UK retail sales slide on ‘Beast from East’ icy weather

Britain suffered freezing temperatures in late February, and to a lesser extent last month, as blasts of icy weather from Siberia engulfed Europe. (AFP)
Updated 19 April 2018
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UK retail sales slide on ‘Beast from East’ icy weather

LONDON: British retail sales slid 1.2 percent in March, as “Beast from the East” freezing weather sliced demand for car fuel but boosted online purchasing, official data showed Thursday.
“The month-on-month growth rate fell by 1.2 percent due to a large fall of 7.4 percent from petrol sales; a likely consequence of adverse weather conditions, which impacted travel,” the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
Analysts’ consensus forecast had been for a drop of 0.6 percent.
The ONS added that “department stores were the only sector to show positive growth in March at 0.8 percent, with feedback from retailers suggesting that online offers for Mothering Sunday and Easter boosted Internet sales more than usual during the adverse weather.”
Britain suffered freezing temperatures in late February, and to a lesser extent last month, as blasts of icy weather from Siberia engulfed Europe.


Maalem Financing raises $26m in debut sukuk

Updated 17 October 2018
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Maalem Financing raises $26m in debut sukuk

  • The sukuk from Maalem, a shariah-compliant commercial and consumer financing firm, is a small but novel deal
  • The three-year unsubordinated deal was sold through a private placement and Maalem could tap the market again

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Maalem Financing has raised SR100 million ($26.6 million) from a debut sale of Islamic bonds, or sukuk, as the firm seeks to develop a crowdfunding product and expand its operations, a senior executive said on Tuesday.
The sukuk from Maalem, a shariah-compliant commercial and consumer financing firm, is a small but novel deal in a market that is dominated by issuance from sovereign institutions and Islamic banks.
The three-year unsubordinated deal was sold through a private placement and Maalem could tap the market again as early as January next year, said John Sandwick, a member of Maalem’s board of directors.
“The program is for SR500 million and with 3.6 times oversubscription, there seems to be a lot of demand,” he said.
Additional sales of sukuk aimed to raise between SR100 million and SR200 million, depending on market conditions, he said, adding that Maalem may consider a dollar-denominated sukuk issuance at a later stage.
The debut transaction used a structure known as murabaha, a cost-plus-profit arrangement commonly used in Saudi Arabia. The firm hoped to use an asset-backed structure for future deals, Sandwick said.
Established in 2009, Maalem received regulatory approval to operate as a non-real estate finance company in 2016 and increased its capital in 2017 to SR150 million.
The company plans to open several regional offices by the end of 2018 and is awaiting regulatory approval for a crowdfunding license, Sandwick said.
Crowdfunding enables startup firms to collect small sums of money from many individuals as an alternative to bank loans.
Albilad Capital, the investment banking unit of Bank Albilad, served as sole lead manager and arranger of the sukuk.