IFN Forum: Saudi Arabia key market to watch for sukuk

Updated 18 November 2013
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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.


Once mighty US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

Updated 15 October 2018
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Once mighty US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

  • Sears had been drowning in debt and reportedly could not afford a $134 million repayment
  • Started in 1886, the company was a pioneer of departmental stores that catered to everyone

WASHINGTON: Sears, the venerable US chain that once dominated the retail sector but had been in decline since the advent of the Amazon era, filed for bankruptcy Monday and announced it was closing almost 150 stores.
With a history that stretches back to 1886, the company was a pioneer of departmental stores that catered to everyone and by the mid-twentieth century had built a vast empire that stretched across North America.
But it has closed hundreds of outlets in recent years amid a retail shakeout caused in part by the rise of Amazon and other e-commerce players.
“The Company and certain of its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York,” a statement by Sears Holdings Corporation said.
Sears had been drowning in debt and reportedly could not afford a $134 million repayment that had been due on Monday.
Edward S. Lampert, Chairman of Sears Holdings, said the insolvency filing would give the company the “flexibility to strengthen its balance sheet” and enable it to accelerate a strategic transformation.
The company said it intended to reorganize around a smaller store platform, a strategy it said would help save tens of thousands of jobs.
But it announced it would close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year, in addition to the previously announced closure of 46 stores by November.
While retaining his chairmanship, Lampert will step down as CEO, with the role handled by other senior executives as part of a new “Office of the CEO.”
Sears added it had received commitments for $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing and was negotiating for an additional $300 million.
Sears is far from the only brick-and-mortar outlet to fall by the wayside as more consumers do the bulk of their shopping online.
In March, iconic Toys “R” Us announced it was shuttering all of its US outlets while other big names such as Macy’s and JC Penney have also been forced to close numerous locations and lay off workers.
American shopping malls in turn have been forced to turn to a new generation of stores, food and entertainment including players that began online, as well as gyms and video game bars like Dave & Buster’s.