QFB announces first quarter results

• Recorded revenue of QAR 121.5 million;
• Slightly decreased total assets by 3% to QAR 5.8 billion, compared to year end 2016
• Compared to the same period of the previous year, QFB:
o Improved profitability by 51%; and
o Reduced expenses by 13%

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has released its financial results for the first quarter of 2017 recording revenues of QAR 121.5 million and improved profitability by 51%.

Mr. Khaled Abdullah Al Khoori, Acting Chief Executive Officer, QFB said:
“As the global investment market continues to go through major challenges, QFB was able to record revenues of QAR 121.5 million and improved profitability by 51% from a loss of QAR 19.6 million (during the first quarter of 2016) to a loss of QAR 9.6 million (for the same period this year). We envision that the global economic backdrop will remain challenging for the remainder of this year; however, we will continue to push ahead to develop innovative financial solutions and source attractive investment opportunities for our individual and institutional clients.”

Since the beginning of 2017, QFB has been witnessing solid achievements marked by the development of the placement and distribution force that will focus on offering personalized investment opportunities and financial solutions to both individual and corporate clients. To support this initiative, the bank has signed several agreements with internationally recognized players expanding the range of offerings to meet the changing needs of clients across several markets.

Al Khoori added: “The year 2016 saw several key economic events that contributed to the stagnation of the global economy. The depreciation of major currencies, the plunge in oil prices, and the many country-specific macroeconomic and extraordinary factors; have all furthered the slowdown of the global economy. At QFB we were not immune to the prevailing global economic scene.”

Despite these challenging economic factors that continue to have influence on the bank’s investment book, QFB total assets slightly decreased by 3% from the year end 2016, and closed at QAR 5.8 billion. Moreover, the investment portfolio continued to generate healthy dividends recording an increase of 14% compared to the first quarter of 2016. QFB’s Sukuk book also continued to generate positive returns resulted in an increase of 14% compared the same period of 2016. Furthermore, the bank’s income from placement with financial institutions has increased by 46%, compared to the first quarter of the previous year, mainly from cash deployment in Shari’ah compliant money market funds. Additionally, the bank’s income from financing assets increased by 42%, compared to the same period of 2016, recording additional income of QAR 6 million.

On the private equity front, QFB’s investments in the healthcare sector has shown positive momentum during the first quarter of 2017. With regards to Memorial Healthcare Group, one of Turkey’s largest premier hospital chain, healthy growth has been achieved on both the revenue and EBITDA levels, both growing by 10% from the same period of the previous year, and benefiting from a relatively stable currency fluctuation. As for QFB’s investment in Cambridge Medical and Rehabilitation Center in the UAE, significant growth was achieved with revenue growing more than 40%, compared to the same period of the previous year, on the back of the repeal of the 20% co-payment mandate for inpatient Long Term Care in late January 2017, in addition to the continued expansion in services and locations, both locally and regionally. During the same quarter, the Bank sold the final two apartments on its development in Westbourne Grove, London.

QFB’s Turkish and UK investments, which were previously impacted by currency fluctuations and country-specific events, continued to be stable with slight improvements on the UK side. The team will continue to successfully manage the existing portfolio, as well as seeking out new lucrative opportunities. Besides, the management hopes that the portfolio will perform well in the years to come.

Al Khoori said: “In line with our strategy, QFB will continue to optimise the existing investment portfolio book with the objective of maximizing value to shareholders and clients; and to reinvest the proceeds in lucrative opportunities that will contribute positively to the bank’s returns.”

QFB’s current portfolio of alternative investments are within various sectors including healthcare, energy, consumer finance, real estate, industrial, retail, luxury, food & beverage; spread across diversified geographies. Since its incorporation, the bank has closed a number of successful transactions across Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Africa and the MENA region with carrying value of total equity investments (including subsidiaries) of QAR 1.49 billion (31 March 2017); decreased from the year end 2016 mainly due to successful exits during the first quarter of 2017. Over the years, the team has successfully exited seven investments in addition to two partial exits – the latest of which is selling 44% stake in one of the most successful leading healthcare platforms based in the UAE – and all together generated healthy returns to Shareholders with an average IRR of more than 30%.

On the treasury and investments front, the team continued to focus on the bank’s role as a trusted advisor, a gateway for investors who wish to tap into innovative, Shari’ah compliant, investment opportunities in local, regional and global markets. Leveraging the in-house and international breadth of investment solutions and structuring capabilities, presented by the successful placement of the Ijarah Aviation product, QFB will continue developing innovative Shari’ah compliant structured solutions that will meet individual and corporate clients’ needs.

Alongside the development of attractive products, the treasury and investments team continued to focus on liquidity optimization through the interbank market and money markets. Additionally, the team was actively involved in investing and managing the bank’s Sukuk book which continued to grow and perform well. The department will continue to grow and develop its capabilities with a concentration on developing in-house products during next year and offer attractive products linked to several sectors including Real Estate and Aviation.

On the placement and distribution front, the team will continue offering our range of personalised financial solutions and innovative investment opportunities focusing on profit generation and recurring income channels. During the first quarter of this year, the team has been able to maintain a growing portfolio through offering financing products and liability solutions including Wakala, Murabaha, Ijara, Istisna’a and others. Additionally, the team successfully added a new revenue stream by placing investment products with their corporate clients; demonstrating the synergies between departments – a hallmark to QFB’s strategy. Empowered by our client centric approach where the investment advice is personalized to the financial goals and risk profile of both individual and corporate clients, the placement and distribution team has signed several agreements with internationally recognized players expanding its range of offerings to cover financing, investments, trusts, foundations, advisory, real estate planning, and statement consolidation. The team has increased its booking business, expanded its services across major cities in the region, and solidified relationships with existing clients.

In line with the results and the changes instituted during 2017, QFB’s management continued raising efficiency levels through the implementation of the cost rationalisation plan that resulted in an overall reduction of expenses by 13% compared to the first quarter of 2016. The aim is to focus on capitalizing on the bank’s resources and maximizing the experience of the human capital to boost performance during 2017 and the coming years. Moreover, the efficiency action plan will enable accelerating the focus on business lines that are expected to generate income, and hence raise shareholders’ value and enhance profitability levels.

“2016 was a difficult and challenging year, and the first quarter of 2017 continued to be challenging. However, the changes instituted, in relation to strategy and efficiency, are the necessary steps in laying the foundations for a successful future. We recognize that there is still a considerable amount of work to be done, but we take comfort in the prospect of new business opportunities after refocusing our efforts on income generating business lines. In particular, the combination of our capabilities in private equity, real estate, and product structuring solutions; with dedicated origination and placement capacity; will create a business model that we hope to produce genuine growth and profitability.” Al Khoori added

Al Khoori concluded: “Looking ahead we envision that the global economic backdrop will remain challenging. In spite of these challenges we will continue adopting an opportunistic outlook to source viable investment opportunities that surface in such market conditions in order to generate sound returns for the Bank, our clients and shareholders.”

