AME Info

#Bahrain’s Nogaholding approaches banks for debut #bond programme

Nogaholding, the investment arm of Bahrain’s National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA), has approached banks with the aim of setting up an international bond programme. The bond programme could be either for conventional bonds or for sukuk, but since Nogaholding’s latest U.S. dollar fund-raising exercise was an Islamic loan, a sukuk programme seemed more likely. A spokeswoman for Nogaholding declined to comment. In March last year, the company raised a $570 million murabaha facility with a five-year maturity. The 2016 loan backed projects such as the Bahrain LNG Import Terminal, a modernisation programme for Bahrain Petroleum, and expansion of facilities at the Bahrain National Gas Expansion.

#Islamicbanking market in #Turkey to get major boost

According to Standard & Poors recent government initiatives will spur momentum for Turkey’s fast-growing Islamic banking market. Islamic banks in the country have doubled their share of overall banking assets over the past decade to roughly 5% or $42.2 billion at year-end 2015. The annual volume of sukuk issuance in the country increased nearly 20-fold over the same period, growing from $100 million in 2010 to almost $2bn by year-end 2015. Credit analyst Mohamed Damak said Turkish Islamic banks’ market share is expected to double to more than 10% by year-end 2025.

Women who are shaking up the Middle East’s business world in 2016

As part of World Economic Forum’s journey through the Middle East, ‘The Silk Road: Past, Present, Future’ team spoke to six of the region’s most influential businesswomen for their tips on getting to the top. Dr Raja Easa al Gurg is the Managing Director of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group. She says obstacles are always a stepping stone to success. Shaikha Al-Bahar is the Deputy Group CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait. Dedication and professionalism, passion, hard working 24/7 and innovation are key in climbing the ladder to the top, according to her. Maha al Ghunaim, Vice Chair and Group CEO of Global Investment House, says we need to remove that phobia about women getting involved with numbers, which comes from education.

S&P publishes MENA Rating Trends 2016

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said that overall sovereign creditworthiness in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region has deteriorated since Standard & Poor’s last published six months ago. The rating agency has published the report Middle East And North Africa Sovereign Rating Trends 2016. The average rating for the hydrocarbon-endowed sovereigns of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain , Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, is currently close to ‘A’, having been at ‘A+’ prior to the downgrade of Saudi Arabia and the inclusion of Iraq in the average. For those with more limited hydrocarbon resources (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah), it is closer to ‘BB+’. The outlooks are negative on Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, reflecting weakening fiscal profiles and uncertain policy responses.

CFA Institute launches results of its first CFA Institute GCC Societies Survey

CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, has launched the results of its first CFA Institute GCC Societies Survey, based on feedback from more than 200 GCC-based CFA charterholders and members from Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The survey highlights economic, investment and employment trends and challenges in the GCC region. The economic outlook for 2016 seems uncertain, with the vast majority of respondents (81%) expect low oil prices to impact the GCC economy. Despite this uncertainty, the possibility of the introduction of Value-Added Tax (VAT), and human resources are dominant themes.

Noor Bank declared "Most Socially Responsible Bank"™

Noor Bank was named the "Most Socially Responsible Bank"™ at the "2015 Islamic Business Awards"™ ceremony hosted by the reputed CPI Financial. Amjad Naser, Head of Sharia™, Noor Bank, collected the award at the event, which took place at the Emirates Towers Hotel on 10 December. Noor Bank was honoured for its commitment towards enhancing and enriching the lives of the less fortunate. The CPI Financial judging panel nominated the bank among several other industry leading banks in the United Arab Emirates. Following the initial nomination, Noor Bank was voted the unanimous winner by financial professionals within the region.

Islamic banks post solid finance growth

Oman’s Islamic banks and window operations recorded a major growth of 65.9 per cent at OMR1.5 billion for the first nine-month period ending September 2015, compared with the same period of the previous year. Two Islamic banks and window operations of conventional banks have offered new products to lure in Omani customers, besides opening several branches in different parts of the country. The total value of customer deposits with Islamic institutions shot up by 210 per cent to OMR1.3 billion by the of September, from only OMR429.7 million for the same period of last year, according to fresh data by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO). There has been a significant increase in number of branches and assets held by these institutions since almost two year.

