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Islamic Finance Briefing - Archive | January, 2013

Oman rules may spur reform of Islamic finance scholars

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Oman’s new Islamic banking rules could encourage the development of a larger pool of sharia scholars and ultimately help to raise operating standards for them around the world, according to bankers and scholars.
Last month, the sultanate’s central bank released an extensive Islamic banking rulebook which included provisions for sharia scholars, such as fit-and-proper criteria and term limits on scholars’ appointment to sharia boards, which decide whether products and activities obey Islamic principles………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Tamweel completes repayment of $300mln Sukuk

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Tamweel PJSC, the UAE Islamic home finance provider, on Wednesday announced that it has repaid in full a USD300 million five-year Sukuk, which matured in January 2013. This announcement follows the recent successful settlement by the company of its USD 210 million home finance asset-backed security issued in 2007.
In line with its long term funding strategy, Tamweel issued the Sukuk in early 2008. The proceeds were used for general Islamic financing and corporate purposes………………………………………..Full Article: Source

TH enlists MIDF to help in sukuk issuance

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

TH Heavy Engineering Bhd has appointed MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd to assist in the proposal to establish an issuance of up to RM70mil in non-rated sukuk under the Sukuk Murabahah programme.
MIDF Amanah Investment is the principal adviser and lead arranger for the programme. In its filing with Bursa Malaysia, TH Heavy Engineering via its wholly-owned unit THHE Fabricators Sdn Bhd, said the Securities Commission (SC) had authorised the proposed Sukuk Murabahah programme in a letter dated Jan 25………………………………………..Full Article: Source

MRT RM300mln retail sukuk funding oversubscribed

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The retail sukuk issued to fund the construction of the country’s Sungai Buloh-Kajang mass rapid transit (SBK Line) has been oversubscribed by O.61 times, giving a small boost to the funding needs of the project.
This is the country’s first retail sukuk offering and was made by DanaInfra Nasional Bhd, a unit under the Finance Ministry set up in 2010 to facilitate the funding of the country’s biggest infrastructure development, the Sungai Buloh-Kajang mass rapid transit (SBK Line) project, with a total estimated cost of RM23bil………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Tharawat announces its Sukuk Fund annual returns of 9.44pct in 2012

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Tharawat Investment House (Tharawat), an Islamic investment institution based in the Kingdom of Bahrain, announced 5.06% profit returns of Tharawat Sukuk Fund for the second half of 2012, achieving a total return of 9.44% in 2012, and a cumulative return of 21.98% since its inception in February 2010.
Tharawat will be distributing 4% for the period from July to December 2012, making it the 6th time of such distribution. Tharawat Sukuk Fund is Tharawat’s first open-ended Sharia’a compliant investment product based in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It invests over 70% of its liquidity in government- issued Sukuk and in well-established firms in the GCC, Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia (MENASA) region. (Press Release)

Saudi industrial push to be fuelled by sukuk

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Saudi Arabia’s massive industrialisation drive will increasingly rely on Islamic financing, said the treasurer of the country’s national oil company, as international banks are constrained from investing in projects in the region.
Saudi Aramco - the world’s largest oil company - has taken on many of the petrochemical and refining projects intended to diversify the national economy away from oil and provide jobs for Saudis. Satorp, a Saudi Aramco petrochemical joint venture with France’s Total, in 2011 launched a Sharia-compliant bond to fund the construction of a refinery………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Dubai Bourse all set to kick off wave of Sukuk activity

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Dubai is striving hard to become the global centre of Islamic Finance and taking bold steps by introducing initiatives in the industry to give it a tremendous boost. In latest of the initiatives, Bourse Dubai is all set to kick off a new wave of Sukuk activity.
The Chairman of Bourse Dubai, Essa Kazim, who owns the UAE’s biggest financial markets, is looking forward to a wave in sukuk activity as Dubai seeks to become a global centre for Islamic business………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kingdom Holding in Islamic financing push

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Kingdom Holding, the international investment firm of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has formed a sharia board of prominent scholars in order to raise more of its funding through Islamic finance.
The decision by one of the most prominent investment firms from the Gulf is likely to be seen as a boost to the Islamic finance industry, which obeys religious principles such as bans on interest payments and pure monetary speculation………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic economics has the answer, said Malaysian Minister

