plan, a bill devised by the central bank said. Under the plan, the central bank will also decide which investment firms will qualify for aid depending on whether the firm is able to continue its business and has a "good" solvency.

Venture Capital Bank Achieves USD 47 mn Net Profit

Venture Capital Bank Achieves USD 47 mn net profit and recommends 10 % cash dividends and 5 % bonus shares to its shareholders. The bank maintained a capital adequacy rate of 43 %, which is higher than the minimum requirements by the Central Bank of Bahrain's 12%.

Source: 

http://www.zawya.com/Story.cfm/sidZAWYA20090207084444/Bahrain:%20Venture%20Capital%20Bank%20Achieves%20$%2047%20Million%20Net%20Profit

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.

Capital Management House (CMH) increased profits to Dh 52.8 mn

The Bahrain-based Islamic investment company Capital Management House (CMH)said its net income increased to USD 14.4 mn (Dh 52.8 mn) last year compared to USD 5.6 mn a year ago. The firm's board recommended 16.6 % stock dividend. Asset under management have grown to reach USD 105.9 mn and the equity base USD 128.8 mn.

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.

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 International Islamic Company seeks stake in Al Jisr Takaful Company

The Qatar Islamic Insurance Company (QIIC) hopes to buy half-a-million shares of Al Jisr Takaful Company which is being set up as a joint venture between Qatari and Bahraini investors. The paid-up capital of the proposed Islamic insurer will be QR 250 mn and some 30 per cent of its equity will be divided equally between Qatari and Bahraini owners through a public offer.

The owners are national insurance firms and major institutions from the two countries. Qatar Foundation as well as the civil and military pension funds in Qatar are tipped to own around 40 % of the proposed company’s equity. The remaining 60 % of the equity will be offered to the Qatari and Bahraini public (citizens) through an initial public offering (IPO).

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 %.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank bolsters Tier 1 capital with government funds

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is issuing a Tier 1 capital Sukuk to the government of Abu Dhabi, raising AED 2 bn (USD 545 mn). The issuance of the Sukuk was approved by ADIB's board of directors on 3 February 2009, and will be subject to obtaining shareholder approval. The Sukuk will pay an expected return at a rate of 6 % per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears from (and including) the issue date for a period of 5 years, and thereafter at a rate, reset and payable semi-annually in arrears, reflecting the initial margin above the then prevailing six month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate.

Tirad Mahmoudis the Chief Executive Officer of ADIB.

Noor Islamic the UAE's top lead arranger in 2008

Noor Islamic Bank topped the 2008 Bloomberg list of leading Sharia’ah compliant Lead Arrangers in the UAE and ranked third on the list of leading Islamic finance Book Runners in the country in its first year of operation.

Hussain Al Qemzi is the CEO of Noor Islamic Bank.

Law firm Ashurst announces formation of Islamic finance restructuring team

Ashurst has formed a multidiscipline team of lawyers from across its global network to assist clients with Islamic finance restructuring and Sharia compliant distressed financings. This comes as a result of increasing client demand for assistance with Sharia compliant transactions and investments that require restructuring due to current market conditions.

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