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Islamic Finance Briefing - Archive | February, 2011

Islamic finance to jump to USD 3 trillion by 2016: study

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From KUNA: he demand for Shariah-compliant financial products is growing very rapidly which is expected to take the total assets of this sector up to USD 3 trillion by 2016, said a study conducted by the Swiss Bank group (Credit Suisse) and the University of Zurich.
Scientists working with the University of Zurich professor of economics, Ernst Fehr recently made a striking discovery; based on psychological experiments, they found religiosity to have a significant influence on economic action……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Islamic wealth management: Niche or new wave?

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Combining wealth management with the principles of Islamic law is a relatively young sector in Islamic Banking. Worried about the civil unrest in the region and the effect on your money? Switzerland has always benefited from its reputation as a “safe haven”, especially during times of political crisis such as the Middle East and North Africa is going through.
Despite pressures from the US and Germany on the Swiss banking secrecy law (which dates back to 1934), banks in Zurich and Geneva have reported inflows from wealthy Arab clients who prefer to secure and diversify parts of their wealth……………………………………….Full Press Release: Source

Gov’t eyes tie-up with Islamic Development Bank for Filipino Muslims

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From PNA: The government is keen on improving the lives of Filipino Muslims and efforts on this are expected to have more meaningful results as the government starts talks with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said a representative from the IsDB was present during the government and World Bank-initiated Philippine Development Forum (PDF) in Pasay City Saturday……………………………………….Full Article: Source

New Kenya law to boost Islamic finance

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabnews.com: Kenya may pass legislation to eliminate tax barriers to Islamic bond issuance by the end of the year with the government looking to launch Islamic treasury bills and bonds, known as sukuk, bankers said.
Kenya, the largest economy in east Africa, has yet to tap international markets but is eyeing Islamic bonds as an option to raise funds from sharia-compliant investors, central bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u said in an e-mail……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Sukuk rallies as Gulf crisis spreads

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulfnews.com: Yields on Malaysia’s dollar-denominated Islamic bonds are trading near the lowest level in a month as investors favour the nation’s assets over those in the Middle East amid escalating political violence.
The yield on the government’s 3.928 per cent sukuk due June 2015 dropped 11 basis points last week to 2.89 per cent, according to prices from Royal Bank of Scotland Group. They were at 2.88 per cent on Tuesday and at 2.86 per cent at the beginning of the month……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Surge in global sukuk issuance revives investors’ hopes

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabnews.com: There is growing optimism about the immediate prospects for the Islamic finance industry starting in 2011.
Last week in Oxford, Muhammad Al-Jasser, governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), emphasized that sukuk have a great potential in the Saudi and Gulf market and SAMA encourages banks and corporates to go down the sukuk route and would like to see the local credit market diversified from bank finance to corporate bonds and sukuk……………………………………….Full Article: Source

UK’s Gatehouse plans $97 mln sukuk by end Q1 - CEO

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: Gatehouse Bank, a London-based sharia compliant investment bank, plans to bring a 60 million pound ($96.77 million) Islamic bond to market by the end of the first quarter, its chief executive said on Sunday.
Richard Thomas, speaking on the sidelines of an Islamic forum in the United Arab Emirates’ capital, said the bank would also arrange a 25 million pound syndicated lease financing this year……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Korea: Preacher attacks Lee on sukuk bill

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Joongang Daily: Pastor David Yonggi Cho, one of the most influential Protestant evangelists in the country, has declared war against President Lee Myung-bak over the administration’s backing of a bill that will provide a tax exemption for the local issuers of Islamic sukuk bonds.
Cho, senior pastor and founder of the Yoido Full Gospel Church, said that he will led a fight to topple Lee from the presidency if the government backs the sukuk legislation……………………………………….Full Article: Source