AAOIFI appoints members of its new technical boards

Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) has announced formation of its new technical boards and the names of appointed members of these boards for a 4-year period- up till end of 2019, or until the succeeding boards are appointed. Currently, the standards development, revision, and related technical work programs in AAOIFI are overseen by two technical boards, namely Shari’ah Board and Accounting and Auditing Standards Board. In order to better serve the international Islamic finance industry, AAOIFI has restructured its technical standards boards and enhanced their major responsibilities.

Al Hilal Bank appoints Khaled Abdulla Neamat AlKhoori as new CEO

Al Hilal Bank announced the appointment of Khaled Abdulla Neamat AlKhoori as its new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to his appointment at Al Hilal Bank, Khaled AlKhoori held a number of positions at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). At ADIA, Khaled was responsible for managing the firm’s global investment mandate, ensuring a balance between different investment styles, geographies and sectors. He also served as Director of the Private Equity Department for three years, focusing on mega funds and credit investments in the US and European markets. Khaled AlKhoori holds a Summa Cum Laude BSBA degree in Finance and Accounting from Boston University, US, and has completed a General Manager Program from the Harvard Business School in 2005.

Recycled food served at AFED conference for the first time in Arab countries

Lunch menu during the Arab Forum for Environment and Development’s conference on sustainable consumption constituted entirely of local organic food. Moreover, this was the first conference in the Arab region where “recycled” food was served: intact remains of Mediterranean fish served on day one were used to make a delicious fish-filet plate on day two. In addition, no plastic bottles were used during the two day conference, which were replaced by re-usable glass bottles. Within the same context, and in cooperation with AFED, the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) organized a session during the conference on the Mediterranean diet as part of sustainable food systems.

AstroLabs opens first Google-partnered MENA Tech Hub

Entrepreneurship platform AstroLabs yesterday inaugurated the Middle East and North Africa’s only Google-partnered tech hub, AstroLabs Dubai, enabling top startups from around the world to set up in Dubai’s DMCC Free Zone while taking advantage of Google for Entrepreneurs’ global network and resources. AstroLabs offers scalable tech startups a custom coworking space, mentorship, and business licenses to start operating in the UAE. AstroLabs members join an exclusive Google for Entrepreneurs Passport Program, allowing them to access over twenty Google-partnered hubs across the globe, from Seoul to San Francisco.

BisB convenes its 2015 EGM

Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) announced that its Extra Ordinary Shareholder Meeting has approved all agenda items, in the meetings which was held yesterday Tuesday 27th October 2015 at 10:00 am at BisB Headquarters – Al Salam Tower – Diplomatic Area. The items included the following the reduction in issued and paid-up capital of BisB aiming to write-off accumulated losses and the issuance of up to 200,000,000 Ordinary Shares with Nominal Value of BD 0.100 each. The EGM has empowered the Board of Directors to decide upon the terms and conditions of the Rights Offer. The EGM then exempted any existing shareholder whose ownership may increase up to 30% or more to make a mandatory offer to all shareholders.

Oman to sell first sukuk on October 8

To expand its capital market, Oman will sell its first sovereign Islamic bond this week, the sultanate’s Ministry of Finance has announced. The country will open subscriptions for its first issue of sovereign sukuk on October 8 and close them on October 22. The rial-denominated issue will have a tenor of five years and will mature in 2020, with its profit rate set through a uniform price auction, according to the ministry. The issue will be open to sophisticated investors – usually taken to mean fund managers, banks and other institutions, as well as wealthy individuals – with a minimum subscription of OMR500,000 ($1.3 million).

aafaq to launch first Islamic Finance Encyclopedia & Directory in Arabic

UAE's “aafaq Center for Research in Islamic Economy” will launch the first ‘Islamic Finance Encyclopedia’ and ‘Islamic Finance Directory’ in Arabic, at the 2015 Global Islamic Economic Summit taking place from October 5 to 6, 2015 at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. It is worth noting that “aafaq Center for Research in Islamic Economy” was recently established to provide thematic, multi-disciplinary research on Islamic finance. The ‘Islamic Finance Encyclopedia’ comprises twelve volumes covering all aspects of Islamic Finance, including, Shari’ah Framework of Islamic Finance; Emergence of Islamic Financial Institutions (IFIs): A Comparative Historical Study with Conventional Financial Institutions; IFIs and Banking Services; Takaful Insurance, among others.