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Malaysian Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said, “Islamic economics places socio-economic justice as its primary objective. The principles of justice, fairness and equity are fundamental in Islamic economics.”
He added that Islamic economics has the ‘solution’ to the economic problems of Muslim communities globally but stressed that theories developed in Islamic economics must be linked to practical policies in providing solutions to real life situations………………………………………..Full Article: Source

JP Morgan appoints first-ever global Islamic head

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

JP Morgan has appointed industry veteran Mr Hussein Hassan to a newly-created role of global head of its Islamic finance unit as the investment bank seeks to expand its Shariah-compliant business.
“As we have observed a significant increase in the demand for sharia-compliant banking products, we have decided to invest in high-calibre people, systems and technology,” Mr Sjoerd Leenart, Senior Country Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at JP Morgan says………………………………………..Full Article: Source

ADB: Islamic banking services coming to T&T

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) is hoping to introduce Islamic banking services for its clients within one year. Jail Leladhasingh, corporate manager, business development at ADB made the announcement to the media on Monday when he introduced Dr Hatim El Tahir, director, Deloitte and Touche, Bahrain, and Bassel Nadim, senior manager and strategist, Deloitte and Touche, Dubai.
The ADB brought the duo into the country as consultants to educate the public about Islamic banking methods and strategies. Leladharsingh said the ADB is exploring the possibility of setting up the bank to offer this alternative service to farmers. He said the ADB’s Islamic banking facilities will be accessible to Muslims and non-Muslims………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bahrain’s Al Salam Bank says in merger talks

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Bahrain’s Al Salam Bank said on Wednesday it was in merger talks with an unnamed regional bank, almost a year after a tie-up with Bahrain Islamic Bank collapsed.
“We confirm the accuracy of the media reports that were published related to a potential merger of the bank with one of the banks in the region and the strategy for that,” Al Salam said in a statement to the Bahrain stock exchange………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UAE’s First Gulf Bank Q4 profit up 12pct, beats forecast

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The lender’s profits were boosted by higher interest income and Islamic financing. First Gulf Bank, the UAE’s second-largest lender by market value, on Wednesday beat analysts’ expectations with a 12-per cent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, boosted by higher interest income and Islamic financing.
The bank made a net profit of Dhs1.15 billion ($313.1 million) in the final three months of 2012, up from Dhs1.02 billion in the same period of 2011. Six analysts polled by Reuters forecast an average net profit of Dhs1.024 billion for the quarter………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Vision launches Sharia-compliant GCC fund in Oman

Posted on 31 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Vision Investment Services has set a new trend by introducing the first Sharia-compliant fund in Oman. The Vision Al Khair GCC Fund (Sharia-compliant) is an investment vehicle, wherein all financial instruments of the fund are in compliance with acceptable Sharia principles and policies.
It is an investment programme, wherein the fund seeks investments in financial instruments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies to earn profits that are in conformity with the precepts of Sharia. ……………………………………….Full Article: Source

High-profile Islamic finance firm Dar Al Istithmar closes

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

One of the most high-profile advisory firms in Islamic finance, Dar Al Istithmar, which advised Goldman Sachs on a controversial $2 billion sukuk programme, has closed down with most of its staff moving to another company, sources told Reuters.
Dar, which had offices in London and Dubai, was set up in 2004 as a joint venture between Deutsche Bank, which subsequently pulled out, and financial firms Russell Wood Ltd and Oxford Islamic Finance Ltd………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Best Indonesia funds buy retailers on spending: Islamic finance

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Indonesia’s best-performing Islamic bond funds are buying sukuk of construction and retail companies to take advantage of the government’s $300 billion development program, after sovereign yields dropped to a record.
PT Samuel Aset Manajemen’s SAM Sukuk Syariah Sejahtera (SASUSYS) fund, which posted the biggest returns at 12 percent last year, plans to more than double corporate holdings to 50 percent of total investments in 2013, Herbie Mohede, the fixed-income manager, said in an interview. Borrowing costs on government Shariah- compliant notes due 2018 declined 69 basis points in the past three months to 5.32 percent yesterday and touched an all-time low of 5.24 percent on Jan. 9………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Egypt: Sukuk issuance will be in 4th quarter of current fiscal year

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Finance Minister Adviser Ahmed El-Nagar said that the Ministry will start the Sukuk issuance project for financing economic and social projects in the last quarter of the current Fiscal Year’s budget. Nagar noted that proposals by the Islamic Research Academy were taken into consideration, adding that Azhar will review the bill before endorsement.
He noted that a seven-member central Sharia panel will be formed for Sukuk issuance. The premier will be in charge of appointing the panel members - in view the finance minister nominations - for a three-year renewable term………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Indonesia aims to raise 1.5 trln rph from sukuk auction

