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Islamic finance

Fitch expects Saudi Arabia to be one of the most active sukuk issuers this year

GCC debt market on way to trillion-dollar milestone

The total debt capital market in the GCC is likely to cross $1 trillion this year, after reaching $940 billion in the first quarter of 2024. New research from Fitch Ratings shows that more than a third of GCC debt issued last year was in the form of sukuk, also known as an Islamic bond.  […]

Funds in green sukuk are placed in traceable, environmentally friendly investments such as renewable energy projects

Demand is high for Alrajhi bank’s first green sukuk

Saudi Arabia’s Alrajhi Bank has completed its $1 billion sukuk – having raised $3.5 billion in subscriptions from local and international investors – as the kingdom’s lenders push to raise funds for the government’s expensive giga-projects.  Sukuk are sharia-compliant bonds that were developed as an alternative to conventional bonds, which are not considered permissible by […]

Core countries account for the majority of Islamic finance – the GCC accounted for 86 percent of growth in 2023

Growth doubts over Islamic finance despite trillions in assets

Islamic finance assets grew to about $3.3 trillion worldwide last year, but credit ratings agency S&P has warned that a planned industry standard could drive down sukuk issuance in 2025 and beyond.  S&P is predicting high single-digit growth in total assets in 2024-25 after an increase of 8 percent last year.  The agency expects the […]

Garden, Nature, Outdoors

UAE commits $50m to development fund

The UAE has committed $50 million to the second phase of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund 2.0 (LLF 2.0), a multi-donor initiative targeting sustainable economic development in the Islamic Development Bank’s (ISDB) 57 member countries. The funding will be deployed by LLF 2.0 to support critical projects in health and infectious diseases, agriculture, and social infrastructure in low […]

'ADIB strongly denies being in any negotiations to acquire a stake in Bank Syariah Indonesia,' the bank said

ADIB denies stake purchase talks in Indonesian lender

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has denied holding talks with Indonesia’s largest Islamic lender to acquire a minority stake for just over $1 billion. “ADIB strongly denies being in any negotiations to acquire a stake in Bank Syariah Indonesia,” the emirate’s largest Islamic lender said in a statement published on the Abu Dhabi bourse on […]

Singapore's Olam Group said Islamic financing gave it access to a new investor pool

UAE investors join Olam Agri’s $625m Islamic facility

Investors from the UAE are part of a global consortium providing Singapore’s Olam Group with a $625 million sharia-compliant financing facility. Other investors are from Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, the company said in a statement. Names of the investors were not disclosed. The facility, initially guaranteed by Olam Group, will transfer to Olam Agri […]

Architecture, Building, Office Building

Al Salam Bank to acquire KFH’s Bahraini unit

Al Salam Bank, a sharia-compliant lender in Bahrain, has signed definitive agreements to acquire the entire stake in Kuwait Finance House’s (KFH) subsidiary in the kingdom. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, the bank said in a statement to the Bahrain Bourse. No details were given on the deal. In November 2023, Al Salam […]

Architecture, Building, Cityscape

Mubadala tightens sukuk spread as orders hit $7bn

A subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company is raising $1 billion through a US dollar-denominated 10-year sukuk (sharia-compliant bond), a news report said. The new funds will be raised by Mamoura Diversified Global Holding, Reuters reported, citing a document. The purpose of the fund was not given. Book orders topped $7 billion, which allowed the […]

An Al Rajhi Bank branch at Medina airport. Al Rajhi and Saudi National Bank are the kingdom's largest lenders by assets

Liquidity strain set to push Saudi banks to seek more funds

Saudi Arabian banks’ loan books are set to expand faster than their deposits again in 2024, raising costs and pushing lenders to seek additional funding sources. However, the kingdom’s banks are expected to increase their annual profits this year as government-led infrastructure projects and likely cuts to benchmark interest rates boost margins for its two […]

GCC banks can save more than $3bn per year by merging branches and accelerating digitalisation

Mergers drive growth in Bahrain’s Islamic finance sector

When Al Salam Bank, one of the largest Islamic banks in Bahrain, became majority shareholder of its Algerian subsidiary last June, CEO Rafik Nayed made clear that the shopping spree was not over. Mergers and acquisitions “will remain an important pillar of our growth plans”, Nayed said – and last month Al Salam announced a […]

