Mohammed Khnifer

MIDEAST DEBT - #Sukuk documents seek to reassure investors after Dana Gas scare

Sukuk issuers are changing the language in documentation for new issues to reassure investors after Dana Gas refused to redeem $700 million of maturing sukuk. Dana Gas said it would not repay sukuk maturing in October because changes in the interpretation of Islamic finance had made the bonds unlawful in the UAE. Issuers are now amending their documentation to preclude the use of this argument. According to Mohamed Damak, global head of Islamic finance at Standard & Poor's, clauses seeking to reduce sharia compliance risk have become normal in the global industry, but the complexity of sukuk makes it difficult to remove the risk entirely. According to Mohammed Khnifer, senior associate at the Islamic Development Bank, sukuk holders and issuers will now rely more on English law and avoid local laws with dollar-denominated issuance.

Mideast Debt: Islamic finance industry frets as Dana Gas deems its #sukuk invalid

The decision by Dana Gas to declare $700 million of its sukuk invalid has raised concern about the safety of sharia-compliant debt instruments in general. Dana Gas received advice that its sukuk were not compliant with the Islamic sharia code and had become unlawful in the United Arab Emirates. The firm said it would halt payments and proposed that creditors exchange the sukuk for new Islamic instruments. Dana has struggled to obtain payments from its production assets in Egypt and Iraq's Kurdistan. With a cash balance of just $298 million in March, it had been expected to have difficulty redeeming its sukuk in October. Mohammed Khnifer, a senior associate at the Islamic Development Bank, said this specific sharia compliance risk was unprecedented and this incident had startled the Islamic finance industry.

Controversy dogs GS Sukuk

The most anticipated launch for some time is the slated $2bn Goldman Sachs (GS) Sukuk that will close at the end of this month.
Mohammed Khnifer, external Islamic finance specialist for Edcomm Group Banker’s Academy in New York, stated that although the path GS is taking is full of controversy, it could open the door for the western conventional finance industry to enter the Islamic finance in a big way.
Khnifer argues in the first place the tradability mechanism of the Sukuk threatenes its Shari’ah compliance. Second, he debates that with GS being the beating heart of Wall Street and standard-bearer of free-wheeling casino capitalism it cannot guarantee to Islamic investors that it will ring-fence the proceeds of its Sukuk to support just Shari’ah compliant, Riba-free activities; especially as it has no Islamic window.

Three likely flaws in Goldman Sach's milestone sukuk

In this column, Mohammed Khnifer reveals, after examining the offer circular thoroughly, three possible flaws in the overall structure.
1- Strong indication from the proposed structure and the prospectus as well that the sukuk is not, as they claim, Murabaha, but a Reverse Tawarruq.
2- Strong indication that Goldman will be using, eventually, the proceeds to fund its conventional activities.
3- The so called Murabaha sukuk is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE). There are some concernes on how the ISE will make sure that the securities will be traded at par value.

Sukuk Defaults Bring Innovative Restructuring Approaches to the Islamic Finance Industry

"Stand & Default: An exclusive detailed insight to sukuk restructuring after defaults. The author brings for the first time the three approved structuring approaches: 1) Debt/Equity SWAP 2) Extending Maturity, 3) Haircut "

The Untold Story of the Premium Collapse of Gulf Finance House

"The Private Equity Calamity

This paper dissects the balance sheet and business model of Gulf Finance, and scrutinizes the existence of a "pre-exit premium" in their activities - on top of the usual exit fees and/or performance fees. The study suggests that this practice (uncommon even for conventional Private Equity businesses - much less for an Islamic Private Equity house) was pioneered by GFH and it is this same practice that brought them down to their knees. "

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