Wednesday, February 07, 2007

KFH to buy UBG stake in RHB

Kuwait Finance House and Utama Banking Group Bhd have agreed to the sale of the 32 percent stake of RHB currently owned by UBG. As a part of the deal, for which KFH agreed to pay RM2 per share of RHB which closed at RM1.68 after the deal was announced, Utama will join in the consortium headed by KFH with a 20 percent share. The total purchase price will be RM2.16 billion(US$ 618 million). KFH plans to inject significant funds into the heavily-indebted bank in the hopes of turning it into an Islamic mega bank. The following three news stories provide similar analysis of the sale: [Reuters] [International Herald Tribune] [The Edge Malaysia]

Islamic Development Bank to create an institute for financial and trade contribution

The Iranian national news agency, IRNA, reports that the Islamic Development Bank will begin an institute for financial and trade contribution on February 24th. While the name of the organization is not mentioned in the article, the likely organization, according to the IsDB website is the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, an organization originally created at the 2006 IsDB meeting.

4th Islamic Financial Services Board Summit to address cross sectoral supervision of Islamic financial institutions

The 4th Annual Islamic Financial Services Board Summit, which will be held in Dubai from May 15-16, 2007, will address cross-sectoral approaches to the supervision of Islamic financial institutions. Speakers include ten Central Bank governors, Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mrs Jenny Shipley.

This conference is listed within the Institute of Halal Investing conference calendar, which is organized chronologically and includes a link to the conference when it is available.

Al Rajhi Bank plans Malaysian expansion

According to AMEinfo, Al Rajhi bank plans to expand its operations into Malaysia. The bank would follow the Kuwait Finance House and the Asian Finance Bank, which was funded by Qatar Islamic Bank

Recent articles from the Financial Times

U.K. based newspaper, the Financial Times has been quite active relative to most Western newspapers in writing stories about the growth of Islamic finance and there are three that have appeared within the past week:
Challenge of a financial product with a religious dimension(February 6)
Britain leads secondary market for Islamic bonds(February 5)
Degrees of difficulty for recruits to Islamic banking(February 1)

MoU for small project financing in U.A.E.

Sharjah Islamic Bank and Abu Dhabi Islamic bank have signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in offering Shari'ah-compliant financing to small and medium sized projects. The article describing the MoU highlighted the importance of these types of projects (as they were in the U.S. and Europe) for providing support to economic growth.

Indian prime minister discusses feasibility of an Islamic bank in the country

The Indian PM Manmohan Singh agreed that it is worth taking another look at the feasibility of Islamic banking in India, but critics were sceptical.

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