The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

Thomson Reuters and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the organisers of the upcoming ‘Global Islamic Economy Summit’ (GIES), announced their partnership with ADIB and Dubai Islamic Bank, who are taking on the role of Title Sponsors of the event.

The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

In addition, the leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company, Nestlé Middle East, signs up as Diamond Sponsor, while Emirates NBD, Qatar First Bank and the Global University of Islamic Finance (INCEIF) have also signed on as Gold Sponsors, while the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Afridi & Angell Legal Consultants, Société Générale and MasterCard have signed on as Silver Sponsors.
GIES is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. While in line with Dubai’s Islamic Economy Strategy announced by His Highness on October 5, the conference also seeks to addresses the challenges and opportunities the industry faces and its contribution to the global economy.
Russell Haworth, Managing Director – Middle East & North Africa, Thomson Reuters, said, “The calibre of sponsors supporting GIES is testament to the local and international interest in the opportunities that the Islamic Economy presents. From leading local, regional and Islamic banks that aspire to become international players, to a European bank that sees a huge opportunity in this sector, to a global food producer, education, consumer credit and legal services providers and the largest free zone in the UAE, our sponsors will be invaluable to the success of GIES.”
Tirad Al Mahmoud, CEO at A DIB said, “At A DIB, we hold an unwavering commitment to playing a role in the development of the Islamic finance industry. We are very excited to be lead supporters for The Global Islamic Economy Summit – an ideal platform to share our core values as an expanding Islamic financial services institution with the wider community in the UAE, region and beyond.”
GIES, Dr Adnan Chilwan, Chief Executive Officer of DIB said. “Being the first Islamic bank in the world, Dubai Islamic Bank is proud to play its role in the Global Islamic Economy Summit. As pioneers of Islamic banking, DIB has been at the forefront of developments in the Islamic financial sector over the past four decades. We have consistently added value to the franchise and contributed to the growth and development of all sectors of the UAE economy. Our vision of becoming the most progressive financial institution in the world is fully in line with the vision of the leadership of this great country. Today, with our rich heritage, unrivalled expertise and tradition of innovation, we are perfectly positioned to play a key role in Dubai becoming the global capital of Islamic economy.”
GIES aims to initiate critical dialogue on the development of the integrated sectors of the Islamic Economy, covering Islamic financial services, Halal food, Halal Lifestyle, Halal Travel, SME Development and Islamic Economy Infrastructure such as standardization and research.
Yves Manghardt, Chairman and CEO Nestle Middle East FZE, commented on the company’s role as a sponsor: “As the leading Nutrition Health and Wellness company, Nestlé is proud to be a partner of the Global Islamic Economy Summit. We have been pioneers in providing a wide range of Halal food options for Muslim consumers around the world, and we are delighted to be part of Dubai’s initiatives to highlight the importance of the Halal sector as a key component of the Islamic economy and culture.”
The Summit will also feature ground-breaking market studies and other announcements such as the winners of the ‘Islamic Economy Award’ which recognises a mix of regional and global leaders from 14 Islamic economy sectors.
GIES will take place on 25th – 26th November, 2013 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. GIES will gather leading thinkers, policy makers and stakeholders from around the world to lead a discussion on the future of the Islamic economy.

In Dubai, Minnikhanov Courts Islamic Investors

President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov was in Dubai at the beginning of May to participate in the city’s Annual Investment Meeting, a three-day conference designed to promote bilateral trade and foreign direct investment.

 

During the conference, Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and President Minnikhanov cut a red ribbon, signaling the beginning of a new working relationship between the two governments.

 

Residency in the Alabuga Special Economic Zone, big business in Tatarstan, and other investment opportunities were showcased during the conference, including Tatarstan goods that are available for export.

 

While in Dubai, Minnikhanov met with UAE Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikh Lubna bid Khalid Al Qasimi. In the meeting, Minnikhanov made it clear that the republic is interested in doing more business with the UAE and other Arab countries.

 

The Tatarstan President also met with Ahmed Salim al Koshli, Minister of Economic Affairs of Libya’s transitional government. Both sides expressed interest in resuming business relations, which were cut off during the civil war. Before the war, Tatneft was doing 5.4 billion rubles of business in Libya exploring the country’s oil reserves.

