Wednesday, February 14, 2007

RHB to sell shares of RHB Capital, KFH expands to Asia, Zeti: Japan should play a role in Islamic financial industry, Other news

Rashid Hussain to sell stake in RHB Capital

The sale of RHB Capital will allow highly-indebted Rashid Hussain Bhd (RHB) to repay some of its debt. It is widely expected to increase the chance that Kuwait Finance House will end up with control of RHB and RHB Capital. However, EON Capital still has a chance at winning control of RHB, as noted by Loke See Ooi of PacificMas Asset Management in Kuala Lumpur, "EON Capital's offer is quite attractive, so you never know [the outcome for sure]."

KFH expand into Asian healthcare market

Kuwait Finance House, one of the largest Islamic banks in the Gulf Region which recently opened Asian operations based in Malaysia, will team up with Singapore-based Pacific Healthcare Pte Ltd. to invest in new healthcare centers across Asia.

BNM governor urges Japanese involvement in Islamic financial industry

The governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, the Malaysian central bank, Zeti Akhtar Aziz,wants Japanese businesses to become more involved in the Islamic financial industry. Zeti believes that it "could be an important channel for strengthening ties between Asia and other parts of the world, especially the Middle East".

Conference on Micro- and Medium-sized Enterprises (MMEs) in Brunei

The conference is sponsored by the Universiti Brunei Darussalam and the Islamic Research and Training Institute and will occur from April 17-19, 2007 in Brunei. The conference will focus on increasing the availability of Islamic financial services for the Micro- and Medium-sized Enterprises. It is these areas in which many people, including myself, believe there is the greatest opportunity for the Islamic financial industry to have a significant positive societal impact, primarily through the reduction of poverty by enabling MMEs to grow through bank financing.

The conference is listed on the Institute of Halal Investing Conference calendar.

Pakistan issues Islamic Treasury Bills

According to the Financial Times, Pakistan will issue a Shari'ah-compliant form of Treasury bills (it has issued over Rs. 1 trillion [$17 billion] on conventional bonds to date). Neither the article nor the State Bank of Pakistan provide details on the structure of the bills except that they will be called 'bait-ul-maal' certificates.

Kuwait National Bank begins Money Market Fund

Kuwait National Bank announced a new Watani KD Money Market Fund, which will be liquid on a weekly basis and Shari'ah-compliant. No details are provided about what investments it makes except that they will be "short and medium term money market instruments in compliance with the principles of the Islamic Sharia".

British Islamic mortgage company Alburaq reaches £100 million in approved mortgages

Alburaq, the British Islamic mortgage firm, has reached £100 million ($195 million) in approved Shari'ah-compliant home financing and expects this number to reach £1 billion ($1.95 billion) by 2009. The company opened in 2004.

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