Dubai's Mashreq is among the GCC banks looking for growth in the US and Europe

GCC banks look to US and Europe

GCC banks may be forced to look overseas to fulfil growth ambitions as home markets become increasingly saturated, experts say. While some banks have already ventured abroad – mainly into Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan, which constitute nearly a half of their presence outside the Gulf – more developed markets such as the US and Europe […]

The total number of savers for Saudi Arabia's sukuk product stood at 35,000, with the yield set at 5.64%

Saudi Arabia raises $230m from its first savings product

Subscriptions to the first round of the Saudi government’s sukuk savings product reached SAR861 million ($229.6 million), the National Debt Management Center (NDMC) said. The total number of savers for the sukuk product stood at 35,000, with the yield set at 5.64 percent, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. The sukuk maturity date is February […]

Younis Haji Al Khoori UAE Saudi debt

Debt markets in UAE and Saudi Arabia hit $630bn

Debt capital markets in the GCC’s two biggest economies, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are expected to grow again this year after double digit expansion in 2023 saw their combined total reach $630 billion. Fitch Ratings said Saudi Arabia-based corporates are expected to issue more debt this year after a 14.5 percent rise in the […]

A trader at the Qatar Stock Exchange. The Gulf nation has not issued any Eurobonds since early 2020

Qatar to launch its first bond issuance in four years

Qatar will sell its first green bond soon and the first external debt issuance in four years, the country’s finance minister has said. “We’re ready to do it very soon,” Ali Al-Kuwari told Bloomberg Television at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “We are not hungry for money but it will be mainly to send […]

Saudi German Health runs hospitals and clinics in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Yemen

GCC companies lead early sukuk moves in 2024

Saudi Arabia’s largest healthcare provider has announced plans to issue a riyal-denominated sukuk as analysts predict that $170 billion of the sharia-compliant bonds will be issued this year. Middle East Healthcare Company, the parent of Saudi German Health, said in a filing to the Saudi Stock Exchange that the offering size would be determined later, […]

Conversation, Person, Adult

New certification to swell sharia-compliant funds

A London-based fund manager hopes a pioneering Islamic finance certification can boost sharia-compliant equity investments worldwide and help ensure Muslim clients’ wealth is deployed to meet both their religious ideals and benefit society. Most sharia-compliant equity funds focus on excluding haram industries such as alcohol, tobacco, weapons, pork and gambling. Yet such a methodology has […]

Clothing, Shorts, City

Late-year flurry could boost the sukuk market

Sukuk issuance fell in the first nine months of 2023 – but this year’s total could yet equal that of 2022, Fitch Ratings’ Islamic finance chief told AGBI.  Gulf governments and corporations are issuing sharia-compliant bonds to diversify their funding and ease their reliance on bank borrowing. Sukuk were developed as an alternative to conventional […]

Investors at the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Strong upsurge in UAE green sukuk ahead of Cop28

The UAE has witnessed a strong push for sukuk to finance green projects, according to data released by Fitch Ratings. Sukuk are sharia-compliant bonds that were developed as an alternative to conventional bonds, which are not considered permissible by many Muslims as they pay interest, and also may finance businesses involved in activities not allowed […]

Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company said the issuance had garnered interest from institutional investors

PIF’s Saudi Real Estate issues $933m sukuk

Sukuk worth SAR3.5 billion ($933.17 million) to expand funding in Saudi Arabia’s real estate sector has been issued by the Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company. The offering from the company, which is wholly owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, makes up the final two tranches under its SAR20 billion government-guaranteed sukuk programme.  The issuance […]

ADIB headquarters building ADIB’s earnings increased by almost half during the first nine months of 2023

ADIB expects profits to keep rising after stellar year

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s net profit margin will expand further, according to its group chief financial officer Mohamed Abdelbary. The sharia-compliant lender has enjoyed a bumper first nine months of 2023 in which its earnings increased by nearly half. “We’ve managed to capitalise on the increase in interest rates in the market because of the […]

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said the country has serious deficits in infrastructure and agriculture

Nigeria in talks with Saudi bank for project funding

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu met top officials of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to negotiate a “multi-billion-dollar infrastructure finance facility” to help build ports and power plants, his spokesperson said on Tuesday. Tinubu held talks with IsDB vice president Mansur Muhtar late on Monday in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale said in a […]