 

In an interview with TV outlet Russia Today, Minnikhanov declared that Tatarstan is interested in attracting more investment from the Middle East. “We have been working in this direction for about two to three years, and I hope that there will be positive results soon,” Minnikhanov said. “Traditionally, we have worked mainly with Europe, but haven’t worked enough with the Arab world and southeast Asia…Our republic is Muslim, and we need to use this factor.”

 

According to Minnikhaov, Tatarstan is interested in having Tecom Investments help with the integrated development of Smart City, an initiative to build a world-class conference and business center near Kazan International Airport. The company is currently involved in implementing similar projects in Malta and India.

 

In Dubai, Tatarstan also discussed the possibility of cooperating with Kele Contracting in construction and construction management of major sports facilities, as the company has experience working on Olympic facilities in Sydney.


UAE-Tatarstan-minnikhanovdubai

 

Minnikhanov’s participation in the AIM conference in Dubai is the latest in a string of recent signs that point to Tatarstan’s commitment to actively seeking out foreign direct investment (FDI).

 

In 2011, Minnikhanov created the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency (TIDA), a body designed specifically to both encourage the growth of Small and Medium business and increase the level of FDI in the republic. TIDA’s Chief Executive is Linar Yakupov, one of the founders of Kazan Summit, an international Islamic banking and finance conference that was first held in 2009.

 

Since his agency was created, Yakupov has been aggressively pursuing foreign investment. In March, the agency used its first-ever collegium as an opportunity to host Kazan Invest, an international investment forum billed as a precursor to Kazan Summit, which will be held in May 2012.

 

Co-hosted by the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), Kazan Invest was a day packed full with discussion of how to increase FDI in Russia and Tatarstan. During the forum, TIDA had a Dubai-based architect present a proposal for Smart City, the same exhibition and business center that Minnikhanov wants Tecom Investments to help develop. Overseen by TIDA, Smart City is being developed to make Kazan an even more attractive destination for foreign businessmen.

 

Since Kazan Invest, Yakupov and his team have logged thousands of frequent flier miles traveling to international FDI and business forums, spreading the word that Tatarstan is ready to do business.

 

In March, Yakupov visited Malyasia and Indonesia to promote Tatarstan’s investment potential.

 

In April, he visited Luxembourg and the World Investment Forum in Doha, Qatar. “Republic of Tatarstan is the only region of Russian Federation represented at World Investment Forum in Doha, Qatar,” Yakupov tweeted on his English-language Twitter account, @LinarYakup. At the end of the month, he was in Europe, attending an industrial park seminar in Metz, France. That same month, TIDA First Deputy Robert Galiullin was in Latvia as part of a delegation.

 

And of course, Yakupov and his team were in Dubai with President Minnikhanov at the AIM conference, where they met with the directors of Masdar City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and the Mubadala Investment Company, according to TIDA’s website.

 

This promotional work was officially branded “Invest in Tatarstan” and launched as a global campaign during the AIM summit in Dubai. The campaign has also recently started working through its new Twitter account, @InvestTatarstan.

 

“Invest in Tatarstan” is a global campaign, but as Minnikhanov’s visit to Dubai indicates, one of its strategic focuses is deepening links within the Islamic world.

 

This year’s IV Annual Kazan Summit, now hosted by TIDA, will focus on economic cooperation between Russia and the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC), which has more 57 member countries.

 

“Russia has a dialogue with the European Union, Russia has a dialogue with the United States, and we similarly want Russia to have a dialogue with the OIC,” Linar Yakpuov explained in an interview with The Kazan Herald. Yakupov is confident that there is tremendous, untapped economic potential in such a dialogue.

 

To be held on 18 and 19 May in Kazan “under the patronage” of President Minnikhanov, Kazan Summit will feature a strategic forum, a trade and investment forum, a conference on Islamic economics and finance, bilateral meetings, and roundtables on the role of Islamic finance in the world financial system, dialogue of civilizations, and the role of the press in foreign investment.

 

Over the past few months, TIDA has gathered a database of more than 79 different investment projects put forward by Tatarstan entrepreneurs. This database of business plans which will be available for Kazan Summit participants to peruse and follow up on during the summit.

 

URL: http://iina.me/wp_en/?p=1008156

Qatar's Economic Outlook Bright in 2012

 

Qatar’s banking sector is in rude health, as evidenced by the Gulf emirate’s position as the regional leader in terms of bank lending growth. According to the Qatar Central Bank, overall bank credit rose to QR368.9bn as of end-November 2011, representing a 23.5% year-on-year increase.