IFSB response to QCB position on Islamic banking windows

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabnews.com: The issuance by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) recently of a directive requiring the country’s conventional banks which have opened Islamic banking windows (IBWs) to close them down by the end of 2011 may result in a spate of operational complexities in the implementation of the directive.
Both Professor Rifaat Abdel Karim, the secretary general of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), the prudential and supervisory standard setting body for the global Islamic finance industry, and Islamic bankers such as Richard Thomas, the CEO of Gatehouse Bank in the UK, agree that the complexities lie with trying to match short-term deposits placed with the IBWs with their longer term liabilities……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Islamic unit closure not to hit profits: Doha Bank

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thepeninsulaqatar.com: Doha Bank says the closure of its Islamic arm wouldn’t affect its profitability as it would still be free to invest in Shariah-compliant avenues. “There are opportunities to invest. Still we can invest and grow long-term value generation out of Islamic finance,” the bank’s CEO, R Seetharaman, said.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of Doha Bank’s AGM yesterday, he said contract financing was its forte and it would focus more on it for added growth……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Doha Bank says it will invest in Islamicfinance, focus on cross-border funding

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf-times.com: Doha Bank said it would continue to invest in Islamic finance even as it focuses on cross-border funding. The bank will also explore various other options including Islamic asset sales after the recent Qatar Central Bank (QCB) directive to commercial banks on their Islamic operations.
“Nothing prevents us from investing in Shariah-based finance. There are opportunities to invest; we can still invest and grow long-term value generation out of Islamic finance,” Doha Bank group CEO R Seetharaman said……………………………………….Full Article: Source

JIB continues to maintain dominance

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabnews.com: The dominant market position of Jordan Islamic Bank (one of the unassuming success stories of Islamic finance) is likely to remain uncontested for the foreseeable future, enabling the bank to sustain its business expansion.
This was the conclusion made recently by Cyprus-based Capital Intelligence, the credit-rating agency that specializes in emerging markets……………………………………….Full Article: Source

UAE’s NBAD to launch first Islamic repo product in March- official

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) will launch a sharia-compliant repo product in March to encourage secondary market trading and is in talks with two unnamed counterparties for the same, an official said on Sunday.
The Abu Dhabi lender expects the Islamic repo market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to be worth about $2 billion, said Sameh Al Qubaisi, general manager for NBAD’s institutional and corporate coverage group……………………………………….Full Article: Source

NBAD plans Islamic banking unit in Malaysia

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Brecorder.com: National Bank of Abu Dhabi plans to set up an Islamic banking unit in Malaysia after its conventional bank unit starts operations there in the third-quarter, its chief executive said on Sunday.
“We have a conventional licence. If the authorities allow us, we would like to have an element for an Islamic licence,” Michael Tomalin told reporters at an Islamic forum. The executive did not provide more details on the plan……………………………………….Full Article: Source

NBAD to pioneer Sharia-compliant repo loans

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thenational.ae: The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) is to launch the first Sharia-compliant repurchase agreement, in a move expected to give a shot in the arm to the UAE’s banking industry.
Repurchase agreements, also known as repos, allow a bank to lend money by buying an asset and reselling it at an agreed time, granting extra funds to lend or to purchase assets……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Islamic banks need to be competitive: Ex-QCB chief

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thepeninsulaqatar.com: Conventional banks were allowed to have Islamic operations to help them have diversified sources of revenue and make the local banking industry more competitive, says a former governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB).
Islamic banks in the country had small capital base then and that was another reason why their conventional counterparts were permitted to offer Islamic banking services, said Abdullah bin Khalid Al Attiyah……………………………………….Full Article: Source

IBQ-QDB pact to boost small, medium industry

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf-times.com: IBQ and the Qatar Development Bank have signed an agreement for QDB’s Al Dhameen SME Programme, which aims at growing the local Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector and further contributing to Qatar’s economic expansion.
QDB established the Al Dhameen indirect lending programme to offer a range of financing solutions to viable SMEs. The programme has been designed to improve access to financing for SME’s by guaranteeing part of the funding extended by commercial banks……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Saba Islamic Bank top on profit rates for 12th straight year

