IFN Forum: Saudi Arabia key market to watch for sukuk

Updated 18 November 2013
0

IFN Forum: Saudi Arabia key market to watch for sukuk

Islamic Finance News Forum 2013 began in Riyadh on Monday with focus on Saudi Arabia's exceptional growth in the Islamic capital market and its immense potential in Islamic issuance space.
The two-day forum features an issuers and investors' day and addresses key issues pertinent to the current economic scenario in the Kingdom and follow up on the latest developments within the country’s Islamic financial market, including recent governmental efforts.
The forum will explore the opportunities within the country for Islamic issuers, investors, corporate and financial institutions.
Islamic finance is a booming industry with a strong growth rate that is attracting participants from all over the world as the flaws in the conventional industry are increasingly exposed and countries seek alternative means of diversifying their financial bases.
Speaking to Arab News Khalid A Al-Mulhim, acting CEO of Alkhair capital and one of the forum panelists, said: "The Kingdom is considered to be one of the key markets to watch as it has proved its potential in the capital market’s issuance space in the last fiscal year, with a slew of high-profile issuance of Islamic bonds (sukuk) backed by the government."
The Kingdom issued the single largest sukuk in January 2012, which was worth $4 billion, by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) and its sukuk market is considered one of the largest in the world with Malaysia.
Commenting at his company headquartered in Bahrain, he stated that it seeks to provide the market with an integrated and comprehensive range of Shariah-compliant investment products and services with emphasis on delivering exceptional value and tailored solutions to clients and shareholders.
"Alkhair has the unique advantage to issue Islamic financing securities (sukuk) with a strong track record, and a strong access to the Malaysian sukuk market and expertise, as we have a fully licensed Malaysian sister company AlKhair Malaysia," he said.
"AlKhair Capital Saudi commands the skills and the capabilities to create suitable Islamic financing solutions to our clients," he added.
Bank Alkhair, a Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank founded in 2004, is the major shareholder in Alkhair capital, he said, adding that it is an Islamic wholesale bank with subsidiaries in Malaysia and Turkey.


Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

Updated 24 May 2019
0

Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

  • Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors
  • After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers said they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies

NEW DELHI: Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year.
Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon.com , Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring.
India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook Inc, and its subsidiary, WhatsApp.
But from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

“I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms.
“Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predictability, this has sent a worrying message to global investors.”
India stuck to its policies despite protests and aggressive lobbying by the United States government, US-India trade bodies and companies themselves.
Small hurdles
Modi was set to hold talks on Friday to form a new cabinet after election panel data showed his Bharatiya Janata Party had won 302 of the 542 seats at stake and was leading in one more, up from the 282 it won in 2014.
After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers told Reuters they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies.
Other investors hope the government will avoid sudden policy changes on investment and regulation that catch them off guard and prove very costly, urging instead industry-wide consultation that permits time to prepare.
Protectionism concerns “are small hurdles you have to go through,” however, said Prem Watsa, the chairman of Canadian diversified investment firm Fairfax Financial, which has investments of $5 billion in India.
“There will be more business-friendly policies and more private enterprise coming into India,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Tech, healthcare and beyond
Among the firms looking for more friendly steps are global payments companies that had benefited since 2016 from Modi’s push for electronic payments instead of cash.
Last year, however, firms such as Mastercard and Visa were asked to store more of their data in India, to allow “unfettered supervisory access,” a change that prompted WhatsApp to delay plans for a payments service.
Modi’s government has also drafted a law to clamp similar stringent data norms on the entire sector.
But abrupt changes to rules on foreign investment in e-commerce stoked alarm at firms such as Amazon, which saw India operations disrupted briefly in February, and Walmart, just months after it invested $16 billion in India’s Flipkart.
Policy changes also hurt foreign players in the $5-billion medical device industry, such as Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson, following 2017 price caps on products such as heart stents and knee implants.
Modi’s government said the move aimed to help poor patients and curb profiteering, but the US government and lobby groups said it harmed innovation, profits and investment plans.
“If foreign companies see their future in this country on a long-term basis...they will have to look at the interests of the people,” Ashwani MaHajjan, an official of a nationalist group that pushed for some of the measures, told Reuters.
That view was echoed this week by two policymakers who said government policies will focus on strengthening India’s own companies, while providing foreign players with adequate opportunities for growth.
Such comments worry foreign executives who fear Modi is not about to change his protectionist stance in a hurry, with one offical of a US tech firm saying, “I’d rather be more worried than be optimistic.”