The average rate of increase in the three months to end-November 2011 was an impressive 22.3%, while private sector credit growth in November reached QR227.85bn, up 22.3% year-on-year, and public sector credit rose by an astonishing 28.6% year-on-year to QR141bn. Particularly telling is the growing role of the national banking sector in funding public sector projects and other activities: according to Central Bank statistics, around 38% of overall bank credit is disbursed for these purposes.

Such activity is unlikely to dim in 2012. According to Dubai-based Rasmala Investment Bank, the Qatari banking sector is likely to grow at a rate of as much as 20% in 2012-14, with underlying returns on total capital of around the same level. The investment bank believes that the sector’s medium-term dynamics are solid, although it does warn that eventually there could be concerns regarding where capital will be deployed.

For now, however, the prospect of contracts being awarded for 2022 projects leads analysts to forecast broad-based growth for 2012. With tenders for World Cup 2022 projects nearing the award stage, the public sector is poised to begin disbursing funding and contracts, and is also likely to allow the private corporate sector to contribute more heavily towards loan growth.

According to Rasmala, the announcement in September 2011 that the government had raised public sector pay by 60%, and the salaries of defence personnel of officer rank by 120%, is likely to fuel retail sector growth, in turn providing headroom for future consumer credit expansion. These enormous rises have presumably been matched by banks in the Gulf state, as well as many other industries; banks will be paying their Qatari employees more, so costs in the sector will likely rise.

Nevertheless, while the oversupplied and over-priced property market had led to a dip in consumer lending, consumer lending portfolios are likely to continue their rebound in 2012.
Rasmala does warn that in 2012, a potential risk to banks in Qatar will be the new Islamic Banking regulations, which rocked the state’s financial sector when they were announced in January 2011.

The Central Bank ordered conventional banks to close their Islamic finance operations by end-2011, arguing that with the pending implementation of tailored Islamic banking regulations and capital adequacy regimes, commercial banks with both conventional and Islamic operations would struggle to follow the rules. The Islamic banking regulations, which were based on guidelines by the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board, an industry standards body, were formally introduced last year.

For the nation’s four Islamic banks — Qatar Islamic Bank, Qatar International Islamic Bank, Masraf Al-Rayan and Barwa Bank – it’s very much business as usual; their conventional peers, however, are having to learn to cope with life after shariah-compliant finance.
At the Qatar Exchange, meanwhile, 2012 ended on a bittersweet note. The bourse broke back into positive territory, ending with a 1.1% gain for the year, and maintaining its position as the best performing market in the GCC and Arab region for the second consecutive year.

It was the only market in the Arab region with positive price return, and the exchange’s year-end market capitalization of more than QR457bn represented an increase of almost 1.6% from end-2010. In a year which saw the exchange extend its opening hours and implement a Delivery Versus Payment model to speed up settlement times, the bourse also saw the launch of its first new brokerages since 2006, and listed short-term T-bills.

However, it lost out on the big prize: along with the UAE, Qatar was denied a much-anticipated boost when index manager MSCI declined to upgrade the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) from ‘frontier’ to ’emerging market’ status.

According to MSCI the country’s strict foreign ownership limits, and the limited availability of shares to foreign investors, have made shares in large companies almost unobtainable for international investors.

“Large companies, such as Industries Qatar, have almost reached their foreign ownership limit and became quasi-uninvestable for foreign investors,” MSCI said in its report. “Under current conditions, the MSCI Qatar Index would not qualify for Emerging Markets on this criterion.”

The Qatari government will console itself with the knowledge that the Gulf’s landmark sovereign debt issue in 2012 belonged to its tri-tranche conventional Euro-bond in November. The US$5bn placement, which was broken into tenors of five, ten, and 30 years with yields of 3.12%, 4.5%, and 5.75%, respectively, was heavily oversubscribed and served to highlight Qatar’s attractiveness to investors.

The ratings agencies are on board – Qatar has an AA rating from S&P and Aa2 from Moody’s – and the bond, the country’s first since November 2009, should provide Qatar’s $10.3bn Barzan natural-gas field project, the most expensive energy project in the Gulf since 2006.
The Qatari government’s total infrastructure spending over the coming five years is estimated at US$150bn, and it’s this investment which will underpin much of the economic growth the country will enjoy over the period.