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Yemenpost.net: Saba Islamic Bank topped the local Islamic banks for the 12th straight year in terms of the profit rates on the investment deposits in 2010.
It announced the profit rate of Yemeni riyal deposits was 14.50 per cent and the profit rate of foreign currency deposits 7.52 per cent……………………………………….Full Article: Source

ABC Islamic Bank reports $2.1 mln net profit for 2010

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Cpifinancial.net: ABC Islamic Bank has announced a net profit of $2.1 million for 2010 compared to $10.1 million for 2009. Total operating income was $15.9 million compared to $20.4 million for 2009, due to lower rates and de-risking of balance sheet asset size.
Staff and operating costs of $4.9 million were also lower than the previous year of $5 million. Impairment provisions of $8.6 million were taken for regional exposures during the year, $3.6 million higher than the previous year……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Euromoney’s honor to HSBC Amanah

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabnews.com: HSBC Amanah, the global Islamic financial services business of the HSBC Group and affiliate of the Saudi British Bank (SABB), has been named for the second consecutive year Best International Islamic Bank by Euromoney magazine, in its Islamic Finance Awards 2011.
The awards are widely considered to be the most high profile accolades in the Islamic finance industry and annually recognize outstanding performance, quality, service, and innovation in the sector……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Emirates Islamic Bank had a significant presence at the 2011 National Career Exhibition Sharjah

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Emirates Islamic Bank, one of the region’s leading Islamic finance institutions participated in the National Career Exhibition in Sharjah 2011. The National Career Exhibition is the country’s leading platform for launching a successful career in the banking and finance sectors.
The 2011 edition of the exhibition was under the patronage of H.H Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohamed Al Qassimi, member of the Supreme council and Ruler of Sharjah and which is held at the Sharjah Expo Centre from 23rd to 25th February 2011……………………………………….Full Press Release: Source

New Islamic insurer to debut on Abu Dhabi market by April

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: A new Islamic insurer, backed by top Abu Dhabi entities, will be listed on the UAE capital’s bourse by March or April, a senior official at one of its backers said on Sunday.
Wataniya Takaful plans to raise 82.5 million UAE dirhams ($22.47 million), or 55 percent of its capital, through an initial public offering. It will have capital of 150 million dirhams to provide Islamic insurance……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Takaful Emarat appoints General Manager

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

UAE-headquartered Takaful Emarat, a Shariah compliant life and health insurance company, has announced the appointment of Ghassan Marrouche as General Manager. Mr. Marrouche joins Takaful Emarat with over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry.
A veteran in the region’s insurance field, Marrouche has an impressive track record of start-up operations, turn around and growth of existing operations……………………………………….Full Press Release: Source

Kenya eyes revamped legislation for Sukuk this year

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Njuguna Ndung'uFrom Reuters: Kenya may pass legislation to eliminate tax barriers to Islamic bond issuance by the end of the year with the government looking to launch Islamic treasury bills and bonds, known as sukuk, bankers said.
Kenya, the largest economy in east Africa, has yet to tap international markets but is eyeing Islamic bonds as an option to raise funds from sharia-compliant investors, central bank Governor Njuguna Ndung’u said in an email………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UAE firms plan $656 mln Islamic REITs in Malaysia, says Bursa

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Raja Teh MaimunahFrom Khaleejtimes.com: Two property developers from the United Arab Emirates are planning to list Islamic real estate investment trusts worth a combined 2 billion ringgit ($656 million) in Malaysia this year. The companies will be the first from the Gulf to sell Islamic REITs in the Southeast Asian nation, said Raja Teh Maimunah, global head of Islamic markets at Bursa Malaysia Bhd., which manages the country’s stock and bond exchanges.
The portfolio of properties includes residential and commercial real estate in the UAE, she said. Malaysia is attracting overseas investors from the Middle East as the political turmoil in the region boosts appetite for assets in the world’s biggest market for sukuk, or Shariah-compliant bonds………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Mahathir backs Islamic bonds at Seoul forum

