Jailing Gulf debtors 'morally wrong' - economics academic

A leading economist says the practice of jailing debtors is morally wrong. In the rest of the world it is the banks’ responsibility to try to assess the credit worthiness of individuals. Prof Batchelor is trying to rebuild Dubai’s image. He thinks that Dubai could treat people who might have stayed and set up a business a little better. They shouldn’t be faced with the idea of going elsewhere in the world. Abdulfattah Sharaf, HSBC's head in the UAE, keeps his idea that jailing debtors remained an effective way for banks to retrieve bad loans.

Saudi mortgage law sparks 'differences of opinion'

The Shoura Council has completed 12 sittings regarding the draft of the mortgage law and to solve the differences of opinion. However, a timescale for when the draft law would be approved has not been given. The implementation of the Saudi mortgage law is expected to increase demand for housing by around 50 percent.

Sukuk pickup seen in H2 - HSBC Amanah

Razi Fakih, HSBC Amanah deputy chief executive, says the company is optimistic and sukuk is unlikely to fade out. HSBC has already served as Islamic bond manager on 13 sukuk issues in the first half of the year according Reuters Data. Research firm Oliver Wyman expects industry growth to about 20% until 2012.

Saudi mortgage law delay 'will hit lenders' - BMI

Saudi Arabia's parliament delays the decision concerning the mortgage law until the members return from summer recess. Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's biggest economy, needs 1.2 million new homes by 2015, says the Deutsche Bank research.

S&P sees 'major hurdles' for some GCC investment firms

Some investment companies in the Gulf will likely find it difficult to pursue their operations without dramatic changes in the wake of the global financial downturn, Standard & Poor's has said in a new report. "The main reasons behind this deterioration, in our opinion, are Gulf investment companies' generally high maturity mismatches they carry in their funding profiles and the ensuing weakened liquidity, weak business profiles, high leverage, and high exposure to real estate for some of them," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Mohamed Damak. Damak said: "But in the short term, we see some major hurdles for Gulf investment companies to overcome on the potential road to recovery."

Gulf Finance sees terms for $100m loan by July

Gulf Finance House, the Bahrain-based investment bank, aims to reach an agreement with creditors by early July on renegotiated terms for a $100 million loan as the lender seeks more time to implement its new business plan. The global financial crisis cut liquidity and lending, while Middle East property prices slumped, hurting investors in real estate projects in the region. Chief Executive Officer Ted Pretty said that the bank’s presentation of its restructuring package was “well received” by lenders along with its plan to change its business model to develop Islamic financial services.

Qatar to be largest overseas property investor in 2010

Qatar is expected to be the largest source of real estate capital during 2010, a Jones Lang LaSalle report said. Recent investments - such as the purchase of London department store Harrods in May are likely to be followed by further investments in other markets across Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia, it said. Qatar's competitive advantage will be helped by the decline in investment from German funds.

Saudi's SABIC gets $1bn credit from Alinma Bank

Saudi based Alinma Bank said that it would grant a $1bn credit facility to SABIC, plugging a financial gap at the petrochemical group. SABIC Chief Executive Mohamed al Mady declined to comment while Chief Financial Officer Mutlaq al Morished could not immediately be reached for comment. Alinma said Morished signed the agreement on behalf of SABIC. Ratings agency Moody's assigned the planned bond an A+ rating and said it understood it would be used to refinance or repay debt at SABIC Innovative Plastics Holding, the renamed GE Plastics.

Dubai Financial Support Fund receives USD 10 billion from Abu Dhabi

The government of Abu Dhabi and the Central Bank of the UAE has announced that it has agreed to provide $10 billion to the Dubai Financial Support Fund.

The Dubai Financial Support Fund can therefore enable Nakheel to pay its Sukuk due today.

Amara Holdings partners with Chinese investment firm

Amara Holdings, a Dubai investment firm, and New China Trust Company’s subsidiary, Shanghai Ding Hai Investment Management Company, will identify and evaluate Islamic finance investment opportunities in China for themselves and co-investors and clients.

S&P sceptical on Sukuk market growth

Sukuk growth might be limied due to higher costs of structuring, issuing, accounting fees, real estate downturn, and low hydrocarbon prices, says S&P in a report. Nevertheless, it said sukuk-based financing remained the most attractive means of raising funding for medium and long-term capital costs for GCC issuers.

Tawarruq controversy, Mohammad Akram Laldin approves of it

Sharia scholar Mohammad Akram Laldin rules organised tawarruq as not violating Islamic law principles.

Investment Dar denies bail out talks with Central Bank

NO BAILOUT: Investment Dar has denied media reports that it is in talks with the Central Bank of Kuwait over a bailout.

QInvest buys 44% stake in 130-year old UK Panmure stockbroking firm

QInvest, trumped two other bidders to buy a 44 % stake in Panmure Gordon & Co, investing USD 36.3 mn in the 130-year-old British stockbroking firm. The deal would involve a placing of 67.5 million shares, priced at 34 pence per share a 15 % discount on Wednesday's closing price.

Panmure said the cash injection would enhance its balance sheet and give it the financial strength to grow into new business areas and locations, including the Gulf.

Lead Manager Bahrain Sukuk

Bahrain’s central bank confirmed that it has appointed Deutsche Bank, HSBC Bank and Calyon as lead managers for its upcoming sale of the sovereign USD 500 mn 5-year Sukuk.

It will also issue 3-year debt in local currency to raise a further 250 mn Bahraini dinars.

Albaraka plans to enter France

Al Baraka Banking Group said it planned to enter the French market to tap into Western Europe's largest Muslim community reported Will Waterman in Arabianbusiness. Further Al Baraka's units in North Africa are planning tie-ups with French partners to "establish Islamic banking in France", it said in a statement on the Nasdaq Dubai, where it is also listed. However no legal agreements have been finalised

Saudi insurance companies incl takaful operators going IPO

Four Saudi insurance firms launched on Saturday initial public offerings to raise a total SAR 260 mn. Axa Cooperative Insurance Co and Wiqaya Takaful Insurance and Re-insurance Co will offer a 40 % stake, or 8 mn shares each. Ace Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co will also offer a 40 % stake equivalent to 4 mn shares, while Al Rajhi Company for Cooperative Insurance will offer 30 %, or 6 mn shares.

Sukuk to be traded in Saudi this year

Sukuk trading is about to start this year in Saudi according to the chairman of the capital market authority, Dr Abdulrahman Al Tuwaijri.

Fitch partially downgrades Kuwait Finance House

Fitch Ratings affirmed Kuwait Finance House's (KFH) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'A+' and Short-term IDR at 'F1'. KFH’s Individual Rating was downgraded to 'C/D' from 'C' and placed on Rating Watch Negative (RWN). KFH's Support '1' and Support Rating Floor 'A+' were affirmed. The Outlook for the Long-term IDR is Stable.

Projections for Takaful - Views of Best RE CEO

Nopporn Wong-Anan wrote in Arabianbusiness on 30 March that Saleh Malaikah, chairman of Islamic reinsurance operator BEST Re sees the takaful business growing by 17 % over the next 3 years. The growth prospects lying in the fact that insurance coverage is not widely used in the Middle East and shows therefore potential; Saudi Arabia has a market share of 20 % in takaful from the overall insurance market, and promises the highest growth rate. In Malaysia the takaful market share has reached 30 %.

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