Just last month, energy minister Mohammed Al-Sada confirmed the country planned to more than double its annual petrochemical production capacity from 9.2 million tonnes now to 23 million tonnes by 2020, spending $25bn in the process. Already the world’s largest Liquefied Natural Gas exporter, Qatar has imposed a moratorium on further export development of its huge North Field until 2014; in the meantime, the state is pumping money into other projects such as a US$6.4bn petrochemicals complex at Ras Laffan industrial city, with Royal Dutch Shell.

While the race for World Cup 2022 is still a long way away for the world’s footballers, for the global investment community, not to mention the burgeoning Qatari business sector, the big kick-off is much closer.

http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/131541/qatar-39-s-economic-outlook-bright-in-2012.html

Sukuk issuance surpasses pre-crisis levels

Islamic bond issuance last year surpassed pre-crisis levels for the first time – after more than doubling in volume – while one bookrunner predicted momentum will continue with a further 50% rise in 2012.

The volume of sukuks, or bonds that are Shariah-compliant, issued during the year rose to $32.6bn, from $14.9bn in 2010, with roughly half the volume of deals occurring in the fourth quarter, according to data from Dealogic. It was the first time volume surpassed pre-crisis levels.

The bonds benefitted from uncertainty in the global market, which drove investors to more stable issuances, according to HSBC Amanah, which was the fourth largest bookrunner last year. The firm said it expected the momentum to continue into 2012, anticipating a total of $44bn in deals this year.

Despite a rise in the number and volume of deals in the Middle East last year, Malaysia remained the dominant nationality of deals, with the year’s five largest sukuks issued by the country’s government or corporates.

There were $25.4bn of Malaysian sukuks issued during the year, while Malaysian financial services firm CIMB Group was the top bookrunner with $7.9bn in proceeds.The largest deal last year was a $6.1bn sukuk issued by an investment holding company owned by the Malaysian government treasury, Khazanah Nasional.

The United Arab Emirates represented the second most popular country for bond issuance with $2.6bn in deals during 2011, according to Dealogic.

Government-related sukuks will continue to dominate the market in 2012, according to a year-end HSBC Amanah forecast, with Asian and Middle Eastern infrastructure projects acting as major drivers. Malaysian toll and highway firm Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama Berhad kicked off the year by announcing that it would issue a massive $9.7bn sukuk.

Middle East banking group Emirates NBD and First Gulf Bank both had $500m issuances in the first two weeks of January. Dubai Islamic Bank had a $300m issuance.

Mohammed Dawood, managing director of Islamic global markets for Emea at HSBC Amanah said demand has continued outstrip supply in January, which has been the busiest start to the year he’s seen.

“Sukuk is favoured by investors because it has been less volatile than conventional issuances, especially in the last four months of 2011. Issuers on the other hand, like sukuk because it gives them access to a new investor base,” Dawood said in HSBC’s projections for the new year.

http://www.efinancialnews.com/story/2012-01-31/islamic-bond-issuance-reaches-pre-crisis-levels-in-2011

Kingdom gaining more clout in Islamic finance

As Islamic finance/banking industry is growing at a sky rocketing growth rate of 12 percent – 15 percent per annum, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Bahrain and London are chomping at the bit to become the center of the industry, which currently boasts some $1 trillion in assets.

For the moment, Dubai holds the title of Islamic banking hub – but it could soon lose ground, both to traditional competitors like Bahrain, Kuala Lumpur or London or newcomers on the scene like Singapore.

But the country that really laid the foundation and basic infrastructure of Islamic Finance and paid billions of dollars by establishing the prestigious institutes like IDB, ICD and ITFC etc. and spending billions of dollars over last several decades and deserves to be global hub of Islamic finance and banking is Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s largest economy and a G20 country, is the strongest and well-deserved contender for the title and has an edge. Its financial clout and the development of the King Abdullah Economic City strengthens the case.

“The only impediment is that it may not be the easiest place to obtain banking licenses especially now, given the plight of the banking industry in Bahrain and Dubai, but Saudi Arabia has always been very cautious.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) guides and supervises the financial sector – that already made Saudi Arabia the safest haven in the world amid the current debt storm.It would be a shame to lose this lifetime opportunity in the presence of prestigious institute like IDB, ICD and ITFC being ideally based and headquartered in Jeddah.

These institutes have already produced scores of talented bankers (in Islamic finance) that are spread now in the entire region and beyond and serving the Islamic finance and banking industry.But this achievement wouldn’t be easy without full government support. With a strike of a degree, this industry could create thousands of jobs for Saudi men and women.

