Arabian Business

Creditor sale brings Dubai's Limitless to brink of debt plan deal

Dubai-based property developer Limitless is set to complete a drawn-out debt restructuring after the final dissenting creditor sold its share of the company's 4.45 billion dirhams ($1.2 billion) debt. New York-based Stonehill Capital Management sold its debt in the state-controlled company, worth around $15 million at face value, to Dubai Islamic Bank, an existing creditor and one of the members of the creditor committee. They declined to say at what price the debt was bought.

Bahrain's Arcapita acquires $100m logistics park in Dubai

Global investment management firm Arcapita has acquired a logistics park in Dubai for a total transaction value of approximately $100 million.The investment comprises nine freehold plots of land in the Al Quoz Industrial area covering an area of approximately 630,000 square feet, located next to Al Khail Road. The site will consist of 10 completed warehousing facilities that will be under a long term master lease with a UAE conglomerate. Martin Tan, Arcapita’s chief investment officer, expects Dubai’s logistics market to experience growth, driven by its geographical location and legislation.

Dubai Islamic Bank lists $500m sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has listed its latest sukuk worth $500 million on Nasdaq Dubai, bringing the bank’s total sukuk listings on the region’s international exchange to $3.25 billion. Following a total of seven sukuk listings this year by regional and international issuers, the total value of sukuk currently listed in Dubai has reached $42.61 billion, the largest amount of any listing centre in the world, underlining the rapid expansion of Dubai as a global capital of the Islamic Economy. Given the challenging market conditions, it was critical to have a strong credit come in and successfully close a deal, said Dr Adnan Chilwan, group CEO, DIB.

Bahrain's Nogaholding secures $570 million Islamic loan

Nogaholding, the holding company for oil and gas assets owned by the government of Bahrain, signed to obtain a five-year, $570 million murabaha financing facility. The Islamic funding will support investment in a number of large oil and gas projects in the kingdom, including the BAPCO Modernisation Programme, a liquefied natural gas import terminal, and the Bahrain Gas Plant Project. The facility is provided by 10 international, regional and local institutions: Arab Banking Corp, Ahli United Bank, Arab Petroleum Investments Corp, Gulf International Bank, National Bank of Bahrain, Qatar Islamic Bank, Kuwait Finance House, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas and HSBC.

Chairman, board member said to leave Bahrain's First Energy Bank

The chairman of Bahrain-based First Energy Bank, Khadem al-Qubaisi, and board member Mohamed al-Husseiny have reportedly left the bank, with a new chairman to be appointed shortly, after approval by the central bank of Bahrain. Al Qubaisi was one of the most prominent executives in the United Arab Emirates until the UAE energy minister replaced him as managing director of state-owned International Petroleum Investment Co last April. Husseiny was replaced as chief executive of Aabar last year after holding that post since 2010. Unlisted First Energy Bank reported a net loss of $375.2 million for 2015.

Saudi national carrier seeks $1.3bn sukuk to expand fleet

National carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) is seeking to raise 5 billion riyals ($1.3 billion) via the first tranche of a sukuk isuance programme in the second or third quarter of this year, its director-general Saleh al-Jasser said. The funds will be used to finance fleet expansion, as the carrier aims to operate 200 aircraft by 2020. Details of the second tranche of the sukuk programme have not been determined, he added. The airline has been spinning off units in the last several years; it is now preparing documentation to hive off its cargo unit in an initial public offer of shares, Jasser said without giving details.

Kuwait's Investment Dar airs new $2.7bn debt plan with creditors

Kuwaiti financial firm Investment Dar has begun talks with creditors about a new 813 million dinar ($2.7 billion) debt restructuring plan after a court threw out an earlier attempt. Investment Dar, whose main assets are in finance and property, has made several efforts to pay off creditors after getting heavily indebted during the financial crisis. Its most recent plan, dubbed Dasman, failed last month when Kuwait's Court of Appeal rejected an application under the country's financial stability law to impose it on all creditors. This resulted in a company-organised creditor meeting on Tuesday, attended by around half of its roughly 80 creditors. It was reported that both sides agreed to discuss a fresh restructuring deal, which could be proposed to creditors in the coming weeks.