Indonesia celebrates listing of largest sovereign Sukuk issuance in Dubai

Bambang Bodjonegoro, the Indonesian Minister of Finance, today rang the market-opening bell to celebrate the listing on Nasdaq Dubai of four Sukuk valued at six billion US dollars (AED 22 billion), issued by the Indonesian government under its Trust Certificate Issuance Programme since 2012. The Islamic bond listings are the largest ever carried out by a sovereign issuer in Dubai. Indonesia’s four Sukuk listings comprise one issuance of two billion USD dollars AED 7.3 billion), two of 1.5 billion US dollars (AED 5.5 billion) each, and one of one billion USD dollars (AED 3.7 billion). All listed on Nasdaq Dubai on May 31, 2015.

Al Baraka Banking Group raises its net income by 5 per cent for H1 of 2015

Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG) announced a net profit of US$ 150 million for the first half of 2015, reporting an increase of 5% over the net profit of the same period of last year, while the net income of the second quarter of 2015 reached US$ 82 million, increasing by 19% over the net income of the first quarter of 2015. The balance sheet items achieved moderate increases, as total assets increased by 2%, total financing and investments by 2% and customer accounts by 1% at the end of June 2015 compared to the end December 2014. During the first half of 2015, the premier rating agency in the world Standard & Poors’ (S&P) had re-affirmed ABG’s rating of BB+ (long term) and B (Short term), upgrading the Outlook to Stable.

Study: Islamic banks grow faster than conventional counterparts

Islamic banks are growing faster than their conventional counterparts, but still focus on a limited number of core markets, according to a study made by EY. The study’s report said that Islamic banks in six main markets (Qatar, Indonesia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the UAE and Turkey) gained $625 billion by end of 2013, which is equivalent to 80 per cent of the global Islamic finance market. The report expects that total Islamic banking assets in six main markets will hit $1.8 trillion by 2019. The Islamic banking sector is expected to achieve some gains in other markets like Egypt, Pakistan and North African countries like Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco.

Markaz: Issuance of bonds and sukuk by GCC entities decreases

The value of bonds and sukuk issued by GCC entities during H1 2015 amounted to $48.13 billion, down by 15.19 per cent from the same period in 2014. This is according to a report issued by Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) and titled GCC Bonds & Sukuk Market Survey. The study highlights the trends pertaining to issuances in the GCC region during H1 2015. The report adds that during the first half of 2015, central banks in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman raised a total of $28.29bn, pointing out that the Central Bank Local Issuances are fixed-income securities issued by GCC central banks for the purpose of regulating levels of domestic liquidity.

CEO of Turkey’s largest Islamic bank quits as competition grows

Turkiye Finans, the largest Islamic bank in Turkey, told regulators that its chief executive Derya Gurerk had resigned from his position on Friday, an unexpected move at a time of growing competition in the sector. Executive vice president Osman Celik would take over the role temporarily, the bank said in a regulatory filing without elaborating on the departure of Gurerk, who had served on the role since 2011. Turkiye Finans, in which Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank is the largest shareholder, has a predominant focus on corporate banking and is one of four incumbent Islamic banks in the country.

Dubai Women Establishment, Hawkamah IOD sign MoU

Dubai Women Establishment today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hawkamah, the Institute for Corporate Governance (HICG), aimed at creating a framework to advocate greater female representation in directorship positions in both the public and the private sectors. The MOU was signed by HE Mona Al Marri, Chairperson of the Dubai Women Establishment board and Director General of Dubai Media Office, and HE Hamad Buamim, Chairman of Hawkamah. The MoU will focus on areas of cooperation and will include opportunities for all signatories to participate in knowledge sharing activities and research, report creation and strengthening corporate government frameworks to encourage greater female participation at the board level.

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