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Indonesia aims to raise 1.5 trillion rupiah (RM477 million) from a sukuk auction on February 5 to finance its budget deficit, the debt office at the finance ministry said. The country plans to sell 6-month sharia T-bills and project-based sukuk maturing in 5-, 9-, 14- and 24-year.
The G20 economy is aiming for a total issuance of 57.5 trillion rupiah worth of conventional and sharia bonds in the first quarter of the year……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Saudi’s Maaden eyes finance for $7 bln phosphate plant by yr-end

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) aims to complete the financing for a $7 billion phosphate project by the end of the year, Khalid Al-Rowais, vice president of finance said on Tuesday.
“A sukuk is an option but the most important thing is to have the right balance to suit the project,” Rowais said, adding talks were ongoing with its financial adviser on funding plans………………………………………..Full Article: Source

National Bank of Abu Dhabi plans bonds sales as net climbs 55pct

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, the United Arab Emirates’ second-biggest lender by assets, plans to sell bonds after reporting a higher-than-expected increase in fourth-quarter profit.
Net income rose to 1.12 billion dirhams ($305 million) from 724 million dirhams a year earlier, the Abu Dhabi-based bank said today in a statement. That beat the median 878 million- dirham estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Full-year profit climbed 17 percent to 4.3 billion dirhams, it said. Net interest income and net income from Islamic financing for the year rose 5 percent to 6.1 billion dirhams………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Emirates bond after Dubai signals corporate allure: Arab Credit

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Dubai companies are set to pick up the pace of bond sales to profit from lower borrowing costs after yields plunged last week at an offering by the sheikhdom, according to the United Arab Emirates’ biggest bank.
Sales by Dubai-based entities are likely to surpass last year’s $6.95 billion, according to Mohammad Kamran Wajid, head of Emirates NBD (EMIRATES) PJSC’s investment banking unit. “Bonds and sukuk are now becoming the name of the game and issuers should take advantage of this investor class,” Wajid said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Vision launches Sharia-compliant GCC fund in Oman

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Vision Investment Services has set a new trend by introducing the first Sharia-compliant fund in Oman. The Vision Al Khair GCC Fund (Sharia-compliant) is an investment vehicle, wherein all financial instruments of the fund are in compliance with acceptable Sharia principles and policies.
It is an investment programme, wherein the fund seeks investments in financial instruments of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) economies to earn profits that are in conformity with the precepts of Sharia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Establishment of Islamic states savings fund propose

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Chairman of Board of Managers of National Development Fund Mohammad Reza Farzin in a meeting with the head of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Monday proposed establishing an Islamic states savings fund. At the meeting, both sides exchanges views on promoting cooperation between the fund and the bank to issue bonds as well as making investments in Muslim states’ markets.
Head of IDB Ahmad Mohammad Ali, for his part, voiced the bank’s readiness to cooperate with National Development Fund and described its role in advancing the economic objectives of the bank as crucial………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Ahlibank launches 5 Al Hilal Islamic branches

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Ahlibank’s Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services launched five branches on Tuesday with a sixth planned in Salalah by the end of next month. Al Hilal said it is now ready to provide Islamic banking products and services with the window’s operations being fully segregated from the bank’s conventional activities.
Commenting on the launch, Hamdan bin Ali bin Nasser al Hinai, chairman of Ahlibank, said, “Islamic finance, by its very nature, is a financial system that highlights the importance of aligning the objectives of business with the needs of the community to ensure that the overall well-being of society is not forgotten when pursuing investment opportunities.”……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Ahlibank to look at switching fully to Islamic banking

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Ahlibank, which launched its Al Hilal Islamic banking services in the sultanate on Tuesday, is considering switching from conventional banking to Islamic banking soon. “We are looking forward to convert all our conventional branches to Islamic banking and we hope that will happen very soon. We plan to switch all our retail banking services to the Islamic banking system. We are looking at starting with branches in Ibra, Nizwa and Sur and this may happen in the coming month,” said Abdullah al Jabri, DGM and head of Al Hilal Islamic Banking Services.
“There is a good indication that people are more interested in Islamic banking. During our soft launch on Sunday, we opened more than 40 accounts in one day. On Tuesday, we received above 250 calls enquiring about our services. Islamic banking may have 70 per cent of market share within the coming three to five years,” he added………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Oman: Higher demand to boost Islamic banking growth

