United Arab Emirates

DFSA releases findings of corporate governance review in DIFC

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) recently concluded a thematic review of the corporate governance of firms licensed to provide financial services in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The review focussed on twelve themes fundamental to good corporate governance including management structures and practices, systems and controls, internal audit and management information flows. This review is the first full scale corporate governance review and is the first occasion on which the DFSA has issued a Report on this subject. A significant finding of the review, documented in the Report, was that firms often did not carry out structured, periodic reviews of their Governing Bodies and their committees, or their effectiveness.

Empower secures $127.8m loan from Dubai Islamic Bank

Empower, the district cooling company, has secured a $127.8 million (Dh469.4 million) loan from Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB). The loan facility, to be paid back over half yearly instalments over five years, will be used to fund Empower’s district cooling area in Dubai’s Business Bay area. Empower said that the loan is a cost-effective measure to sustain company growth. The loan is the first Islamic financing facility taken out by Empower.

ADIB offers investors low-risk exposure to global sharia-compliant stocks

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is offering investors low-risk exposure to global sharia-compliant stocks through a new 100% capital-protected note that tracks the Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 index. The launch of the note is part of ADIB's growing wealth management offering and helps investors in the region to diversify their portfolio. The Dow Jones Islamic Market Titans 100 Index, which includes the largest 100 sharia-compliant stocks traded globally, has given an annualized return of 6.01 percent over the last 10 years, and just over 21 percent in 2013. The note provides 100 percent capital protection at maturity to minimize risk for a minimum investment of US $30,000. The notes are open for subscription until 24th September 2014.

Hawkamah appoints Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din as New Chief Executive Officer

Hawkamah has announced the appointment of Dr. Ashraf Gamal El Din, as the Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2014. He will be based in Dubai with a mandate to cover the MENASA region. With 28 years’ experience, Dr. Ashraf has worked with several companies and educational institutions. Dr. Ashraf has extensive experience in corporate governance and in setting and implementing strategies to raise the level of awareness and application of corporate governance and responsible business behaviour among companies. Dr. Ashraf holds a PhD degree from the School of Economic, Social and Legal Studies, University of Manchester, England.

KFH-Investment participates in Sharjah $750m debut sukuk

Kuwait Finance House Investment Company (KFH-Investment) has participated in arranging USD 750 mln debut sukuk for the emirate of Sharjah. Emad Al Monayea, Board Director and Chief Executive Officer, KFH-Investment stated that the sukuk witnessed 10-time oversubscription where order book was about USD7.85 billion from 250 accounts. He added that the government plans to continue to use borrowing to fund priority capital investment. He explained that rating agencies Moody’s and S&Ps assigned sukuk A and A3 ratings supported by the stable future outlook. Talking about the allocation of the debut sukuk, he said that Middle East is 50 per cent, UK 20 per cent, rest of Europe 11 per cent, Asia 14 per cent and others five per cent.

Sharjah debut Islamic bond 10 times oversubscribed

Gulf emirate Sharjah launched its first sovereign sukuk on Wednesday, a 10-year, 750-million-US-dollar Islamic bond with a 3.764 percent yield. Following a press conference in Sharjah on Wednesday to announce the issue, the government said the bond had been more than 10 times oversubscribed, drawing in 7.85 billion dollars in orders from 250 investors. Regional investors accounted for 50 percent of these, with British investors accounting for 20 percent, other European investors 11 percent, and those from Asia 14 percent. The bond was originally priced at 100 basis points over midswaps, but this was later tightened to 120 points in response to the high demand, before the government finally decided on 110 points. The bond will now be traded on the Nasdaq Dubai exchange and the Irish Stock Exchange.

Sharjah sets initial price guidance on a 10-year sukuk at 120bp area over mid-swaps

Sharjah has announced initial price guidance of 120bp area over mid-swaps for a US dollar benchmark-sized 10-year sukuk. That follows initial price thoughts of low-mid 100s over mid-swaps, released earlier on Tuesday. Demand for the bond, which is expected to price on Wednesday, is more than US$4bn. HSBC, KFH Investment, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah Islamic Bank and Standard Chartered are the lead managers on the Reg S sukuk.