QFB announces the resignation of Ziad Makkawi as its Chief Executive Officer, The board of directors also announces the appointment of Khaled Al Khoori as new Acting CEO

The Board of Directors of QFB LLC (Public) announced today the appointment of Mr. Khaled Abdullah Al Khoori, as the new Acting CEO pending regulatory approvals. The Board of Directors of QFB has approved the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Mr. Ziad Makkawi during his last meeting, and thanked him for his efforts during the previous period and wished him success in his future plans.

Al Khoori took the helm of Al Hilal Bank in December 2015 following his appointment as CEO. As the head of one of the fastest-growing Islamic banks in the UAE, Al Khoori brought to the bank his extensive years of valuable professional experience in the Banking and Investments industry to help steer the organization’s future direction and growth. Prior to joining Al Hilal Bank, Al Khoori played numerous key roles at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), as he was the Director of Real Estate and Infrastructure Department, managing the firm’s strategic global relationships and investment.

In addition, Al Khoori was the Director of the Private Equity Department for three years, where he focused primarily on US/Europe mega funds, buyout funds, Secondary Market investment in PE, Distressed Credit Investments during the Global Financial Crisis. Al Khoori served as Vice Chairman of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Chairman of National Takaful Company (Watania), and founding board member of QFB. Khaled graduated Summa Cum Laude from Boston University, US, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA). He also completed a General Manager Program (TGMP) from Harvard Business School in 2005.

Abdulla Bin Fahad Bin Ghorab Al Marri, QFB’s Chairman, said:

“We would like to welcome Khaled Abdullah Khoori as the Acting CEO of QFB, and roll out the strategy of establishing a leading Shari’ah Compliant Bank. Together, we will continue to build on our successes in the Private Equity area and broaden the services we offer to our clients and shareholders. We are excited about having Khaled as an Acting CEO, especially after knowing him as one of the bank’s board members. Khaled brings a depth of experience and we are confident that he will lead the team and grow the Bank to new heights, God willing”.

Mr. Al Marri added:

“We would like to thank Mr. Ziad Makkawi for his contribution and his achievements to the Bank. We wish him continued progress and prosperity, and success in his future endeavors. ”

Under Makkawi’s leadership as the bank’s CEO since June 2015, QFB witnessed strategic achievements marked by the launch of the new strategy that streamlined the business to offer Shari’ah compliant services including alternative investments with a focus on Private Equity and Real Estate, as well as Corporate & Institutional banking, Private Banking & Wealth Management, Treasury & Investments. During his tenure, Makkawi led several milestones for the bank most significant of which was listing the bank’s shares on the Qatar Stock exchange. In addition he oversaw the establishment of an open architecture platform for Private Banking services and transformed the organization from an inward focused investment house to a client focused financial institution. The bank also launched several innovative structures and products catering to its high net worth and institutional client base.

Qatar First Bank held AGM

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) “QFB” held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday to discuss the bank’s results and future outlook after releasing financials for the year ended 31 December 2016 and announcing the launch of the second phase of the cost rationalisation plan.

QFB’s Board of Directors, chaired by QFB chairman Abdulla Bin Fahad Bin Ghorab Al Marri, along with shareholders and attendees of the AGM, discussed and approved, the bank’s audited financial results and the performance of the eight full year of operation, and QFB first year as a listed entity on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE). The AGM was held at the Le Crillon Ballroom at La Cigale Hotel in Doha – Qatar,

Abdulla Bin Fahad Bin Ghorab Al Marri, QFB’s Chairman, said:

“The year 2016 saw several key economic events that contributed to the stagnation of the global economy. The depreciation of major currencies, the plunge in oil prices, and the many country-specific macroeconomic and extraordinary factors; have all furthered the slowdown of the global economy. Closer to home, the geo-political unrest continues to hamper the growth of the MENA economies. Qatar, despite being one of the best performing economies in the GCC, has faced several challenges.”

“At QFB we were not immune to the prevailing global economic scene. We have recorded losses, the majority of which are unrealized, resulting mainly from the downward revision of the valuations of some of our private equity investments across several markets.” Al Marri added

Despite the write-down of QFB’s investment book, the bank’s total assets didn’t decline and closed at almost QAR 6 billion, mainly driven by the increase from financing assets, which increased by 33%. Moreover, the investment portfolio continued to generate healthy dividends (QAR 13 million). QFB’s Sukuk book continued to generate positive returns close to QAR 30 million. Last but not least, the bank’s income from placement with financial institutions has tripled mainly from cash deployment in Shari’ah compliant money market funds.

As the global investment market continues to go through major challenges since the beginning of 2016, QFB’s private equity portfolio has been negatively impacted by country-specific events mainly in Turkey and the UK. The decrease in the valuation of the bank’s investments reflects the effect of the macroeconomic and extraordinary factors that both countries have been facing. The main impact came from the depreciation of currency, Turkish Lira and British Pound Sterling, against the US Dollar and from the weakness of the real estate sector in the United Kingdom.

QFB’s private equity portfolio had consistently generated significant returns over the last 6 years. The bank’s Turkish investments are still 47% higher than their acquisition price and will continue to grow in sales and profitability and occupy leading positions in their respective industries of Healthcare and Retail. Additionally, QFB’s UK investments are still significantly above their acquisition costs, both in Pounds and Riyals.

Whilst the current volatility in the global markets has impacted the bank’s business, QFB continued to successfully manage its existing portfolio, as well as seeking out new lucrative opportunities. The management hopes that the portfolio will perform well in the years to come.

In line with QFB’s strategy, the bank will continue to seek exits on its existing investment portfolio book with the objective of maximizing value to shareholders and clients at opportune times; and to reinvest the proceeds in lucrative opportunities that will contribute positively to the bank’s returns.

Al Marri continued:

The major challenges in the global investment market and the downward revision of our private equity investments have resulted in clearly disappointing results. Aside from these results, we continued urging the executive management to execute our strategy and focus on the most lucrative areas. Our aim was to fully match the evolution of the wider region’s investment direction, as well as continue to act as the gateway for investors, while building on our successes in the private equity area.”

QFB’s current portfolio of alternative investments are within various sectors including healthcare, energy, consumer finance, real estate, industrial, retail, luxury, food & beverage; spread across diversified geographies. Since its incorporation, the bank has closed a number of successful transactions across Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Africa and the MENA region with carrying value of total equity investments (including subsidiaries) of QAR 1.53 billion (31 December 2016). Over the years, the team has successfully exited six investments, in addition to three partial exits, and generated healthy returns to Shareholders with an average IRR of 36%.

Commenting at the AGM, Ziad Makkawi, QFB’s CEO, said:

“2016 witnessed several key economic events, marked by economic volatility and challenges across our target markets, which caused us to record losses, resulting mainly from the downward revision of fair value gains recorded in previous years.”