The world according to billionaire Mo Ibrahim

During a one-hour interview on the balcony of his suite at the Palazzo Versace hotel along Dubai Creek, Ibrahim calls for a change in the incommensurate philanthropic culture among wealthy Muslims in the Gulf, blames GCC government’s favourable policies for the “laziness” of Middle Eastern investors in Africa and argues there have been more commendable leaders in Africa than in the West in the past decade. Brazen or simply unwilling to rose-tint his opinions, the Sudanese businessman who founded African telecommunications company Celtel in 1998 is more than anyone else in the world holding African leaders to account. Since 2000, the annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance has provided the most comprehensive assessment of African governments’ performances.

Qatar's largest Islamic bank eyes 8-10% growth in 2016

Qatar's largest sharia-compliant bank Masraf Al Rayan is expected to post annual profit growth of between 8 and 10 percent in 2016, Chairman Hussain Ali al-Abdulla said at the bank's annual general meeting. Masraf Al Rayan reported last month a 3.6 percent rise in full-year net profit in 2015 to 2.07 billion riyals, although its fourth-quarter earnings dipped slightly. Abdulla said the bank had no plans to issue sukuk this year as there was no need for additional liquidity. Falling liquidity is expected to be one of the main issues facing banks in the Gulf region in 2016, as governments remove cash on deposit to help replace lost revenue from lower hydrocarbon prices.

Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank: Dubai is leading the revolution in Islamic banking

Looking to 2016 and beyond, innovation will continue to be critical for the ongoing development of the Islamic finance industry. For instance, efficiency can still be improved as Sharia-compliant institutions still lag behind their conventional counterparts, and are increasingly looking to embrace technological innovation in order to minimise operational costs as well as project a modern face of banking that would appeal to a younger generation of customers, which will be critical for ongoing growth. Another area of development is the Islamic asset management sector, as the range of services available remains quite limited and there is a general lack of quality products in this space.

UAE's Islamic banks to outperform conventional rivals in 2015

The UAE's Islamic finance sector has continued to outpace the UAE's conventional banking sector's growth in 2015, according to ratings agency Fitch. The agency said in a statement that it expects demand for UAE Islamic banks' lending to continue to grow, supported by wider acceptance and an expanding customer base. Fitch added that Islamic banks have managed to reduce exposure to the real estate sector, which was historically higher than for conventional banks. Moreover, UAE Islamic banks will benefit from the central bank's decision this year to include sharia-compliant securities in the range of instruments it accepts as collateral for accessing liquidity.

Kuwait's Investment Dar revises $2.7bn debt restructuring plan

Indebted Kuwaiti financial firm Investment Dar is seeking court approval to help close a 813 million dinar ($2.7 billion) debt restructuring. The new plan, called Dasman, is designed to overcome minority creditor dissent to earlier proposals by asking Kuwait's Court of Appeal to impose the deal on all creditors. The plan involves transferring Investment Dar's assets, and the management of their disposal, directly to creditors. About 60 percent of creditors have voiced support for the new plan, said Investment Dar. Investment Dar continued to defend legal action from a minority of creditors not supportive of the plan and who were pursuing claims against the company independently.

GFH Financial says returns $53 million to investors

Bahrain’s GFH Financial Group has distributed dividends of $53 million to its funds’ investors, from investments in Bahrain, the UAE, US and India. In line with it's new strategy, GFH has spent the last 18 months investing in projects intended to provide steady cash yields for investors, the company said. For example, Diversified US Residential Portfolio (DURP) – an investment in US residential assets – distributed dividends of $1.3 million to investors. The portfolio comprises two multiple-dwelling residential properties, one in Houston, the other in Atlanta, with 1,300 apartments in total and 95 percent occupancy. Earlier this month, the group reported net profit of $13.6 million in the first six months of 2015.