Deyaar developing Sharia-compliant hotel in Dubai

Deyaar Development is planning to build a Sharia-compliant hotel and furnished apartment tower in the Al Barsha area of Dubai. The company confirmed the project, estimated to cost around AED450 million (US $123 million). Deyaar owns two adjacent plots of land in Al Barsha spanning a total of 71,000 square feet. The project is in the preliminary design stage. Earlier this week, Deyaar launched a new project in Dubai called Montrose, featuring a hotel apartment tower and two residential towers. In March, the company said it had allotted up to one million square feet for hotel and serviced apartment projects in prime locations in the city in the coming years.

Fitch upgrades Al Hilal Bank, affirms 8 others’ ratings

International ratings agency Fitch on Thursday upgraded Al Hilal Bank and affirmed 8 other banks and one non-bank financial institution rating. Fitch said it had upgraded Al Hilal Bank's (AHB) Viability Rating (VR) and affirmed the VRs of the other seven banks and all other ratings. The affirmation of the banks' Long-Term IDRs, Support Ratings and Support Rating Floors, reflects the extremely high probability of support available from the UAE authorities and governments, if required. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Mashreqbank, Commercial Bank of Dubai, RakBank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Bank of Sharjah and Dunia have been rated in the report.

Barclays acquisition fails to excite ADIB Investors

Having completed the acquisition of Barclays retail banking division in the UAE on September 1st, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank has seen little change in its market growth. The $177 million deal will give ADIB access to Barclays’ 110,000 customers in the Emirates, as well as 145 staff members that will continue to work from existing branches. Having been hit with a $453m fine for its involvement in the Libor interest-rigging scandal back in 2012, Barclays has been stripping assets and jobs in an effort to boost profits. As such, the ADIB deal is, in fact, overshadowed by a far larger sale, as Barclays announced the sale of its Spanish retail, wealth management and corporate banking business for $1.04 billion to CaixaBank.

Moody’s A3 Credit Rating Gives Sharjah Debut Sukuk Edge

Sharjah gears up for its first Shariah-compliant bond sale this month. The emirate may price the debt to yield 2.5 percent to 3 percent if it’s a five-year issue. That compares with a yield of about 2.66 percent on non-Islamic notes due 2019 for Dubai, which doesn’t carry a rating. Sharjah’s A3 rating at Moody’s Investors Service, a grade four levels above junk, widens the pool of investors who can buy the debt. Moody’s cited the emirate’s “strong” fiscal and government-debt position, which may appeal to some money managers in Asia and Europe whose fund rules prevent them from holding non-rated or below-investment-grade debt. The emirate will meet investors in the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia and the U.K., and will sell a sukuk subject to market conditions.

Dubai Islamic Bank rules out controlling stake in Indonesian lender

Dubai Islamic Bank has ruled out seeking a controlling stake in Bank Panin Syariah, and its plans are limited to raising its stake in the Indonesian lender to 40 percent from 25 percent now, its chief executive Adnan Chilwan said. Dubai Islamic bought 2.42 billion shares in the listed sharia-compliant lender in June, its first foray into southeast Asia. In May, the bank said it hoped to reach 40 percent before the end of the year, using its own cash to fund the purchase. Under Indonesian rules, foreign ownership of local lenders requires regulatory approval to go above 40 percent. Last month, Indonesia's financial services authority said it was preparing a five-year industry blueprint that would address foreign ownership limits.

IHCC CEO Sultan Batterjee to Share Insights on Social Development at Leaders in Construction Summit UAE 2014

Construction Week's Leaders in Construction Summit is set to take place on September 3 in Dubai. IHCC, a turnkey solutions provider that specializes in healthcare, education and mixed-use projects, will participate in the Summit by organizing a panel discussion on designing and managing diverse social infrastructure projects including hospitals, schools and universities. IHCC's CEO Sultan Sobhi Batterjee will share insights at a panel discussion that will mull diverse emerging issues in the real estate sector such as the rise in spending on social infrastructure across the GCC, how contractors can win work in this area, what special capabilities are required and best ways to partner with leading international education and healthcare providers.

