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Thursday, 3 January 2008

Kuwait’s KFH launches firm to trade Islamic bonds

KUWAIT (RTRS): Kuwait Finance House (KFH), the country’s biggest Islamic lender, said on Monday it had launched a firm to trade Islamic bonds, or sukuk, on the secondary market. The firm would have a capital of KD100 million ($366.2 million) and issue and trade sukuks with the goal of creating a secondary market for Islamic bonds in Kuwait, KFH said in a statement after the firms’ first general assembly. “For the first half of 2008, the firm plans to issue sukuks,” it said in a statement. Islamic law bans the receipt of interest, and sukuk are typically based on physical assets that pay a return to bondholders. They were often bought when they were issued on the primary market and held to maturity because they were so scarce. But a surge in sukuk sales this year and strong demand from Western buyers has transformed the once stagnant secondary market in the Gulf into an increasingly active and liquid one, bankers told Reuters in August.
Meanwhile, Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced Monday creation of a Beit for Management of Investment Liquidity and elected a board of director for the new firm headed by Imad Youssef Al-Mani’e. The firm, which specializes in management of Islamic bonds, is the first of its kind, Al-Mani’e said in a press briefing here. With KD 100 million capital, the company help create a subsidiary market for bonds. It will serve as a new financing tool, thus serving the Kuwaiti investment market, Al-Mani’e pointed out. The establishment of the company is in line with the government tendency to turn Kuwait into a global financial hub, he noted.
It expresses the KFH major role in the Sharia-based financial transactions, he added. The bond market in Kuwait saw a remarkable progress in the last three years and still has promising potentials. Through launching Beit for Management of Investment Liquidity, the KFH made a qualitative move to encourage more firms to issue bonds, and enhance the investment tools based on Sharia (Islamic law), he added. Established in Kuwait in 1977, KFH is the first bank operating in accordance with Shari’a. It was listed on Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) on Dec 31, 2006 with a capital of KD 3.133 billion.

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