Makkawi continued:

“Our strategy, going forward, focuses on our role as a trusted advisor, a gateway for investors who wish to tap into innovative, Shari’ah compliant, investment opportunities in local, regional and global markets. QFB will continue to diversify our portfolio, tapping into new and attractive geographical markets. The bank is well positioned to provide capital solutions to growing businesses in the region, utilizing our expertise and network. We look to partner with market leaders, private and institutional investors, attracting third party money with the objective to create value while following international best practice and the highest levels of corporate governance.”

QFB aims to continue building its distribution and placement capability. Investment opportunities and financial solutions are personalized to the goals and risk profile of both individual and corporate clients. To support this initiative, the bank has signed several agreements with internationally recognized players expanding the range of offerings to meet the changing needs of clients across several markets.

Alongside the distribution and placement capability, QFB will continue working with its strategic shareholders and clients, enabling the bank’s team to benefit from the wider network and from access to regional and international markets.

In line with the results, QFB’s management confirms the launch of the second phase of its cost rationalisation plan, originally launched in June 2016. The objective is to continue raising efficiency levels through strict and tight cost cutting measures including strategic reduction to the workforce caused by the consolidation of the placement and distribution capabilities of the bank’s corporate and private banking business lines; which going forward will focus more on fee generating services. The aim is to focus on capitalizing on the bank’s human resources and maximizing their experience to boost performance during the coming years. Moreover, the efficiency action plan will enable accelerating the focus on business lines that are expected to generate income, and hence raise shareholders’ value and enhance profitability levels.

Makkawi concluded:

“2016 was a difficult and challenging year for QFB and our shareholders. However, the changes instituted are the necessary first steps in laying the foundations for a successful future. We recognize that there is still a considerable amount of work to be done, but we take comfort in the prospect of new business opportunities after refocusing our efforts on alternative investments. In particular, the combination of capabilities in private equity, real estate, and product structuring solutions; with dedicated origination and placement capacity; will create a business model that we hope to produce genuine growth and profitability for the bank.”

Since the beginning of 2016, QFB has been witnessing strategic achievements marked by listing the bank’s shares on the Qatar Stock exchange, following the approval of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA). Following this significant milestone, QFB has leveraged on the in-house and international breadth of investment solutions and structuring capabilities to offer an attractive range of products and services. The bank announced the placement of the ‘Ijarah Aviation Structured Product’ that was met with great enthusiasm by individual and institutional clients. Additionally, the bank’s team of professionals catered clients with a wide range of investment opportunities and innovative financial solutions to grow, manage and protect their wealth and assets. Besides, QFB, after the completion of its second residential project in London, announced offering specialised real estate services to individuals and corporates seeking to add value to their portfolios by owning, occupying and investing in real estate across the world. Last but not least, the bank continued to focus on liquidity optimization through the interbank market and money markets. Also, the team was actively involved in investing and managing the Sukuk book which continued to perform well and growing its private equity deal pipeline.

 

Al Marri concluded:

“Looking ahead we envision that the global economic backdrop will remain challenging specifically as the GCC region adjusts to low oil prices and slowing economic growth. In spite of these challenges QFB will continue adopting an opportunistic outlook to source viable investment opportunities that surface in such market conditions in order to generate sound returns for the Bank, our clients and shareholders.”

Al Marri concluded by expressing his sincere appreciation for the visionary leadership of His Highness, the Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani. He continued by thanking the bank’s shareholders for their patience and loyalty, employees and business partners for their faith and support, and respected Shari’ah Supervisory Board for their wise counsel and guidance.

Qatar First Bank announces 2016 year-end financial results

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) “QFB”, a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has released its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2016 and announced the launch of the second phase of its cost rationalisation plan.

QFB recorded a net loss of QAR 265.6 million resulting mainly from the downward revision of the valuations of some of the Bank’s investments across several markets. Despite the write-down of the investment book, the bank’s total assets didn’t decline and closed at almost QAR 6 billion, mainly driven by the increase from financing assets. Moreover, the investment portfolio continued to generate healthy dividends (QAR 13 million). Additionally, financing assets increased by 33%, and will generate recurring income during the coming years. QFB’s Sukuk book continued to generate positive returns close to QAR 30 million. Last but not least, the bank’s income from placement with financial institutions has tripled mainly from cash deployment in Shari’ah compliant money market funds.

As the global investment market continues to go through major challenges since the beginning of 2016, QFB’s private equity portfolio has been negatively impacted by country-specific events mainly in Turkey and the UK. The decrease in the valuation of the bank’s investments reflects the effect of the macroeconomic and extraordinary factors that both countries have been facing. The main impact came from the depreciation of currency, British Pound Sterling and Turkish Lira, against the US Dollar and from the weakness of the real estate sector in the United Kingdom.

QFB’s CEO, Ziad Makkawi, said:
“Our private equity portfolio had consistently generated significant returns over the last 6 years. Our Turkish investments are still 47% higher than their acquisition price and will continue to grow in sales and profitability and occupy leading positions in their respective industries of Healthcare and Retail. Additionally, our UK investments are still significantly above our acquisition costs, both in Pounds and Riyals. However the ongoing global political and economic conditions continue to weigh on our markets and as a consequence on our overall profitability. Our 2016 revenues have been significantly affected by reversals of previous years’ fair value gains on our Private Equity investments, specifically in Turkey and the UK, resulting in overall losses of QAR 265.6 million, the majority of which are unrealized.”

Makkawi continued: “We continue executing on our strategy, announced in 2015, that streamlined the bank to focus on the most lucrative areas while building on the successes in the Private Equity area, being QFB’s core business line. Our aim is to fully match the evolution of Qatar and the wider region’s investment direction, as well as act as the gateway for investors looking to access lucrative investment opportunities alongside QFB.”

“2017 remains a “buyer’s market” offering an increasing amount of investment opportunities. With credit markets still tight, medium sized enterprises and businesses will continue to seek alternative funding sources and private equity investors will benefit from this. Our focus will continue to be on the Alternative Investment space including private equity and real estate and generating interesting investment Shari’ah compliant products. Additionally, we will continue to grow our distribution and placement capability, in Qatar and beyond in the GCC.” Makkawi added

QFB aims to develop a distribution and placement capability that is empowered by its client centric approach. Investment opportunities and financial solutions are personalized to the goals and risk profile of both individual and corporate clients. To support this initiative, the bank has signed several agreements with internationally recognized players expanding the range of offerings to meet the changing needs of clients across several markets.

Whilst the current volatility in the global markets has impacted the bank’s business, QFB continued to successfully manage its existing portfolio, as well as seeking out new lucrative opportunities. The management is confident that they will perform well in the years to come.

In line with QFB’s strategy, the bank will continue to seek exits on its existing investment portfolio book with the objective of maximizing value to shareholders and clients at opportune times; and to reinvest the proceeds in lucrative opportunities that will contribute positively to the bank’s returns.