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Joongang Daily: Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister, yesterday defended Islamic financing in the wake of the controversy in Korea over the issuance of Islamic sukuk bonds by local companies.
Speaking at the Global Korea 2011 conference at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul, Mahathir said that sukuk bonds “were not about religion, but doing business.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Brunei : Islamic finance: Bolstering the base

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Bt.com.bn: Darussalam’s Islamic financial sector is set to expand in the coming years, following a series of advances that will strengthen its operational and regulatory base and bridge some of the gaps that have restricted the development of new products and services.
Islamic financial products already play a central role in the local economy, with sharia-compliant banking holding a 40 per cent market share, a total forecast to reach between 55 per cent and 60 per cent in the next five years or so………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance: A new career opportunity

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Moneyweb.co.za: The growth of Islamic finance continued strongly through 2009 and 2010, even as most of the world’s financial systems found themselves deleveraging amid the capital market downturn in global economies.
Standard & Poor’s (S&P’s) Ratings Services show that Shari’ah-compliant assets reached about $400 billion across the globe in 2009; with the potential market figures coming in at $4 trillion. Islamic banking - untouched by subprime-mortgage-backed securities and other “noxious assets” that devastated many Western institutions during the recession - continues to grow at a rate of about 20 percent a year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

First Finance lauds govt move on ‘hybrid’ banks

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf-times.com: First Finance CEO Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti has applauded moves by the Qatar Central Bank to impose greater regulation on conventional banks offering Islamic services over concerns that ‘unhealthy competition could lead to over-aggressive practices’.
“The market is too small to allow more conventional banks to open Islamic windows,” he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi appointed chairman of First Energy Bank

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Cpifinancial.net: Board of directors unanimously appoints Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi as the Bank’s new chairman, following the recent departure of former chairman, Esam Janahi. Bahrain-basedFirst Energy Bank (FEB) held its first Board Meeting for the year on 9 February.
A statement from the bank said, “The appointment of Khadem Al Qubaisi falls in line with FEB’s strategic vision, and is a testament to the Board’s trust in both Al Qubaisi’s abilities and his vast experience in the banking and finance sector.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Statutory liquidity requirement for Islamic banks in Pakistan enhanced

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Thenews.com.pk: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has increased the Statutory Liquidity Requirement (SLR) for Islamic banks to 14 percent of the total demand liabilities, including time deposits with a tenor of less than one-year.
In a circular issued on Wednesday, the central bank said that the new requirement will be effective from April and would exclude Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR). The existing SLR, after a reduction in October, 2008 stands at nine percent………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bahrain: Moody’s places three retail banks on review for possible downgrade

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Globalarabnetwork.com: Moody’s Investors Service has placed on review for possible downgrade the deposit ratings and standalone bank financial strength ratings (BFSRs) of three Bahraini retail banks, Global Arab Network reports according to a press statement:
National Bank of Bahrain B.S.C. (NBB): A3 long-term local and foreign-currency deposit ratings and C- BFSR. BMI Bank B.S.C. (BMI): Baa3/Prime-3 local and foreign-currency deposit ratings and D BFSR………………………………………..Full Article: Source

ABC Islamic Bank reports US$2.1 mln net profit for 2010

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

ABC Islamic Bank today announced a net profit of US$2.1 million for 2010 compared to US$10.1 million for 2009. Total operating income was US$15.9 million compared to US$20.4 million for 2009, due to lower rates and de-risking of balance sheet asset size. Staff and operating costs of US$4.9 million were also lower than the previous year of US$5.0 million.
Impairment provisions of US$8.6 million were taken for regional exposures during the year, US$3.6 million higher than the previous year………………………………………..Full Press Release: Source

Nigeria’s Senate approves $1.14 bln in loans for the Federal Government and 14 states

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Ngex.com: Nigeria’s Senate has approved a request by 14 states and the Federal Government to borrow $1.137 billion from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the International Development Association (IDA), French Development Agency (FDA) and Indian Line of Credit.
The loans are in line with Nigeria’s external borrowing guidelines and are meant for economic and power reforms, rural development, special intervention for infrastructural development in some states and social programme development in others………………………………………..Full Article: Source