Dubai, despite its liberal policy and religious tolerance, has benefited from government support in creating a regional Islamic finance hub due to a favorable regulatory environment and strong domestic ties to Islam and Shariah.

It has more listed sukuk, than anywhere else.What’s more, Dubai is cosmopolitan and business-friendly enough to lure talent from far a field.The industry is not just limited to providing jobs to bankers but a lot of other support industry also flourishes like law offices, Shariah-complaint insurance companies, leasing and mortgage companies etc.

In the absence of any competition from countries like Saudi Arabia, Dubai will continue to be a major driver for Islamic finance in the near term, as it attempts to recycle the region’s petroleum wealth into real estate, tourism, technology and other anchors of a truly diversified economy.

Dubai’s attractions are many. In addition to glitzy and modern shopping malls, it boasts numerous free zones that allows for 100 percent foreign ownership, 100 percent repatriation of capital and profits, exemption from corporate tax and no import duties.

But its central role in Islamic finance isn’t assured over the long haul.The recent financial crises have severely dented Dubai’s reputation and its financial soundness.

The Islamic finance market, that was once a local affair, deeply rooted in the Gulf region only, is now spread in Far East and Europe and somewhat in the US while Africa still remains a virgin market, offering enormous potential and unlimited opportunities.

Appreciating the potential of this $ 1 trillion and growing industry (expected to reach $2 trillion by 2013), the British government had voiced its determination to issue a sukuk and asked its Finance Ministry to start working on necessary regulatory changes by next year while it issues licenses to Islamic banks.

It has to be noted that sukuk is a $30 billion global industry.In recent years, Islamic finance has grown rapidly across the world, conservatively estimated at 12 percent a year.Malaysia has been strong in the Far Eastern market for the past decade. But now, Asian countries – with tiny Muslim populations – are also looking to join this process.

Japan wants to be the first nation in the G-7 to issue a sovereign sukuk bond – that is, if Britain doesn’t get there first.Among cities outside the Muslim world, London is the strongest Islamic finance center and it leads race to be Shariah capital.

London will give Malaysia and Dubai and the rest of the Islamic world a run for its money, as London has all the strengths of a traditional financial center, from a solid infrastructure to a qualified pool of prospective employees.Singapore, also seeking to attract Islamic capital, has the same lures but to a lesser degree.

London is already enjoying some success as a focal point for international Shariah-compliant investors, with both corporations and countries listing sukuk bonds in Britain.London is also benefiting from New York’s relative indifference to Islamic finance, which removes from the race a traditional long-standing rival for global capital because America’s financial capital or political leadership has a narrower appetite for Islamic assets than other centers.

So far New York investors have shown an interest in Shariah-compliant equities, but not in Islamic bonds or Takaful, (Islamic insurance).Saudi Arabia deserves all credit for its tireless persuasion to make Islamic banking industry in the world.

Saudi Arabia’s task to introduce Islamic banks into conventional banking systems was challenging and tough. Islamic banking is steadily moving into an increasing number of conventional financial systems.It is expanding not only in nations with majority Muslim populations, but also in other countries where Muslims are a minority, such as the United Kingdom or Japan.

Similarly, countries like India, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Syria have recently granted, or are considering granting, licenses for Islamic banking activities.In fact, there are currently more than 300 Islamic financial institutions spread over 51 countries, plus well over 250 mutual funds that comply with Islamic principles.

This industry is currently experiencing growth rates of 22 percent per annum despite a tough investment climate – and this growth trend is expected to continue.This golden opportunity shouldn’t be missed simply because of arrogance or ignorance and this country should get what it rightly deserves.

http://arabnews.com/economy/islamicfinance/article569065.ece

Dubai's Majid al Futtaim announces sukuk roadshow

Dubai’s Majid al Futtaim will begin meeting investors on Sunday ahead of a potential Islamic bond, or sukuk issue, a statement from the lead managers said on Tuesday.

The mall developer, which is the sole franchise for Carrefour in the Gulf, will meet investors in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on January 29, before a second day of roadshows in London and Kuala Lumpur on January 30, it said.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank , HSBC and Standard Chartered are the lead managers for the potential transaction, which would be the company’s first debt capital markets issue.

The company has been eyeing global debt markets for several months, completing a series of roadshows for a conventional bond in June but not going ahead with a print because of the impact of market volatility on pricing.