QFB’s current portfolio of alternative investments are within various sectors including healthcare, energy, consumer finance, real estate, industrial, retail, luxury, food & beverage; spread across diversified geographies. Since its incorporation, the bank has closed a number of successful transactions across Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Africa and the MENA region with carrying value of total equity investments (including subsidiaries) of QAR 1.53 billion (31 December 2016). Over the years, the team has successfully exited six investments, in addition to three partial exits, and generated healthy returns to Shareholders with an average IRR of 36%.

Makkawi said: “QFB’s strategy focuses on our role as a trusted advisor, a gateway for investors who wish to tap into innovative, Shari’ah compliant, investment opportunities in local, regional and global markets. We will continue to diversify our portfolio, tapping into new and attractive geographical markets. We are well positioned to provide capital solutions to growing businesses in the region, utilizing our expertise and network. We look to partner with market leaders, private and institutional investors, attracting third party money with the objective to create value while following international best practice and the highest levels of corporate governance.”

QFB will continue working with its strategic shareholders and clients, enabling the bank’s team to benefit from the wider network and from access to regional and international markets.

QFB’s management confirms the launch of the second phase of its cost rationalisation plan, originally launched in June 2016. The objective is to continue raising efficiency levels through strict and tight cost cutting measures including strategic reduction to the workforce caused by the consolidation of the placement and distribution capabilities of the bank’s corporate and private banking business lines; which going forward will focus more on fee generating services. The aim is to focus on capitalizing on the bank’s human resources and maximizing their experience to boost performance during the coming years. Moreover, the efficiency action plan will enable accelerating the focus on business lines that are expected to generate income, and hence raise shareholders’ value and enhance profitability levels.

“In line with the current market conditions and in order for QFB to emerge as a more efficient and productive contributor to Qatar’s financial market, we have undertaken important cost rationalization initiatives touching upon both staffing and business related expenses. We believe that the quality of our business is not only evaluated on the ability to generate revenues but also in the efficiency of the support services.” Added Makkawi.

Since the beginning of 2016, QFB has been witnessing strategic achievements marked by listing the bank’s shares on the Qatar Stock exchange, following the approval of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA). Following this significant milestone, QFB has leveraged on the in-house and international breadth of investment solutions and structuring capabilities to offer an attractive range of products and services. The bank announced the placement of the ‘Ijarah Aviation Structured Product’ that was met with great enthusiasm by individual and institutional clients. Additionally, the bank’s team of professionals catered clients with a wide range of investment opportunities and innovative financial solutions to grow, manage and protect their wealth and assets. Besides, QFB, after the completion of its second residential project in London, announced offering specialised real estate services to individuals and corporates seeking to add value to their portfolios by owning, occupying and investing in real estate across the world. Last but not least, the bank continued to focus on liquidity optimization through the interbank market and money markets. Also, the team was actively involved in investing and managing the Sukuk book which continued to perform well and growing its private equity deal pipeline.

Makkawi concluded: “2016 was a difficult and challenging year for QFB and our shareholders. However, the changes instituted are the necessary first steps in laying the foundations for a successful future. We recognize that there is still a considerable amount of work to be done, but we take comfort in the prospect of new business opportunities after refocusing our efforts on alternative investments. In particular, the combination of capabilities in private equity, real estate, and product structuring solutions; with dedicated origination and placement capacity; will create a leading force that we hope to produce genuine growth and profitability for the bank.”

Best Private Bank – EMEA Finance Awards

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) “QFB”, a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), is pleased to announce that it has won the coveted “Best Private Bank in Qatar” title for 2016, from ‘EMEA Finance’, the leading finance magazine in Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. Representing QFB, Mr. Nizar Ahmadi, Head of Private Banking & Wealth Management, collected this accolade at EMEA Finance’s “Middle East Banking Awards 2016” ceremony, held at the Conrad Dubai.

Commenting at the event, Ahmadi said:
“Winning the accolade for the Best Private Bank in Qatar, proves our evolution in to a Shari’ah compliant private banking while attentive to our clients’ needs and delivering excellence in all aspects. After launching the open architecture platform with the help of leading international partners we do keen in enhancing our Private Banking offerings across Qatar and the region”

The Middle East Banking Awards celebrates the achievements of banking institutions that have reported record profits, demonstrated the highest standards of services, developed innovative products, and achieved overall excellence in the industry. This year’s winners are a reflection in many ways of the economies and countries that they serve, and have proved that they are ready for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
The prestigious award is the latest of several recognitions QFB has received in 2016, including:

– being recognized as “Bank of the Year, Qatar” and “Best Private Bank, Qatar” by The Asset Triple A Islamic Finance Awards,
– exclusively named 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ at Global Finance magazine’s ninth annual awards,
– winning the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ title by ‘Wealth & Finance’ in this year’s ‘Alternative Investment Awards’, and
– being named “Best Shari’ah Compliant Commercial Bank” in Qatar for customer service excellence and product innovation at the 11th Islamic Business & Finance Awards,

The prestigious awards celebrate the Bank’s milestone achievements throughout 2016, such as its successful listing on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) in April, introducing its one-of-a-kind open architecture Private Banking platform that allowed QFB to opt for a client centric approach whereby the investment advice is personalized to the financial goals and risk profile of the client, and launching the ‘Ijarah Aviation Structured Investment Product’.

EMEA Finance is a leading bi-monthly global industry publication which reports on the major financial events and happenings initiated and influenced by the international financial industry active in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

QFB sells a partial stake in a leading healthcare service provider based in the UAE

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) “QFB”, a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has sold a partial stake in one of the most successful leading healthcare platforms in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Kuwait.
Commenting on the transaction, QFB’s CEO, Ziad Makkawi, said:
“QFB’s successful realization of its investment shows the Bank’s capability in private equity and its ability to manage profitably exit investments in a difficult economic environment”.

Ihab Asali, Managing Partner – Alternative Investments at QFB, said:
“This has been a very good investment for the Bank, and we still hold shares in the group to benefit from future upside. We are delighted to have contributed to their continuing success, which surely strengthened their expansion plans and capabilities in providing global reach and best practices within the healthcare industry”.

QFB sold 44% of its shares in this investment generating more than 2x cash on cash returns on the exited stake.

A spokesperson on behalf of the group said:
“QFB has been a great partner for our group and backed us in building the foundations for our next phase of growth across the GCC and selected cities in South East Asia. We are delighted to continue having QFB as shareholders and we look forward for further successes”.

During 2016, the global investment market continued to go through major challenges. This resulted in a downward revision of the valuations of some of the Bank’s investments across several markets. Specifically, QFB’s private equity portfolio, which had consistently generated significant returns over the last 6 years, has been negatively impacted by country-specific events in both Turkey and the UK.

Asali added:
“Despite the downward revision in 2016, the current valuation for both of our investments in Turkey, Memorial Healthcare Group (“Memorial”) and English Home, is still 47% higher than their acquisition price; both companies continue to grow in sales and profitability and occupy leading positions in their respective industries.”

The decrease in the valuation of QFB’s Turkish investments reflects the effect of the macroeconomic and extraordinary factors that the country has faced during 2016. The main impact came from the depreciation of the Turkish Lira against the US Dollar and the decrease in number of international visitors which affected the healthcare and retail sectors.