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Islamic banking in Oman is demand-led and is expected to grow fast on the back of higher demand and positive sentiments, according to Richard Thomas, chief executive officer of Gatehouse Bank, a Sharia-compliant investment bank based in London.
“Oman’s foray into Islamic banking is based on strong fundamentals and sound regulations. The government is extremely proactive and keen to utilise unproductive money into fruitful enterprises. They have a very mature outlook on Islamic banking, and that is music to the ears,” he said. ……………………………………….Full Article: Source

Egypt: A reform package for the Islamic banking and finance sector proposed for the new year

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A number of Islamic banks and financial institutions are awaiting the passage of a new legislative reform package to regulate the sector in the coming year. The goal of the package is to create an environment conducive for Islamic banks to operate by making available the necessary tools for growth without contradicting the values and practices of Islamic banking.
One such reform would include amendments to Egypt’s current law, which does not distinguish between Islamist and non-Islamist banking institutions. This would force non-Islamist banks to comply by the same standards of Islamist ones………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar targets Libyan bank acquisition

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s largest Islamic lender by market value, is seeking shareholders’ approval to buy a strategic stake in a Libyan commercial bank through a capital increase without naming the target entity in a released statement.
Masraf Al Rayan says it wants to finance the purchase of the stake through a capital increase and there are high potentials that it may issue an Islamic bond if the shareholders approve the move as the bank continues to expand regionally according to a brokerage note from QNB Financial Services………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Bank Nizwa celebrates launch of Islamic bank

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Bank Nizwa, Oman’s first dedicated Islamic bank, on Monday celebrated its official launch into the Omani market. HH Sayyid Shihab Bin Tariq Al Said, Personal Adviser to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, was the chief guest at the special reception held at the bank’s head office at Shatti Al Qurum.
Those present included the founders, members of the board, executive management team from the bank, media representatives and various dignitaries from across the Sultanate………………………………………..Full Article: Source

UAE lender NBAD’s quarterly profit tops estimates

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

National Bank of Abu Dhabi , the UAE’s largest lender by market value, posted a 55-percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit, beating analysts’ forecasts, helped by higher investment income and lower impairment charges.
The majority state-owned bank made a net profit of 1.12 billion dirhams ($305.2 million) in the fourth quarter compared with 724 million dirhams for the prior-year period, it said in a bourse statement on Tuesday………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Kingdom sees future in Islamic loans as Alwaleed builds tower

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Kingdom Holding Co. (KINGDOM), controlled by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, established a committee to help the company move toward Shariah-compliant loans as Islamic financing gains appeal among borrowers.
The committee will “prepare an integrated strategic plan for the conversion of future loans in accordance with the Islamic Shariah,” the Riyadh-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. The panel will comprise Sheikh Abdullah Sulaiman Al Manee’a, an adviser to the Royal Court, Sheikh Mohamed Ali Elgari, Sheikh Ali Abdulaziz AlNashwan and Abdulah Salim AlGhamdi………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic economics can resolve Muslim world’s economic problems

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Islamic economics has the solution to the economic problems of Muslim communities globally, says Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah. He said theories developed in Islamic economics must be linked to practical policies in providing solutions to real life situations.
“Islamic economics places socio-economic justice as its primary objective. The principles of justice, fairness and equity are fundamental in Islamic economics,” he said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

More ethics in economics needed, says IIUM dean

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

More attention needs to be given to ethics in economics and policies that affect the economy today, said the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) dean Professor Dr Khaliq Ahmad.
“You cannot separate ethics as something that is not important in economics and finance. Unfortunately, the mainstream economics today has developed in a certain direction that tries to make ethics separate,” he said. He said mainstream or modern economics today aim to be scientific and objective, and do not include ethics………………………………………..Full Article: Source

GCC Takaful regulation lags market growth

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The development of Takaful regulation in the GCC varies significantly country by country, creating an uneven playing field, according to a new report from A.M. Best.
The levels of policyholder protection differ from one state to another, which has created opportunities for Takaful operators to pursue regulatory arbitrage, according to a new report from A.M. Best Co. This special report maps the provisions for Takaful regulation in the GCC and identifies the implications for policyholder protection and its impact on A.M. Best ratings………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Muslim businessman told to remove sign from home proclaiming Allah is the only god