It then set up a sukuk programme to have the option to tap Islamic liquidity and take advantage of healthy demand for sharia-compliant assets amid ongoing global risk aversion.

A senior executive told Reuters in November the company hoped to raise between $350 million and $500 million from its debut sukuk offering.

This would be the first issuance by a private corporate firm in the Gulf and is regarded as a vanguard for other private sector companies in the region who, hit by limited liquidity in the loan market, are searching for new finance streams.

The unlisted firm raised $1 billion loan from a group of banks in July which was used for refinancing of a $1 billion loan maturing later this year.

MAF’s revenues grew by 10 percent year over year to 18.7 billion dirhams ($5.09 billion) last year and its net debt was around 7.5 billion dirhams.The developer expects to open around 15 new Carrefour hypermarkets and about 25 to 30 new supermarkets in 2012.

http://www.emirates247.com/business/corporate/dubai-s-majid-al-futtaim-announces-sukuk-roadshow-2012-01-25-1.439425

Banks drag Qatar to 3-mth low; UAE mkts end mixed

Financial stocks dragged down Qatar’s benchmark to its lowest close in nearly three months as investors sold-off on lower than expected cash dividends.

Shares in Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) dipped 3.1 percent to their lowest since Nov 23. The lender posted a 32.6 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit on Wednesday that missed analysts’ forecasts.The Gulf state’s second largest lender by market value proposed a 45 percent dividend distribution.

Doha Bank dropped 2.9 percent after its fourth-quarter profit jumped 49.4 percent but missed estimates. The board proposed a cash dividend of QR4.50 per share.

“Qatar has been losing ground because anticipations were high on dividend yield for the financial sector, which was proven to be the opposite,” said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.

“There is growth in the financial sector and hopefully the banking stocks will recover as people start looking forward to Q1 results which are still expected to be strong.”

Doha’s index ended 1.1 percent lower at 8,462 points, its lowest close since Oct. 25. The market extended losses to 3.6 percent so far this month, the worst performing Gulf market.Masraf Al Rayan fells 2.3 percent and Commercial Bank of Qatar declined 2.1 percent.

Elsewhere, UAE markets ended mixed with Dubai’s index halting two-days of gains, down 0.3 percent to 1,328 points.Dubai Financial Market, the only listed bourse in the Gulf, fell 3.4 percent. Bellwether Emaar Properties shed 0.4 percent and telecoms operator du dipped 1.4 percent.

The bourse hit an all-time low on Monday, extending a general downward trend since April 2011 as investors saw little improvement in performance of main representative sectors such as real estate and banking.

In Abu Dhabi, the index ticked up 0.2 percent to 2,337 points, up for a second session since Tuesday’s three-year low.Invest Bank climbed 6.3 percent, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank gained 1.4 percent and Dana Gas advanced 2.7 percent.

In Oman, Renaissance Services tumbled to a three-year low as foreign investors sold on concerns over low freight spot rates.Shares in Renaissance, which has marine industry subsidiaries, were down 4.2 percent, slumping to their lowest since April 2009.The Baltic freight index was at $926, its lowest since early 2009.

“The negative sentiment is simply over-whelming on Renaissance,” said Vickneswaran Gowribalan, a Muscat-based fund manager. “The Baltic index may signal low freight spot rates for Renaissance in its short-term fleet.”

These concerns have spurred foreigners to dump Renaissance shares, he added.Oman’s index declined 0.3 percent to 5,581 points, its lowest level since Dec. 11.

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/banks-drag-qatar-3-mth-low-uae-mkts-end-mixed-441340.html

ITS ETHIX – Financial Solutions Awarded 'Best Technology Provider of the Year' by Islamic Business and Finance Award

Dubai – The International Turnkey Systems Group (ITS) has realized a new regional achievement by obtaining the “Best Technology Provider of the Year” award at the Islamic Business and Finance Awards ceremony.

This award was presented in recognition of ITS for providing the latest technological solutions and services that would meet banks present and future needs. ITS solutions also enabled Islamic banks to face growing challenges of competition in the local and regional financial markets.

ITS has provided banks with a number of ETHIX main banking services and solutions, including Islamic banking, automation of branches management, online banking services, and technological services related to treasury and management of Islamic in-vestments and documentary credits.

Khaled Jasim Al Amiri, Assistant General Manager of ITS, received the award at a prestigious ceremony at Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai.