On the other hand, the Bank’s investments in the UK were also affected by the significant depreciation of the Pound Sterling against the US Dollar and the weakening of the real estate sector, principally as a result of the Brexit referendum.

Asali added: “Despite the depreciation in currency, our UK investment, luxury jeweler David Morris, is still significantly above our acquisition cost, both in Pounds and Riyals. This investment had strong performance during 2016.”

QFB’s current portfolio of alternative investments are within various sectors including healthcare, energy, consumer finance, real estate, industrial, retail, luxury, food & beverage; spread across diversified geographies. Since its incorporation, QFB’s Alternative Investment division has closed a number of successful transactions across Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Africa and the MENA region with carrying value of total equity investments (including subsidiaries) of QAR 1.73 billion (30 June 2016). Over the years, the team has successfully exited six investments, in addition to three partial exits, and generated healthy returns to Shareholders with an average IRR of 36%.

Makkawi concluded: “QFB’s strategy focuses on our role as a trusted advisor, a gateway for investors who wish to tap into innovative, Shari’ah compliant, investment opportunities in local, regional and global markets. During 2017, we will ccontinue to diversify our portfolio and focus on business services, healthcare, education and real estate sectors while expanding into new geographical markets regionally and internationally. We are well positioned to provide capital solutions to growing businesses in the region that will benefit from our experience and network. We look to partner with likeminded investors who share our philosophy of creating value by investing in market leaders where one can follow a disciplined approach and add operational value to portfolio companies. Additionally, we will continue to operate according to international best practice and attract third party money from both private and institutional investors.”

QFB’s Corporate & Institutional Banking division was recognized for customer service excellence and product innovation

  • Bank’s won the prestigious ‘Best Shari’ah Compliant Commercial Bank – Qatar’ title at the 11th Islamic Business & Finance Awards
  • QFB’s corporate and institutional banking range of products and liability solutions include Wakala, Murabaha, Ijara, Istisna’a, etc.
  • The team has been able to grow QFB’s local asset and liability book, while successfully established footprints across the GCC
  • As per the financial results of the third quarter, QFB:
  • has grown its liability book by more than 10% to QAR 3.37 billion, reflecting investors’ confidence
  • has grown its financing portfolio by around 31% to QAR 1.45 billion

Culminating its seventh-year consecutive growth and the excellence it has continuously demonstrated while serving its clients, Qatar First Bank (Public) “QFB”, a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has been recognized as the ‘Best Shari’ah Compliant Commercial Bank’ in Qatar, at the 11th Islamic Business & Finance Awards – the most prestigious and the longest established Islamic financial services Awards program in the world.

QFB claimed the prestigious title following the closure of the voting period, during which the Bank garnered the most votes from the world’s senior banking professionals and finance industry practitioners. A secure online system collects votes from members of the 68,000 community of CpiFinancial.net, ensuring that the winners crowned on the night are deserving of the title and beyond reproach.

QFB’s Head of Whole Sales Banking Sector – Commercial Banking, Mr. Hussein Hamam, collected the award on behalf of the Bank at the Islamic Business & Finance Awards Gala Dinner held at the Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai.

Commenting on the distinctive achievement, Mr. Sulaiman Yousif Al-Salhi, Chief Business Officer of QFB, said:

“With our growing range of innovative Shari’ah compliant products and services to the corporate and private banking market, as well as the bank’s continued growth and success in its role as a trusted financial advisor to clients, this highly regarded award is a testament to the Bank’s status as a leading player in Qatar’s Islamic financial industry and its capacity to take on potential market challenges amid the current economic conditions in the region. We are truly honored to be named the ‘Best Shari’ah Compliant Commercial Bank’ in the country at the leading annual event for the global Islamic financial community, and we will continue to work on improving our customers experience, streamlining our operations, and exploring more opportunities that contribute positively to our shareholders value and demonstrate genuine growth and profitability.”

QFB’s  Corporate & Institutional Banking team has been able to maintain a growing portfolio offering clients a wide range of financing products and liability solutions including Wakala, Murabaha, Ijara, Istisna’a and others. The Bank’s client base encompasses government, private and public entities belonging to a diverse set of economic sectors such as trading, manufacturing, healthcare, private equity, retail, real estate and contracting, etc. The team has not only been able to grow the Bank’s local asset and liability book, but has also successfully established footprints in the regional GCC market via lucrative syndicate deals. During this year, the bank has grown its liability book by more than 10% to QAR 3.37 billion, according to Q3 2016 financials, reflecting investors’ confidence in the bank. Despite the volatile market conditions the Bank has also grown its financing portfolio by around 31% to QAR 1.45 billion recorded in the third quarter 2016 announcement. To further strengthen QFB’s position and expand the client base, the Bank’s team is heavily involved in product development and service improvement. Additionally, the team successfully added a new revenue stream by placing investment products with their corporate clients; demonstrating the synergies between departments – a hallmark to QFB’s strategy.

The Islamic Business & Finance Awards are a showcase of industry excellence for the Islamic Banking and Finance sectors in the world. The great and the good of the industry are brought together at the Islamic Business & Finance Awards, with more than 300 senior figures from the world’s leading financial institutions gathering to witness the winners in the widely contested categories. With a circulation of 12,697 copies distributed to all C-level executives in Islamic financial institutions around the world, the magazine has continued to be the key communication platform for the financial community.

The Islamic Business & Finance Awards’ accolade is the latest of several recognitions QFB has received in 2016, including being exclusively named 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ in Global Finance magazine’s ninth annual awards, as well as winning the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ title by ‘Wealth & Finance’ in this year’s ‘Alternative Investment Awards’. Last but not least, The Asset, Asia’s leading financial publication for issuers and investors, honoured QFB the awards of ‘Bank of the Year, Qatar’ and ‘Best Private Bank, Qatar’ at the The Asset Triple A Islamic Finance Awards 2016.

The prestigious awards celebrate the Bank’s milestone achievements throughout the year, such as its successful listing on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) in April, introducing its one-of-a-kind open architecture Private Banking platform that allowed QFB to opt for a client centric approach, partnering with the some of the world’s leading institutions to broaden its offerings to clients and fuel its growth strategy, as well as launching the series of innovative Shari’ah compliant structured investment opportunities that were met with great enthusiasm by private, corporate and institutional clients.

Qatar First Bank: shares jump to 10% limit after MSCI index entry

The Peninsula/ Reuters

Qatar’s index dropped 0.7 percent to finish at 9,679.92 yesterday as Vodafone Qatar, the most heavily traded stock, slid 4.1 percent to QR9.74 after MSCI downgraded the stock to its small cap index. Qatar First Bank surged to its 10 percent daily limit in heavy trade after MSCI added it to its small cap index.

The stock posted its biggest volume since the day after it listed in April. Stock markets in Saudi Arabia and Egypt continued pulling back yesterday after big rallies earlier this month, while some individual stocks in the United Arab Emirates moved sharply after MSCI adjusted its indexes.