World Halal Forum 2011 to unveil “Halal 2.0″

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Bernama: The World Halal Forum (WHF) is expected to see the unveiling of “Halal 2.0″ at this year’s event to be held on April 4-5 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
WHF director Abdalhamid Evans said Halal 2.0 would involve interactions between the halal sector and Islamic finance, and he described it as “the biggest shift that we are going to see over the coming decade”………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic insurance provider Tokio Marine Middle East eyes expansion in Egypt

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Microcapital.org: Ajmal Bhatty, chief executive of Tokio Marine Middle East, a “takaful” (Islamic insurance) provider based in Dubai, reportedly has stated that the recent political turmoil in Egypt will create a greater need for financial protection in the country and will hence provide Tokio Marine an opportunity to further extend its takaful services to the Egyptian market.
As a complement to existing microfinance programs operated by other entities, Tokio Marine is looking into starting micro-takaful schemes in the region…………………………………………Full Article: Source

A new Malaysian benchmark for Sukuk investments

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Asiaone.com: Financial news wire Bloomberg LP has launched a new Malaysian ringgit sukuk index to provide a benchmark for ringgit sovereign sukuk investments.
Referred to as the Bursa Malaysia Sovereign Shariah Index (BMSSI), it was developed with the help of the Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia (Aibim) and will form part of Bloomberg’s Islamic Finance Platform which seeks to leverage on the growing demand for information for syariah-compliant products and services………………………………………..Full Article: Source

KPMG named Best Islamic Finance Adviser by Euromoney

Posted on 25 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Bernama: KPMG has been named “Best Islamic Assurance and Advisory Services Provider” in the 2011 Euromoney Islamic Finance Awards.
In a statement Thursday, managing parter Mohamed Raslan Abdul Rahman of KPMG in Malaysia said: “I am absolutely delighted to see KPMB receive this award for what is now a record-breaking fourth year in a row………………………………………..Full Article: Source

London gets jump on New York in Islamic finance

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Mohamad Nedal al ChaarFrom AP: London winning race to capture burgeoning global Islamic finance market. In a post credit-crisis world, Islamic banking is tipped to be a major growth area for international financing. It currently represents around just 2 percent to 3 percent of global financial assets, or almost $1 trillion, but it is growing at an average of 25 percent each year.
Much of the business originates and is carried out in the oil-rich Gulf and in Malaysia, whose capital Kuala Lumpur is widely regarded as the industry’s hub. But investors in the Muslim world, sitting on piles of oil-generated cash that needs a home, are increasingly eyeing Western countries mirred in debt for potential investments………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Korea: Sukuk bond legislation is delayed

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Joongang Daily: The National Assembly will delay consideration of a bill on an issuance of Islamic sukuk bonds by Korean companies until after by-elections scheduled for April 27 out of fears of offending Christian groups.
The ruling Grand National Party had originally scheduled the legislation to be considered this month during the parliament’s special session………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Malaysia bank arm plans Shariah hedging rules

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gulf-times.com: An Islamic finance research body backed by Malaysia’s central bank is drafting rules to regulate the use of derivatives to strengthen the industry’s risk management framework and repair the perception of poor Shariah compliance among banks.
The guidelines could help plug a yawning gap in an industry which has struggled to develop hedging tools that do not resemble betting instruments—a major handicap that can expose Islamic banks to excessive swings in currency and interest rate movements………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar banks agree to move accounts to Islamic banks, Sharq says

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Arabianbusiness.com: A number of commercial banks in Qatar have agreed to transfer governance of assets and accounts to Islamic banks after the central bank ordered them to shut their Islamic branches by year end, Al Sharq reported, citing an unidentified bank official.
The central bank’s circular to banks on February 1 said that non-Shariah compliant banks must close Islamic branches by year end and stop taking deposits in those units immediately………………………………………..Full Article: Source