Al-Amiri commented on being selected for this award: “Once again, ITS confirms its superiority by the testimony of others through obtaining one of the top regional awards and is highly recognized by companies and institutions in various sectors.”

He added: “For more than 30 years (the lifetime of the company), our human resources have played a prominent and important role in realizing these achievements. They have helped position the company to enable it to compete strongly within the market and most importantly, to distinguish itself through groups of solutions, products and services, which have ultimately become the hallmark of ITS.”

Subsequently, ITS also has been awarded “Systems Integrator of the Year” at the Ara-bian Business awards which is considered among the most notable and important awards presented to the business sector in the region.

Banking and Investment Sector

The ITS ETHIX financial solution is a recognized solution in meeting the requirements of Islamic and traditional banking and Islamic finance. ETHIX has assisted many banks and financial institutions to minimize their operational costs in responding to the increased demand of customers for both traditional and Islamic products and services.

In addition, through the use of the most advanced and developed technological solutions in the world, ETHIX Financial solutions is ranked globally as the premier total banking solution, fully compliant with Islamic Shari’a catering to Tier1 banks.

The successful strategy of the ITS Group has enabled the company to double the ceiling of its returns and achieve significant company growth. By increasing total returns and the company’s equivalent in profits, ITS have been able to make both regional and strategic expansions, highlighting the role of HR in ITS.

http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2012/01/03/its-ethix-financial-solutions-awarded-best-technology-provider-year-islamic-business-and-

More Arab banks eye local chances

Interest by Gulf lenders in Turkey’s Islamic banking market is on the rise, according to Adnan Ahmed Yusuf Abdulmalek, head of Union of Arab Banks

A customer walks past the main entrance of Bank Audi head office in Beirut. The lender owned by the Lebananese Sal-Audi Saradar Group has been the only foreign bank granted license to operate in Turkey in the last 14 years.

Leading Arab banks are currently eyeing opportunities to penetrate Turkey’s growing finance market, the top executive of Union of Arab Banks said yesterday, adding that possible investors consider merger and acquisitions.

“Banks from Arab countries and Gulf countries are highly interested in Turkey,” said Adnan Ahmed Yusuf Abdulmalek, head of Union of Arab Banks. Emirates International Bank and Qatar International Bank are among the banks interested in starting up new banks from scratch, he said.

“If the barriers were eliminated by Turkish authorities, there would be many Arab banks and a large group of investors investing in Turkey’s banking sector,” he said, adding that Turkish banks would benefit a great extent through such investments.

“The interest from the Arab banks will be even higher now on,” he said. Bank Audi has been recently granted with a license to found a Turkey unit, he said.

Arab banks and investors have been encouraged by the decision for investing in Turkey’s banking sector upon the decision, he said, and possible investors consider founding new banks as well as merger and acquisitions with Turkish banks.

Bank Audi encourages Gulf banks

Abdulmalek said Lebanese Bank Audi gave the sign to other possible investors in Arab and Gulf countries to prioritize Turkey in their investments. Turkey continues to increase its influence both politically and economically in the region, he said.

“If the investment climate in Turkey’s banking sector improved and Turkey would authorize licenses for more foreign banks, leading banks in the region such as Dubai Islamic Bank would want to open branches in Turkey,” he said. The Arab Banks would be interested in operating in participation banking in the country.

Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Authority (BBDK) gave a license to Lebanon Bank Audi Sal-Audi Saradar Group to establish a bank in Turkey. Having been the only foreign bank granted license to operate in the country in last 14 years, the bank was authorized to collect deposits in Turkey with a capital of $300 million on Oct. 28.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/more-arab-banks-eye-local-chances.aspx?pageID=238&nID=9019&NewsCatID=346

Dubai's Nakheel to issue sukuk by Aug 25 – chairman to paper

Aug 10 (Reuters) – Developer Nakheel, Dubai World’s property arm, will issue a $1.63 billion Islamic bond to trade creditors by August 25, its chairman was quoted as saying in a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

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Ali Rashid Lootah also said Deutsche Bank would manage the process, which will take place over two to three months in the remarks to Arabic language daily al-Khaleej.

The developer, which ran a parallel $10.9 billion restructuring process to parent Dubai World, has offered trade creditors repayment of 40 percent cash and the remaining 60 percent in the form of an Islamic bond, or sukuk. Continue reading