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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

First ever three-way Islamic bank merger done



MANAMA – Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain (KFH-Bahrain) announced Monday the successful closing of the merger between three Bahrain-based Islamic banks, Elaf Bank, Capital Management House and Capivest, creating a strengthened financial institution with a total equity of approximately $340 million and total assets in excess of $400 million spanning the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and Asia.

As Transaction and Lead Advisor, KFH-Bahrain, after having initiated discussions with the three banks in late 2011, worked closely with them to create a robust merged entity that is able to better compete in the dynamic and growing global Islamic banking and investment industry. The expertise and services of the banks are highly complementary, laying the groundwork for a smooth integration process. Furthermore, with a larger capital base, the newly created institution will be better positioned to participate in larger investments and projects and to quickly and more effectively capitalize on a broader set of available opportunities both across the MENA region and globally.

Abdulhakeem Alkhayyat, Managing Director and CEO of KFH-Bahrain, who chaired the merger Steering Committee, said: “We are delighted to announce the legal and financial closing of this historic merger. With an enhanced capital base, diverse mix of shareholders, assets and revenues, a new bank emerges with the size, scale and resources to deliver greater investment opportunities and value to both investors and shareholders alike.” “As the first transaction of its kind, KFH-Bahrain is honored to have successfully originated, executed and closed the merger. Our advisory capabilities and KFH’s position and role in the Islamic banking industry ensured that the process was completed in a fair and transparent manner. Not only does the merger provide a model and catalyst for further mergers in Bahrain, the GCC and wider global Islamic banking market, it also creates a stronger and more competitive financial institution here in the region,” he added.


(Saudi Gazette / 08 Jan 2013)


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Malaysia: 50 halal firms to benefit from project



SUBANG JAYA: Fifty companies from the halal industry are expected to benefit from a special pilot project spearheaded by the Department of Standards Malaysia to help them understand and better implement halal requirements.
Helping local players to be self-sufficient, Standards Malaysia has initiated a series of activities for businesses to ride on the waves of the expanding halal industry, said its director general Fadilah Baharin at the preview of Malaysia's first in-depth research report on the halal industry.
According to her, the halal industry grew 75% between 2010 and 2011 and expected it to grow further.
Globally, the halal market is estimated to be RM6.3 trillion annually while in the first half of 2012, RM16bil worth of halal products and services were exported from the country.
“Malaysian businesses can tap on the extensive opportunities in the industry to increase the amount of exports,” she said.
Through workshops and an in-depth research, which involved 650 consumers and 350 industry players, industry players are expected to benefit from the insights provided, she added.
Findings of the research will be published in the Malaysia Halal Industry Market Report 2012.
One of the key insights of the research indicated that the interpretation of halal' was currently limited to pork and alcohol-free processes.
However, there was a lack of understanding on Halalan Toyyiban', which sets criteria on safety, hygiene and cleanliness, she said.


(The Star Online / 08 Jan 2013)


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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Malaysia ‘a leader in Islamic finance’



KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has emerged as a leader in Islamic finance with just over a fifth of its banking system, by assets, to be syariah-compliant.
With the average of syariah-compliant banking for other Islamic countries at about 12%, Malaysia is the world’s most important Islamic finance centre, according to a recent article in The Economist.
In many ways, Malaysia has led the charge in getting Islamic finance accepted. The country issued the world’s first sovereign sukuk in 2002; in the first three quarters of 2012 it was responsible for almost three-quarters of total global issuance. Malaysia is also home to the Islamic Financial Services Board, an international standard-setting body.
The Economist article said these are big achievements for a small country of just 30 million people, of whom only about 60% are Muslim.
It said in neighbouring Indonesia, which is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, only about 4% of the financial sector is syariah-compliant.
The magazine quoted Dubai’s Fajr Capital Investment Fund’s Iqbal Khan who said that although the much richer Gulf states and Saudi Arabia have bigger Islamic banks, it is Malaysia that is the centre “for thought leadership in Islamic finance”.
Malaysia was able to carve out its niche in Islamic finance mainly through its Muslim heritage, outward-looking nature and links with financial hubs like UK and Singapore. These assets, plus the support of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), made Malaysia a natural candidate to bridge the worlds of religion and capitalism.
BNM’s setting up of the International Centre for Education in Islamic finance was particularly instrumental in raising Malaysia’s pre-eminence in supplying the knowledgeable workers for the sector.
It also set up the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM) which concentrates on vocational training, offering a variety of certificates in Islamic finance. IBFIM also acts as a consultancy to banks and firms that want to become Shariah-compliant.
These two bodies are the pipeline to provide banks with talent versed in Islamic finance, the article quoted BNM governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
Zeti went on to say that syariah-compliant banks are inherently more stable than conventional peers because speculation is forbidden and returns are based on profit-sharing, not interest.


(F.M.T News / 07 Jan 2013)


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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Malaysia hailed as most vital Islamic-finance hub



KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is the world's most important Islamic-finance centre, although the richer Gulf states and Saudi Arabia have bigger Islamic banks and Indonesia the largest Muslim population, influential financial news magazine The Economist says.
Malaysia also dominates the global market for sukuk, or Islamic bonds, the magazine said in an article headlined Banking on the ummah:Malaysia leads the charge in Islamic finance, in its latest issue on Jan 5.
“Leadership in financial services is not an obvious one. Yet, in some ways the country is the world's most important Islamic-finance centre,” said the magazine.
“Just over a fifth of the country's banking system, by assets, is Syariah-compliant; the average for Muslim countries is more like 12%, and often a lot less,” it added.
On the Islamic bonds, the magazine said the country issued the world's first sovereign sukuk in 2002 and in the first three quarters of 2012, it was responsible for almost three-quarter of total global issuance.
It said Malaysia was home to the Islamic Financial Services Board, an international standard-setting body.
“These are big achievements for a relatively small country of just 30 million people, of whom only about 60% are Muslims.
“In neighbouring Indonesia, which is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, only about 4% of the financial sector is Syariah-compliant.
“Although the much richer Gulf states and Saudi Arabia have bigger Islamic banks, it is Malaysia that is the centre for thought leadership in Islamic finance,” said the magazine, quoting Dubai's Fajr Capital investment fund founder and CEO Iqbal Khan.
The magazine said Malaysia's Muslim heritage, outward-looking nature and links with financial hubs like Britain and Singapore made the place a natural candidate to bridge the worlds of religion and capitalism. The central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, is also supportive.
It said two institutions in particular the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) and the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute of Malaysia (IBFIM), both set up by the central bank have contributed to Malaysia's pre-eminence in the field.
INCEIF, set up in 2005 and boasting about 2,000 students, is the world's leading university for the study of Islamic finance.
The International Syariah Research Academy, housed within INCEIF, brings together scholars to produce an internationally acceptable rule-book for Islamic finance.
The IBFIM concentrates on vocational training, offering a variety of certificates in Islamic finance as well as acts as a consultancy to banks and firms that want to become syariah-compliant.
Bank Negara head Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Ungku Aziz was quoted by the magazine as saying that these bodies were the “pipeline to provide the banks with talent” and not just in Malaysia.
“All these give Malaysia greater status within the ummah and the global Islamic community,” she said, adding that they were important to a country that often felt on the periphery of the Muslim world.
Dr Zeti argues that Syariah-compliant banks are inherently more stable than conventional peers.
“Speculation is forbidden and, because charging interest is prohibited under syariah law, returns are based on profit-sharing,” she said.

(The Star Online / 07 Jan 2013)


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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

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