State Bank of Pakistan raises liquidity requirements for Islamic banks

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Tribune.com.pk: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has increased statutory liquidity requirements (SLR) for Islamic banks to 14 per cent, effective from April 1.
According to a notification issued by the SBP Domestic Markets and Monetary Management Department on Wednesday, SLR for Islamic banks has been raised to 14 per cent of total demand liabilities, including time deposits with tenors of less than a year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Al Hilal Bank seeks to popularise Islamic banking in Kazakhstan

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Gazeta.kz: Kazakhstan is set to become a launch pad for the development of Islamic banking in the entire CIS region. Experts believe over the last few years a lot has been done in the country to ensure proper introduction of banking activity that is consistent with the principles of the Islamic law (Sharia).
In a sense, Kazakhstan’s know-how in introducing the Sharia-based financial activities is unique, for the appropriate legislative frameworks were provided long before the first Islamic institution started functioning in the country………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Net income of Al Baraka Banking Group jumped by 15pct

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Bahrain based leading Islamic banking group, Al Baraka Banking Group Jumped (ABG)announced that it has achieved a net income of US$ 193 million in 2010, an increase of 15% on the income achieved in 2009. Similarly, balance sheet items witnessed notable increases.
Total assets increased by 21%, total finance and investments by 21%, deposits including unrestricted investment accounts by 23% while total equity increased by 5% as at the end of December 2010 in comparison with the end of December 2009………………………………………..Full Press Release: Source

Al Baraka Banking Group placed ‘on watch’ by S&P

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Cpifinancial.net: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) has placed its ‘BBB-’ long-term and ‘A-3′ short-term counterparty credit ratings on Al Baraka Banking Group on CreditWatch with negative implications.
The CreditWatch placement follows rating actions taken on Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, and Bahrain, in which the group operates, most recently on Bahrain where the bank is incorporated………………………………………..Full Article: Source

First Energy appoints new chairman

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Tradearabia.com: Bahrain-based First Energy Bank (FEB), a major Islamic investment bank, has appointed Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi as the bank’s new chairman, following the recent departure of the bank’s former chairman, Esam Janahi.
Al Qubaisi has served as a key figure on many management teams throughout the financial industry, including serving currently as the managing director of International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) in Abu Dhabi, as well as serving as chairman for Aabar Investments, Abu Dhabi Chemicals (Chemaweyaat), National Central Cooling (Tabreed), Abu Dhabi National Takaful (Takaful), and I-Media Newspaper (Alrroya Aleqtisadiya)………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Mideast, N. Africa face $16 bln bond repayment in 2011

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Reuters: State-linked and private companies in the Middle East and North Africa face over $16.2 billion in maturing international bonds this year, data from Thomson Reuters shows.
Borrowers domiciled in the United Arab Emirates have the lion’s share with over $5 billion in bond repayments. Egypt alone has over $2.5 billion in bonds maturing between June and July while Lebanon must repay $1.3 billion this year………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bahrain’s economic plans in jeopardy

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Nytimes.com: Bahrain’s plans to diversify its economy and move away from oil dependence could be derailed by the unrest in the island kingdom, say analysts, raising concerns over the future of its financial industry.
“The events of the last week are a blow to Bahrain’s diversification strategy because it creates a reputational problem in the long run,” said Moritz Kraemer, managing director of sovereign ratings for the Middle East, Europe and Africa for Standard and Poor’s, based in Frankfurt………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Reform, not repression: Lessons from the deadly unrest in Libya and Bahrain

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

From Knowledge@Wharton: Invited by Bahrain in 2003 to advise the small Gulf country on how to reform its labor markets, Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli remembers addressing a gathering of local business leaders in the capital, Manama, on his findings. One was clear: Bahrain had to stop relying on cheap, imported labor from South Asia and provide job opportunities instead to its underemployed Shiite community.
“It was very clear the business community did not have the least bit of empathy toward them,” Cappelli recalls. “I said, ‘Look, you’ve got this high rate of unemployment among the Shiites, and their population is growing, and the opportunities aren’t there.’……………………………………….Full Article: Source

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