Fifth of Libya’s wealth fund untraced since Gaddafi

An estimated 20 percent of Libya’s $67bn-plus sovereign wealth fund, the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), has yet to be fully traced since the death of Colonel Gaddafi. The LIA appointed Deloitte in 2012 to conduct an audit of all of its assets – many of which are tied up in investments outside the country. The auditor’s report was sent to the LIA in 2013 but has never been made public. The only detail the LIA released was the fund’s total value, estimated by Deloitte to be around $67 billion. The audit involved sourcing, verifying and valuing the assets of a fund its chairman Hassan Bouhadi describes as a “big black hole” whose contents are unknown to all but a few.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to begin $137m rights offer on Aug 23

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank's (ADIB) 504 million dirham ($137.2 million) rights offer will begin on Aug. 23, after shareholders approved the capital-raising plan. The lender will issue 168 million new shares in order to support its growth. The issue price is 3.0 dirhams. Each existing shareholder will have the right to subscribe to 56 new shares for every 1,000 shares held at the end of trading on Aug. 13. Subscriptions will start on Aug. 23 and end on Sept. 10. ADIB posted a 10.5 rise in its second-quarter net profit on Wednesday, beating analysts' estimates as fee income grew.

Qatar's largest sharia-compliant bank sees 27% surge in Q2 profits

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) beat the average forecast of analysts as it reported a 27 percent jump in second-quarter net profit on Tuesday. The Islamic lender made a net profit of 494.7 million riyals ($131.9 million) during the period, compared with 389.8 million riyals in the same period a year ago. The lender did not provide a detailed breakdown of its earnings. Qatar Islamic Bank posted net profit of 895.1 million riyals in the first half of the year, higher than 725.2 million riyals it reported a year-ago, according to its statement to the bourse.

New competition for Islamic digital economy start-ups

A new competition to support start-ups and businesses in the Islamic digital economy will be inaugurated at the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES 2015) on 5-6 October. The ‘Innovation 4 Impact’ competition will be hosted by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), in collaboration with Thomson Reuters. Also working with the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, it seeks to support start-ups and businesses in the Islamic digital economy and serve as an incubator for SMEs across the world. The competition is open for applications from any company or entrepreneur with an idea or business venture in the following sectors: E-commerce, mobile computing, cloud computing, big data, hyper-converged platforms, and new media and social media.

Dubai plans new sukuk channels as listings top other centres

Dubai has overtaken other financial centres in listing Islamic bonds on its exchanges, and is mounting a global drive to attract more listings while developing new channels to trade sukuk, Hamed Ahmed Ali, the chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai said. The exchange is working on ways to sell sukuk directly to retail investors, expanding the primary market beyond institutional buyers, and designing a sharia-compliant repurchase agreement, he said. Until 2013, issuers from the Gulf usually chose European exchanges to list sukuk; that has begun changing. Unlike Europe, Dubai has a stable of local state-linked firms which can be encouraged to issue sukuk and list them locally. Also, Dubai is at the heart of a Muslim region, which both supplies sukuk and provides investor demand, Ali said.

Islamic lender Amlak says eyeing partnership with Dubai's Emaar

Dubai-based Islamic mortgage lender Amlak Finance has said it is in talks with Emaar Properties to launch a partnership to develop land in “distinctive locations”. Amlak's shares soared 15 percent, the maximum allowed in a day on the Dubai Financial Market, after the company announced the plans. Amlak chief commercial officer Adnan Al Awadhi told Al Khaleej newspaper that it is also in talks with the emirate’s Land Department to revive stalled projects. Last month, Amlak recorded a 77 percent plunge in first-quarter profit because of amortisation charges. Amlak reported that net profit fell to AED3.7 million ($1.01 million) from AED16 million in the same period last year.

Saudi Binladin prices $267m sukuk issue

Saudi Binladin Group, one of the kingdom's largest construction firms, has priced an Islamic bond with a 364-day tenor worth 1 billion riyals ($267 million). The transaction, arranged by the investment banking arm of Gulf International Bank and BNP Paribas' Saudi unit, was priced with a profit rate of 2.5 percent. The funds from the issue will reportedly be used to finance costs related to its work at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. Binladin is the main contractor for the project, which aims to increase the airport's capacity to handle 80 million passengers annually by 2035. The terms of the sukuk are the same as those on the company's last Islamic bond offer in July 2013, which was arranged by the same banks.

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