The Saudi index, which had jumped 22 percent between mid-October and Sunday before profit-taking began on Monday, dropped 2.1 percent to 6,493 points yesterday in heavy trade, pulling back from technical resistance on the July peak of 6,703 points.

However, the index ended well off the day’s low of 6,346 points. Among major losers, National Commercial Bank, the biggest lender, dropped 4.5 percent.

A Saudi fund manager said the market had been supported by local and government funds and when these stopped buying yesterday, profit-taking pressure quickly pushed stocks down.

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QFB joins Turkey’s 9th Investment Advisory Council Meeting

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) “QFB”, a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), attended the invitation-only 9thInvestment Advisory Council Meeting, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey.

The meeting; attended by QFB’s CEO, Ziad Makkawi, was chaired by Turkey’s Prime Minister, H.E. Binali Yildirim, and attended by top Turkish government officials, representatives from 20 global companies as well as the major Business Associations who shared their expertise and discussed ways of strengthening the competitiveness of Turkey’s investment climate.

Commenting on QFB participation, Mr. Abdulla Bin Fahad Bin Ghorab AlMarri, Chairman of QFB, said:

“The IAC meetings are setting the roadmap to strengthening the competitiveness of Turkey’s investment climate. Allowing the participation of leading intuitions from across the region, reflects a country’s bold behavior towards achieving a quantum leap in its successful journey on both economic and developmental levels. IAC meetings will promote an exchange of foreign investments from Qatar and the region to Turkey.”

Mr. AlMarri added: “QFB is proud to be invited to this meeting, and we are confident that our business platform and competences in the Shari’ah compliant finance arena is a key to accelerate the execution of building a prosperous economy.”

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Makkawi said:

“Leaders of Turkey have continually shown their commitment and dedication to maintain and develop a healthy business climate, supported by a clear communication strategy and engagement with the international investor community.”

Makkawi added: “As a long standing and committed investor in Turkey we feel encouraged by these type of initiatives that help to align perceptions with reality in terms of the Turkish economic and political environment. QFB has invested in Turkish companies in both the Health Care and Retail sectors, the companies we have invested in past are generating some USD 300 MM in Revenues and have created over 5000 jobs. We believe that QFB can serve as a bridge between Turkey, Qatar and the broader GCC in terms of two way investment and business flows.”

Giving the message that his government is ready to ease the way for new investments Turkey, H.E. Prime Minister Yıldırım stressed that the aim for next year is to be a year of investment flows as he addressed at the IAC meeting.

H.E., The Prime Minister Yıldırım added that Turkey will review what it can do in order to create a more available investment environment and turn the country into an attraction center for global investors along with the suggestions and demands we will hear. H.E. Prime Minister Yildirim also thanked QFB for its ongoing support and commitment and encouraged further engagement and business relations.

The 9th Investment Advisory Council meeting aimed at improving Turkey’s investment environment and attracting foreign investors to the country.

Deputy Prime Ministers Mehmet Şimşek and Nurettin Canikli, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, Development Minister Lütfi Elvan also attended the meeting.

The council members from 14 countries have attended the 9th Investment Advisory Council meeting. They operate in 10 different sectors with a total turnover of $666 billion and employ a total of 1.5 million employees.

Senior managers from the world’s leading groups, including the World Bank Group’s Vice President Cyril Muller, Alstom’s CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO of Alzahid Group Holding AbdulRahman Al Zahid, APM Terminals’ Senior Vice President Teimen Meester, Bank of China’s Senior Vice President Qiang Liu, Bombardier’s President Laurent Troger, CEO of British Petroleum Tufan Erginbilgiç, CEO of Burgan Bank Eduardo Eguren, Gemalto’s Senior Vice President Tommi Nordberg, Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s Executive Director Dato’ Noorazman Abd Aziz, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Corporation Ali Faramawy, CEO of Mitsui & Co.Europe Atsushi Kume, CEO of Mumtalakat Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji, Chairman of Nesma Saleh Al-Turki, CEO of Qatar First Bank Ziad Makkawi, Renault’s Senior Vice Chairman Denis Le Vot, CEO of Sberbank Herman Gref, Managing Director of Sojitz Europe Shigeya Kusano, Vice President of United Technologies Corporation David Hess, CEO of ZTE Corporation Zhang Renjun and Vodafone’s Chief Executive of Vodafone Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region Serpil Timuray attended the meeting.

As a leading listed entity on the Qatar Stock Exchange, QFB can serve as a trusted advisor and gateway for investors interested to tap into innovative, shari’ah-compliant, financial solutions and investment opportunities in both Qatar and Turkey. QFB has the competences and capabilities to offer high-net-worth individuals and corporates an attractive range financial products and services focused on private equity and real estate, private banking and wealth management, as well as corporate and institutional banking.

Mr. Makkawi concluded:

“Financial Services is one of the main areas of bilateral co-operation between Qatar and Turkey, and we believe it has a great potential for further growth and development. We at QFB are confident that we have all the ingredients to fulfill the growing needs of Qatar-Turkey economic aspirations. QFB is in a perfect position to participate and facilitate deals, projects and investments between the two countries and play a vital role in growing and strengthening the current business relationship.”

QFB announces third quarter results

– Revenue increased by 39% to QAR 491 million
– Recorded Net Profit of QAR 3.4 million
– Total assets increased by 16% to QAR 6.8 billion in the first nine months

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has released its financial results for the third Quarter recording revenue increase by 39% to QAR 491 million, versus same period in 2015, and net profit to QAR 3.4 million.

Mr. Ziad Makkawi, Chief Executive Officer, QFB said:

“As the global investment market continues to go through major challenges, QFB was able to record revenues of QAR 491 million and net profit of QAR 3.4 million. We envision that the global economic backdrop will remain challenging for the remainder of this year; however, we will continue to push ahead to develop innovative financial solutions and source attractive investment opportunities for our individual and institutional clients.”

Since the beginning of 2016, QFB has been witnessing solid achievements marked by listing the bank’s shares on the Qatar Stock exchange, following the approval of the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA). Following this significant milestone, QFB announced the development of an innovative open architecture Private Banking platform offering shareholders and clients the opportunity to select from a wide range of investment opportunities and innovative financial solutions to grow, manage and protect their wealth and assets.

Makkawi added: “We are transforming from being an investment focused to an investor focused entity. This is being reflected in the continued development of our Shari’ah compliant offering across all business lines. The development of our pioneering open architecture platform, backed by a talented and highly experienced team, will meet the individual changing needs of our clients.”

Leveraging the in-house and international breadth of investment solutions and structuring capabilities, QFB announced the placement of the ‘Ijarah Aviation Structured Product’ that was met with great enthusiasm by individual and institutional clients. The Shari’ah compliant product offered an investment in a relatively stable sector providing an annual cash return of 9% to be paid to clients on quarterly basis.