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

A millionaire Muslim businessman who has written a religious slogan on the side of his house has been told to remove it after it upset his neighbours. Mahmood Ali, 54, fell out with residents and planners over the Arabic slogan which reads: “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger”.
He claims it is just a proclamation of his faith and he should be allowed to write whatever he wants in a free country. But the council said it contravenes planning laws which are designed to stop people placing advertising hoardings on their homes………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Japanese get into Islamic financing

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The rise of Asian ship finance gets ever more sophisticated in its offerings. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking have organized a syndicated loan of $184m for Brunei Gas Carriers (BGC). The loan complies with Sharia law, which prohibits the charging of interest. The loan is being paid to a special-purpose company that will buy LNG ships and lease them to BGC. Instead of interest, the Japanese banks will receive charter fees.
This is the second loan the two banks have made to BGC following a $170m syndicated loan from a year ago. The Nikkei newspaper reports that Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ has set up a section specializing in Islamic financing at a local unit in Malaysia………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic banking ‘can help meet capital rules’

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

With credit rating downgrades raising the interest rates that have to be paid on bonds, banks should look at Islamic financing to meet the added capital requirements of new regulations, professional services company Ernst & Young recommended in a report released last week.
According to Ernst & Young’s World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2013, Islamic banking assets held by commercial banks worldwide are expected to exceed $1.8-trillion this year, a 38% increase compared with $1.3-trillion in 2011………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic financial institutions boosting Shariah investments

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Ernst and Young (E&Y) said that Islamic financial institutions in Southeast Asia and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region are boosting their investments that are carried out in line with Shari’ah, as these economies have surpassed the global economic expansion since the start of the new millennium, and developed their regulatory system to stimulate Islamic banking.
However, financial institutions and banks in the US and Europe have trimmed their exposure in banking in line with Islamic law, due to the financial crisis that forced them to return to their roots by lowering their exposure in foreign fields, including Islamic finance, and by limiting their investments in emerging markets………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Dubai introduces Islamic categorisation for company registration

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) is developing the Islamic-compliant standard to classify or categorise the registered businesses in Dubai, Mohammad Al Shael, CEO of Business Registration & Licensing Sector at DED, said.
“The department is developing an official standard for Islamic-complaint companies as part of the required infrastructure to make Dubai the world’s Islamic-complaint economic capital.” Earlier this month, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched a new initiative that would make Dubai a global capital for the Islamic economy………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Islamic finance success offsetting global gloom

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The private sector in the Kingdom has been spurred into action, giving a major boost particularly to real estate, construction, health care, education, financial services and a host of other activities, thus offsetting some of the global economic gloom, according to Khaled Al-Aboodi, CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group.
“However, financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is not yet developed in most of the member-countries,” Al-Aboodi said………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Shariah-compliant schemes to provide further aid to Malaysia’s SME growth

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Shariah-compliant small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) Financing Scheme (SSFS) and Commercialisation Innovation Fund (CIF) are set to provide further aid to the growing SME sector in Malaysia.
To note, in an effort to provide further support to SMEs, the Malaysian government in its 2012 budget, allocated RM2 billion for the establishment of SSFS and RM500 million for CIF. According to Oxford Business Group (OBG) in its Malaysia Report 2012, SMEs represent a significant part of the economy, a fact acknowledged early on by the government………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Qatar’s Masraf al Rayan targets Libyan bank stake

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan is seeking permission from its shareholders to buy a stake in a Libyan commercial bank, the Islamic lender said in a statement. Rayan says plans to finance the acquisition through a capital increase, Reuters said.
On Sunday, Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar’s fourth-largest bank by market value, posted a 16.3 percent increase in full-year net profit………………………………………..Full Article: Source

QIB unveils its new look mobile banking application

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

QIB - the leading Islamic bank in Qatar - has unveiled its new look Mobile Banking application which enables customers to access a wide range of services via their smartphones. QIB Mobile Banking is available on the iPhone, BlackBerry and smartphones using the ‘Android’ operating system. QIB Customers now have access to an extensive array of services that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
QIB Mobile banking application is secure and easy to install and once installed will enable customers to conduct most of their banking transactions using their smartphones anytime, anywhere. (Press Release)