Watania says regulator approves 60.53pc stake sale

Abu Dhabi-listed Islamic insurer National Takaful Co (Watania) said on Tuesday that United Arab Emirates regulators had approved the sale of 60.53 percent of the firm to MB UAE Investments and an affiliate of MB. Watania said MB UAE Investments would acquire 51 percent and Al Madina Insurance Co would take 9.53 percent. The group would buy a total of 90.8 million shares. The deadline for the purchase is next Feb. 24, Watania said in the statement. It did not give details such as the purchase price or who would sell the shares. In a separate filing on the Oman bourse, however, Al Madina said it would buy 14.3 million Watania shares for 17.88 million dirhams ($4.87 million), implying it would pay 1.25 dirhams per share.

Dubai bank to up stake in Panin Syariah

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has officially submitted a request to Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK) to up its stake in Jakarta-listed Bank Panin Syariah (PNBS). It has expressed its intention to increase its ownership in Panin Syariah to 40 percent. DIB currently owns a 24.9 percent stake in Panin Syariah, a subsidiary of private lender Panin Bank (PNBN). The United Arab Emirates lender acquired Panin Syariah’s shares, reportedly worth Rp 251.79 billion (US$21.7 million), in two stages in May this year. The rest of Panin Syariah’s shares are controlled by Panin Bank with 52.5 percent, Hesti Femi Nugraheni with 5.4 percent and the public with 17.2 percent. The OJK expects to complete the talks and issue approval for DIB later this year.

Amended DIFC law to enhance regulation and attract investors

The DIFC Laws Amendment Law 2014, which amends the Regulatory Law 2004 and various other laws related to the Dubai International Financial Centre, is expected to give a new boost the financial services business from DIFC. The Amendments that will come to effect on August 21 makes a number of significant changes to the Dubai Financial Services Authority’s (DFSA’s) regulatory regime and investment laws. They are an important step in simplifying and improving the structure and procedures for decision making and review of DFSA decisions. They will also strengthen DFSA supervisory and enforcement powers, and improve the supervisory oversight of auditors.

Islamic economy chief calls on banks to help SMEs

While the UAE Government has launched a number of initiatives this year to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), there are still industry executives who say that much more needs to be done – especially when it comes to the nascent Islamic economy. The UAE is especially keen to give Emiratis a chance of helping the economy by starting their own businesses, and a number of big companies are promoting the initiatives by inviting SMEs to be their suppliers. Banks have played their part in recent years as they recovered from the financial crisis of 2008. While criticism against banks for not doing enough to fund SME businesses was justified before the financial crisis, when banks were more focused on financing real estate and retail customers, that is no longer the case.

DIFC Investments Plans Sukuk Issue

DIFC Investments, the investment arm of the company running Dubai’s financial free zone, is reportedly planning to issue sukuk. The company has appointed banks and could come to market as early as September. Key banks on a 2012 loan deal are among those involved in the new sukuk. DIFC took out a $1 billion syndicated loan in May 2012 with Emirates NBD acting as financial adviser, while Standard Chartered coordinated the debt. Dubai Islamic Bank and Noor Bank also participated in the loan. The purpose of that loan was to refinance a $1.2 billion FRN sukuk that was maturing later that year. The new sukuk, if successful, could be used to refinance that 2012 loan.

Emirates secures USD425 Islamic loan

Emirates have secured a $425 million shariacompliant loan from a group of UAE banks to finance the acquisition of two Airbus A380 aircraft. Emirates used the loan to take delivery of its 50th A380 in Hamburg last month. The aircraft is scheduled to enter into service sometime in early August. Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (Adib), Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) were the joint book runners and initial mandated lead arrangers in the transaction. Emirates is the largest operator of the superjumbo A380 and have a further 90 on order. The airline’s president, Tim Clark, has previously said he is interested in ordering more of the superjumbos if Airbus is able to manufacture a more fuel efficient “neo” version.

Emicool signs $245 million refinancing facility with Dubai Islamic Bank

Emirates District Cooling LLC (Emicool) has signed a $245 million 12-year facility with Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) which will largely refinance its existing debt and also fund the company’s expansion plans. The refinancing agreement was signed by Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Yagub Al Serkal, Chairman of Emicool, and Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank, recently in the presence of Mr. Adib Moubadder, CEO of Emicool, and DIB executives. Mr. Moubadder said that there is a huge potential for growth in the district cooling industry, and as one of the major players, Emicool is looking at investing in infrastructure, which will assist to offer quality products to capture a significant share of the market.

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