Zurich Insurance moves into takaful with Malaysia buy

Zurich Insurance is set to take full ownership of Malaysia's MAA Takaful after the deal received regulatory approval, giving Europe's fifth-biggest insurer a foothold in the world's second largest Islamic insurance market. MAA Group said it had received central bank approval for the sale, a deal which was first proposed in November of last year. No size for the transaction was given. MAA Takaful held 1.2 billion ringgit ($306.7 million) worth of assets as of June 2015, a 5 percent increase from a year earlier.

Saudi Arabian Airlines appoints HSBC to arrange 5 bln riyal sukuk - exec

National carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has appointed HSBC as the lead arranger for a 5 billion riyal ($1.3 billion) sukuk issue. According to director general Saleh al-Jasser the sukuk would be sold in the second half of the year. Jasser said last month that the sukuk offering would finance fleet expansion, with the carrier aiming to operate 200 aircrafts by 2020.

REFILE-Dubai Islamic Bank says potential buyers eyeing Jordan unit

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) said it had received a letter of intent from a consortium led by Jordan's Bank Al Etihad interested in buying MESC Investment. The proposal sets out the terms and conditions required for the purchase of MESC Investment, a Jordan-based company in which DIB holds a 40 percent shareholding through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Petra and Levant One. MESC owns 52 percent of Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank, a Jordan-based unit of DIB.

Fitch Affirms Seven Qatari Banks at 'A+'; QNB at 'AA-'

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Qatar National Bank's Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'AA-'. The agency has also affirmed the IDRs of The Commercial Bank, Doha Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, Al Khalij Commercial Bank, Qatar International Islamic Bank and Ahli Bank and International Bank of Qatar at 'A+'. The Outlooks on all the Long-Term IDRs are Stable. Fitch has also upgraded International Bank of Qatar's Viability Rating, which is driven by its growth strategy, focusing almost exclusively on Qatar.

Malaysia launches US$1.5bn dual-tranche sukuk

According to a deal lead Malaysia has launched a US$1.5bn dual-tranche sukuk. The transaction is split between a US$1bn 10-year tranche that has a profit rate of 135bp over Treasuries and a US$500m 30-year tranche at 145bp over Treasuries. Guidance of 150bp area over Treasuries and 165bp area over was released earlier on Wednesday. The transaction is conducted by CIMB, HSBC, JP Morgan and Maybank.

Islamic Corp for Development of Private Sector launches $300 mln sukuk - leads

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) has launched a $300 million five-year sukuk that should price later on Wednesday. The transaction seems to have struggled to gain traction with investors, having initially been earmarked to price as early as Tuesday and sized as a benchmark offering. ICD has "retained a portion of the transaction", but no details were given. The issuer has also set pricing at the wide end of the 125-130 basis points over midswaps guide range given on the previous day. Noor Bank and Warba Bank have been added to the 10-strong group of banks arranging the transaction: Bank ABC, Boubyan Bank, CIMB, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, First Gulf Bank, HSBC, Mizuho, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered.

Can imams drive action on climate change in Pakistan?

Imams and other religious leaders are an under-used means of pushing action to combat climate change, experts and religious scholars say. Religious leaders have the moral standing to call on people and businesses to consider the environmental impact of their activities and take a bigger role in reducing their own carbon footprints and finding ways to cope with the growing impacts of climate change, experts said at a multi-faith meeting in Islamabad. But first, they need training to both understand and communicate the issues accurately in a country hard-hit by climate-related drought, flooding, crop losses and other problems.

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.

MIDEAST STOCKS-GFH Financial rises on stake sale; Dubai lacklustre

Shares in GFH Financial Group rose on Tuesday after the Islamic investment bank said it had agreed to sell a 10 percent stake in Bahraini cement producer Falcon Cement Co. GFH's Dubai-listed shares rose 2.3 percent. It has yet to trade in Bahrain. Other Dubai stocks made little headway. Rival developers Union Properties and Deyaar rose 1.2 and 1.6 percent respectively, but these are relative minnows compared with market bellwether Emaar Properties, which dropped 1.1 percent. Air Arabia fell 6.6 percent after the budget carrier went ex-dividend, helping drag Dubai's index 0.5 percent lower to 3,362 points. That trimmed the benchmark's gains since mid-January's two-year low to 28.2 percent.

UPDATE 1-Kuwait's Boubyan Bank aims to issue $250 mln sukuk by April-end

Kuwait's Boubyan Bank aims to issue sukuk worth $250 million before the end of April, the lender's chief executive said on Monday. Adel Abdul Wahab al-Majed told reporters of the plan after the company's annual meeting. Boubyan Bank in January said it had received regulatory approval to issue a capital-boosting sukuk worth $250 million. Majed added that the sukuk would allow the bank to fulfill Basel III requirements and cover its capital needs until 2018.