Makkawi, said: “We have seen an overwhelming response from the market. Our Ijarah product is one of a series of innovative Shari’ah compliant structured solutions that we will be bringing to the market, and it demonstrates the bank’s strong capabilities and commitment to meeting individual and corporate clients’ needs.”

QFB continued to strengthen its international reach and develop deeper access to key markets. After announcing the completion of 7-12 Leinster Square, a residential real estate development in Leinster Square – London W2, the bank announced offering specialised real estate services to individuals and corporates seeking to add value to their portfolios by owning, occupying and investing in real estate across the world.

Makkawi commented: “By partnering with internationally recognized entities, we will have the opportunity to expand our reach and offer shareholders, as well as private, corporate and institutional clients, tailored solutions at the highest standards of services possible.”

Business Update

Despite regional financial markets continuing to operate at restrained levels, all of the Bank’s revenue-generating business lines have positioned themselves to capture new business and solidify relationships with existing clients.

On the Alternative Investments front, QFB’s current investment portfolio is performing well. The department continues to assess opportunities to maximise value from these positions. QFB’s portfolio includes:

  • English Home, QFB’s Turkey-based home textile chain, expanded its geographic footprint, increasing its number of stores in Turkey and internationally.
  • Al Wasita Emirates for Catering and Services, QFB’s subsidiary, successfully increased its capital from existing shareholders and strengthen the company’s financial position for further expansion.
  • Food Services Company continued to deliver good results while expanding within Qatar.
  • David Morris, London-based luxury jeweller, continued the implementation of its expansion plans in Paris and Qatar.
  • Memorial Health Group continued to record progress in the construction of its new hospital in Bahçelievler – Istanbul.
  • Leinster Square – London W2, QFB’s second real estate development in London, has seen an increase in demand post Brexit, with only one 3-bedroom lateral apartment and four townhouses remaining for investment.
  • FutureCard, a leader in the design and manufacturing of smartcards, was rated the 14th largest producer of EMV payment cards globally and 1st in the Middle East, according to a recently issued Nilson report.  FutureCard continues to be an active player in all smartcards areas including ID, loyalty, transport and SIM, leveraging upon a diversified client base that includes more than 500 active customers across all 6 continents and led by a new industry-experienced management team.

QFB’s Alternative Investments division is well positioned to provide capital solutions to growing businesses in the region that will benefit from the bank’s experience and the network in Qatar and abroad.

Makkawi commented: “With investors being on a quest for more creative ways to maximize their returns, our team of alternative investment professionals is constantly refining and developing its services to honor investors’ ever-changing needs and exceed clients’ expectations. The team has developed its current platform to offer private equity expertise to investor clients. In parallel, we will continue to diversify our portfolio and focus on business services, healthcare, education and real estate sectors while expanding into new geographical markets regionally and internationally.”

On the Corporate & Institutional Banking front, QFB’s team has been able to maintain a growing portfolio offering clients a wide range of Shari’ah compliant financing products and liability solutions including Wakala, Murabaha, Ijara, Istisna’a and others. The Bank’s client base encompasses government, private and public entities belonging to a diverse set of economic sectors such as trading, manufacturing, healthcare, private equity, retail, real estate and contracting, etc. The team has not only been able to grow the Bank’s local asset and liability book, but has also successfully established footprints in the regional GCC market via lucrative syndicate deals. During this year, the bank has grown its liability book by more than 10% to QAR 3.37 billion  reflecting investors’ confidence in the bank. Despite the volatile market conditions the Bank has also grown its financing portfolio by around 31% to QAR 1.45 billion during 2016. To further strengthen QFB’s position and expand the client base, the Bank’s team is heavily involved in product development and service improvement. Additionally, the team successfully added a new revenue stream by placing investment products with their corporate clients; demonstrating the synergies between departments – a hallmark to QFB’s strategy.

On the Private Banking & Wealth Management front, QFB’s pioneering open Shari’ah compliant architecture platform, continued to be supported by a growing team of bankers and international network of partners. The latter, empowers client centric approach whereby the investment advice is personalized to the financial goals and risk profile of both individual and corporate clients. QFB has signed several agreements with internationally recognized players expanding its range of offerings to cover financing, investments, trusts, foundations, advisory, real estate planning, and statement consolidation. The team has increased its booking business, expanded its services across major cities in the region, solidified relationships with existing clients, and generated fee income from HNWI and private family offices.

On the Treasury & Investments front, the department continued to focus on liquidity optimization through the interbank market and money markets. Additionally, the team was actively involved in investing and managing the Bank’s Sukuk book which continued to grow and perform well.. In its product offering capacity, the team sourced, structured and placed its first Ijara Aviation Fund with the objective to extend the current range of innovative Shari’ah compliant offerings to clients, while focusing to meet the changing needs and wants of shareholders, private and institutional clients. The department has already over achieved its financial targets for the year. The Treasury will continue to grow and develop its capabilities with a concentration on developing in-house products during next year and offer attractive products linked to several sectors including Real Estate and Aviation.

Makkawi added: “Despite challenging global economic conditions, regional market volatility and geopolitical tension, we continued to implement our strategy recording to an increase in revenues and in the range of Shari’ah compliant services.

Reaping the awards

Reaping the benefits of the ambitious strategy and efficiency optimization plan, QFB went on a winning streak of awards and recognitions:

  • ‘2016 Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ by Global Finance magazine at the ninth annual awards ceremony during the IMF in Washington DC.
  • ‘2016 Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ by Wealth & Finance magazine.
  • ‘2016 Bank of the Year, Qatar’ and ‘2016 Best Private Bank, Qatar’ by the Asset magazine.

Makkawi added: “As the global investment market continues to go through major challenges, we will continue to invest in the bank’s future. Our stronger team equipped with a unique combination of knowledge and regional execution capabilities, as well as a healthier and more efficient balance sheet, will grow the business, expand the offerings, and provide a ‘Signature of Excellence’.”

I would like to thank our board of directors, headed by our Chairman Mr. Abdulla bin Fahad bin Ghorab Al Marri, for their continued support.” Makkawi concluded: “

QFB participates in the IMF meetings and receives the ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution 2016’ award

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) “QFB”, a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), along with leading financial authority figures from Qatar, GCC and international banks, has participated at the annual meetings of each of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), held in Washington, United States of America.

Headed by the Bank’s Chief Business Officer, Mr. Sulaiman Yousif Al-Salhi, QFB took part in the meetings of the IMF and the IIF, in addition to several meetings and events organized on the sidelines of the conference, including holding bilateral meetings with banks from different countries for relationship and business developments.

Commenting on attending the conference and representing QFB at the IMF and IIF meetings, Mr. Al-Salhi said: “Since its launch in 2015, QFB’s strategy has focused on the bank’s role as a trusted advisor for investors who wish to tap into lucrative investment opportunities in and outside of Qatar, and benefit from the innovative, Shari’ah-compliant financial solutions that we offer in local, regional and global markets.”

