This week, Islamic fintech companies get a boost from investors with Series A funding rounds while the global Sukuk market saw a flurry of activity with landmark issuances both completed and planned for the year. Bangladesh and Algeria are stepping up their Islamic finance game, and mergers and acquisition deals in the Shariah finance industry move forward.
All these and more in this week’s IFN market round-up.
New wave of mergers
Mergers and acquisitions in the global Islamic finance and banking industry continue amid economic pressures — in Saudi Arabia, SABB and Alawwal Bank concluded their merger while Qatar’s Al Khalij Commercial Bank–Masraf Al Rayan merger and Bahrain’s Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait and Ithmaar Holding’s acquisition deal posted new updates.
Meanwhile, the newly formed Saudi National Bank from the National Commercial Bank–Samba merger is planning to open nine new branches before the end of the year — all fully Islamic at the retail level — while making over 70% of its financing facilities under corporate banking in all its rebranded outlets Shariah compliant.
Bangladesh’s Sukuk story
Following Bangladesh’s debut sovereign Sukuk in December last year, the country’s first corporate Sukuk issuance was announced this week — Deshbandhu Group’s US$250 million Sukuk facility to mature in 2028. Read our cover story this week for the full story.
Algeria strengthens Islamic finance
The Algiers Stock Exchange participated in discussions on the planned legislative framework for Sukuk in Algeria, while the country’s finance ministry confirmed measures benefiting Islamic finance to be included in the next finance law to be drafted in 2022.
Islamic fintech on the rise
Egypt’s NowPay, a platform for corporate employees that offers Shariah compliant options, raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A round — a follow-up to its first seed round in 2019. Saudi Arabia’s Lendo, which offers crowdfunding to SMEs, also closed a Series A round worth SAR27 million (US$7.19 million) this week.
In Indonesia, peer-to-peer lender ALAMI Technologies announced its plans to raise funds in a Series A+ round after its acquisition of a Shariah rural bank. In Pakistan, healthcare tech firm Sehat Kahani raised US$1 million in a pre-series A round, with the IsDB as one of its investors. In the UK, Islamic peer-to-peer platform Qardus is looking to crowdfund GBP215,000 (US$299,087) to finance its expansion plans and extend services to SMEs.
Contributing to Dubai’s GDP
The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre launched its 2022–30 strategy, a key component of which is to boost the Islamic finance sector’s contribution to Dubai’s GDP as well as investment opportunities in the Islamic economy.
ASEAN regulators unite
Capital market regulators from the 10 ASEAN countries, including major Islamic financial markets Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia, finalized a new five-year action plan that focuses on growth and recovery with sustainability and strengthening ASEAN asset classes.
Global Sukuk market updates
Egypt’s House of Representatives has approved in principle an amendment proposed by the finance minister on the draft sovereign Sukuk legislation to remove corporate Sukuk issuers from the supervision of the Financial Regulatory Authority.
The International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation reissued an aggregate US$1.4 billion in short-term Sukuk — its largest offering since inception — which attracted over US$2.1 billion in orders or an oversubscription of 1.5 times.
Agritech company Pure Harvest Smart Farms raised US$50 million through a three-year Sukuk financing solution led by SHUAA Capital, with participation from Franklin Templeton and Sancta Capital among others.
Plans for Sukuk issuances were announced by GCC issuers this week — Saudi mall operator Arabian Centres is planning a US$500 million facility to be arranged by HSBC Holdings; Dubai Islamic Bank will be issuing an additional Tier 1 Sukuk facility not exceeding US$1.5 billion; and QIIB’s board of directors approved plans for an additional Tier 2 Sukuk facility worth up to US$1 billion.