Islamic Corp for Development of Private Sector announces sukuk plan

Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) has chosen ten banks to arrange a series of meetings with fixed income investors ahead of a potential sale of sukuk, a document from lead arrangers showed. The unit of Islamic Development Bank will roadshow in Asia, Europe and the Middle East commencing on Mar. 23, with a dollar-denominated sukuk of benchmark size to be issued after the meetings, subject to market conditions. Bank ABC, Boubyan Bank, CIMB, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, First Gulf Bank, HSBC, Mizuho, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered are the chosen arrangers of the meetings and potential sukuk issue.

Qatar International Islamic Bank preparing 1 bln riyal sukuk issue

Qatar International Islamic Bank is in the advanced stages of preparing to conduct a Tier 1 sukuk issue worth 1 billion riyals ($275 million), it said in a statement on Thursday. The bank said the capital-boosting issue would follow the bank receiving all regulatory approvals. It didn't elaborate.

Fitch Rates Indonesia's Sukuk 'BBB-(EXP)'

Fitch Ratings has assigned Indonesia's proposed US dollar-denominated sovereign global certificates (sukuk) issued through Perusahaan Penerbit SBSN Indonesia III (PPSI-III) an expected 'BBB-(EXP)' rating. The expected rating is in line with Indonesia's Long-Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'BBB-', which has a Stable Outlook. The rating reflects Fitch's view that cash flows supporting payment on the sukuk will constitute direct, unconditional, unsecured and general obligations of Indonesia, ranking equally with Indonesia's unsecured and unsubordinated marketable external debt. Fitch has given no consideration to the sukuk's underlying assets.

Islamic Development Bank sets final guidance for 5-yr dollar sukuk - leads

Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank has set final price guidance for a dollar-denominated sukuk issue of five years duration, which it plans to sell later on Thursday. Guidance has been set at 50 basis points over midswaps. Islamic Development Bank on Wednesday opened books and set initial price thoughts in the range of mid-to-high 50s bps. The benchmark-sized offering has received orders worth $1.4 billion from investors so far, of which $190 million came from the joint lead arrangers. The sukuk offering is being arranged by Boubyan Bank, CIMB, Emirates NBD Capital, Gulf International Bank, JP Morgan, Natixis and Standard Chartered.

BRIEF-Turkey's TMSF says Bank Asya cannot be returned to original shareholders

TMSF fund says Bank Asya will either be sold or merged within this period, or liquidated if that not possible.

UPDATE 1-Turkey to liquidate Bank Asya if sale not agreed within three months

Turkey's Bank Asya will not be returned to its original shareholders after being seized by the government last year, the deposit insurance fund that now owns the bank said, adding that it would pursue liquidation if a buyer is not found within three months. Within the framework of the existing legal situation, the return of the bank to its (shareholders) is not possible, the Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) said on Tuesday, adding that it had given the bank a three-month deadline from Feb. 29 to find a buyer or be merged. If this is not possible, its liquidation will come on to the agenda, the TMSF said.

Islamic bank BLME to acquire SME-focused leasing business

Bank of London and The Middle East (BLME) said it would acquire Renaissance Asset Finance as part of efforts to grow its leasing business. Dubai-listed BLME said in a statement the acquisition would be finalised in early April, without disclosing a deal size. The Islamic lender helped launch Renaissance in 2014 when it provided a financing line of 35 million pounds, with both firms seeking to fill a funding gap for mid-sized companies. Renaissance offers financing solutions including sale and leaseback transactions, with a maximum advance of 2 million pounds.

UPDATE 1-Turkish authorities to sell or liquidate Bank Asya -fund chairman

Turkey plans to sell Islamic lender Bank Asya by the end of May and will liquidate it if a buyer is not found, Sakir Ercan Gul, chairman of the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) that controls the bank said. Gul said that some of the bank's partners have accepted it, some of them have not. The bank will be sold in any case, he added. Last year the government seized the assets of Bank Asya, saying its financial structure and management presented a threat to the financial system, and took over more than 20 companies with ties to Gulen.

Qatar's Masraf Al Rayan sees 8-10 pct profit growth in 2016 - chairman

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, or sharia-compliant bonds, 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.

Fitch: Kuwaiti Islamic Banking Slowing In Line with Industry Trends

Fitch Ratings says tougher operating conditions in Kuwait and the region will translate into slower growth for Islamic banks during the year, albeit in line with industry trends. The Islamic Banks Dashboard published today covers Kuwait's Islamic banking sector comprising five banks (out of 10 domestic banks) which hold a total market share of 39% (by assets). Fitch believes that Islamic financing growth will moderate in 2016 due to a sharper-than-expected fall in oil prices and the resulting impact on the economy and business environment. The sector is, however, expected to remain profitable despite weaker operating income and higher impairment charges.

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