Positive Asian bond demand/supply dynamics in 2013

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Net government bond supply as a percentage of the total outstanding is slightly higher versus 2012 in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, but is expected to be more moderate in Indonesia, India, Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea. The Philippines has raised more than it needed and is able to reduce its financing needs.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore sets supply according to demand by surveying primary dealers, so demand always slightly exceeds supply. Malaysia is keeping issuance of Malaysian government securities light as it shifts to more government Islamic issues (GIIs) and offers guarantees on other debt………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank picks banks for bond issue

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank , the United Arab Emirates’ third largest lender by market value, has picked five banks for a conventional bond issue, two sources familiar with the matter said, tapping into strong investor interest for regional debt.
The lender has chosen itself, J.P. Morgan Chase, ING, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered to arrange the offering, the sources said on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information is not public………………………………………..Full Article: Source

Dubai’s Nakheel dismisses debt concerns as profits top Dh2bln

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

The Dubai property developer Nakheel dismissed concerns over its debt burden as it unveiled a Dh2.02 billion (US$549 million) profit for last year. The company, which restructured debt and received financial assistance from the Dubai Government following the property crash four years ago, said profits were 57 per cent higher than the previous year.
Revenues stood at Dh7.8bn, up 91 per cent on the previous year. The developer disclosed its financial results the day after Exotix, a boutique investment bank with offices in Dubai, cut its rating on Nakheel’s sukuk bonds to “sell”. It warned in an advisory note that the bond was no longer pricing in the risk of a default………………………………………..Full Article: Source

JCR-VIS upgrades rating of the sukuk issue of Engro Foods Limited to A+

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS) has upgraded the medium to long term rating of the Sukuk issue of Rs. 950m of Engro Foods Limited (EFoods) to ‘A+’ (Single A Plus) from ‘A’ (Single A). Outlook on the assigned rating is ‘Stable.’
The rating incorporates the strong growth potential in the sector in which EFoods operates; the company has posted considerable growth in sales since inception. Within the sales mix, there is strong reliance on a single product, namely, Tarang. The dairy drinking segment, contributes around one-third to total sales. Within this segment, the company has launched ‘Dairy Omung’, which is positioned at a relatively lower sales price point vis-à-vis that of its established product in the segment i.e. ‘Olpers’. (Press Release)

Fitch assigns Sime Darby’s RM2.4bln sukuk issue final ‘A’ rating

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Fitch Ratings has assigned Sime Darby Berhad’s (Sime Darby) first tranche of US$800 million (RM2.4 billion) Sukuk notes issued under its US$1.5 billion Sukuk programme a final ‘A’ rating. The final rating is in line with the expected rating assigned on 22 January 2013.
On 15 January 2013, Fitch rated the Sukuk programme set up through a special purpose vehicle, Sime Darby Global Berhad, at the same level as Sime Darby’s senior unsecured rating in accordance with the agency’s “Rating Sukuk” criteria. Sime Darby’s obligations to the Sukuk programme rank equally with its senior unsecured debt obligations and the programme is exposed to low structural subordination risk on account of Sime Darby’s majority stake in and management control of key operating entities. (Press Release)

BestWeek Asia-Pacific: GCC takaful regulation lags behind market growth

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

While the takaful industry has been developing rapidly in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the development of takaful regulation varies significantly country by country, according to a new special report featured in BestWeek Asia-Pacific. As a result, the levels of policyholder protection differ from one state to another, which has created opportunities for takaful operators to pursue regulatory arbitrage.
Indeed, there is significant debate as to the right level of regulation. Market participants in some of the more demanding regimes consider the regulations to be stifling their companies. A.M. Best believes the solution is not less regulation but more consistent application of regulation throughout the region, which has the potential to provide sufficient policyholder protection, and thus safeguard the long-term viability of the takaful industry. (Press Release)

Bahrain insurance posts solid Q3 growth

Posted on 29 January 2013 by Laxman  |  Email|Print

Bahrain insurance market registered solid growth during the third quarter of 2012, with its gross premiums increasing to BD184.11 million ($480.6 million) by the end of September 2012, up 9 per cent over the same period a year ago.
Announcing this on Tuesday, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) attributed a significant part of the increase to a surge in long-term insurance (Life & Savings Products), registering around 17 per cent increase in gross premiums to reach BD42.34 million in September 2012 compared to BD36.06 million the previous year, representing almost 23 per cent of the gross premiums written in September 2012………………………………………..Full Article: Source

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