Al-Salhi added: “We are at the beginning of a new era for our bank, reinforced by listing QFB’s shares in the Qatar Stock Exchange in the month of April this year, and have already started reaping the benefits of our ambitious strategy, as each area of the Bank performed well, bringing growth and generating new recurring income. This reaffirms that QFB is on the right path, as it continues to identify and seize new, attractive opportunities, deliver excellence for both private and corporate clients, build a strong brand, and provide shareholders with robust returns.”

At the IMF, QFB had been exclusively named 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ in Global Finance magazine’s ninth annual awards for the World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions. QFB won the prestigious award after Global Finance had extensive consultations with bankers, corporate finance executives and analysts throughout the world. In selecting the world’s top Islamic Financial Institutions, Global Finance considered a wide range of quantitative factors including growth in assets, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development and product innovations, as well as informed subjective criteria such as reputation, customer satisfaction, and the opinions of analysts and industry experts.

Commenting on the achievement,
Mr. Ziad Makkawi, QFB’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Shari’ah compliant finance space has made great progress over the past decade and much remains to be done. We at QFB are proud to be making a contribution to this effort and honored to be recognized by the prestigious Global Finance at the IMF and IIF meetings. Our participation in these meetings reflects our current status as a listed entity on the Qatar Stock Exchange.”
Commenting on the award, Al-Salhi said: “We are honored to be named 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ by the renowned, authoritative Global Finance magazine. The prized global award is a translation of QFB’s winning strategy and innovative approach to Islamic Finance.”

The international financial institutions that has garnered Global Finance’s prestigious award include:

Global Winners

Best Islamic Financial Institution   Samba
Best Bank for Islamic IPOs   J.P. Morgan
Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution  Qatar First Bank
Best Islamic Custodian   Deutsche Bank
Best Provider of Shari’ah-Compliant Funds   Al Rajhi Capital
Best Islamic Financial Institution for SMEs   Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Best Shari’ah-Compliant Index Provider   MSCI Islamic Index  Family
Best Islamic Trade Finance Provider   Dubai Islamic Bank
Best Islamic Commodities Provider   International Islamic  Trade Finance  Corporation
Best Sukuk Bank   Maybank Islamic

 

Regional

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)   Kuwait Finance House
Non-GCC Middle East/North Africa   Al Baraka Banking Group
Asia-Pacific   CIMB Islamic Bank
Europe   Al Rayan Bank

QFB’s delegation, led by Mr. Sulaiman Yousif Al-Salhi and a number of senior members including Mr. Mohammed Deyab Al Sahli, Director of Private Banking & Investor Relations, participated in the reception ceremony in the presence of the Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Governor of Qatar Central Bank, H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Saoud Al Thani, along with the members of the Board of Directors of a number of Qatari banks and an elite group of political and economic figures, banks, and regional and international development institutions.

It is worth noting that the meetings lasted for three days, which included discussions of key issues and the outlook for the global economy, developments in financial markets and the monetary system, the reduction of poverty in developing countries, and sustainable development as well as risk management techniques.

Strong Investment Demand for QFB’s Shari’ah Compliant ‘Ijarah Aviation Structured Note’

  • Ongoing growing market demand for structured investment products
  • Annual cash return of 9% to be paid to clients on quarterly basis. The full amount of the equity underwritten by QFB has been sold to investors
  • Makkawi: “Deploying capital alongside our clients, while enabling them to benefit from recurring and sustained income streams”

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public) (“QFB”), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has launched the ‘Ijarah Aviation Structured Note’ to meet the increasing appetite of local and regional investors seeking innovative investment opportunities. The Ijarah Note, which has been met with great enthusiasm, offers an investment in a relatively stable sector that provides predictable attractive returns over the medium to long term; an annual cash return of 9% to be paid to clients on quarterly basis.

The full amount of the equity underwritten by QFB has been sold to investors.

QFB Chief Executive Officer, Ziad Makkawi, said:

“We have seen an overwhelming response from the market as investors look to maximize returns by investing in sectors that historically have shown lower volatility in earnings and high asset mobility”.

“The note is one of a series of structured products QFB will be bringing to the market in the coming months, and demonstrates our strong Sharia’h compliant structuring capabilities and commitment to meeting client needs.” Makkawi added.

Further commenting on the success of the note, Ayman Zaidan, QFB’s Head of Treasury and Investment Management, said:

“The demand for Ijarah structured notes in many sectors, such Real Estate, Aviation, Equipment and other income generating assets, has seen a stable increase due to growing appetite for yield at the current low profit rate environment in many of the world’s developed economies. Our clients’ positive reaction towards the Ijarah Aviation Structured Note testifies of the market appetite for the risk return profile of the note.”

“QFB is expanding its Treasury & Investment department capabilities in order to offer Shari’ah compliant structured products and investment solutions to its clients, and invest with them in opportunities that meet the growing needs of the market.” Zaidan concluded.

Previously announced, QFB and Novus Aviation Capital, one of the world’s long standing and fastest growing aircraft leasing platforms, had invested in the global aircraft leasing industry through the indirect acquisition and lease of two 2011 vintage Boeing 737-900ER single-aisle aircraft to Indonesia’s Lion Air.

The lease agreement is being managed by Dubai-based Novus Aviation Capital, a specialist in aircraft sourcing, trading, leasing and other related services.

Makkawi concluded: “We are delighted to have provided our clients with this attractive investment; meeting our promises to act as a trusted advisor and gateway to interesting opportunities. In today’s challenging market and economic conditions, our strategy calls for deploying capital alongside our clients while enabling them to benefit from recurring and sustained income streams. This direction is in line with our strategy to diversify QFB’s revenue sources.”

Qatar First Bank won exclusively Global Finance 2016’s Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution global award

Qatar First Bank won exclusively Global Finance 2016’s Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution global award

Reaping the benefits of the strategy it introduced in 2015, Qatar First Bank (QFB), Qatar’s leading Shari’ah compliant bank, has been named exclusively 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ in Global Finance magazine’s ninth annual awards for the World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions.

QFB won the prestigious award after Global Finance had extensive consultations with bankers, corporate finance executives and analysts throughout the world.

In selecting the world’s top Islamic Financial Institutions, Global Finance considered a wide range of quantitative factors including growth in assets, profitability, geographic reach, strategic relationships, new business development and product innovations, as well as informed subjective criteria such as reputation, customer satisfaction, and the opinions of analysts and industry experts.

Global winners include:

Best Islamic Financial Institution Samba
Best Bank for Islamic IPOs J.P. Morgan
Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution Qatar First Bank
Best Islamic Custodian Deutsche Bank
Best Provider of Shari’ah-Compliant Funds Al Rajhi Capital
Best Islamic Financial Institution for SMEs Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank
Best Shari’ah-Compliant Index Provider MSCI Islamic Index Family
Best Islamic Trade Finance Provider Dubai Islamic Bank
Best Islamic Commodities Provider International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation
Best Sukuk Bank Maybank Islamic

Regional winners include:

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Kuwait Finance House
Non-GCC Middle East/North Africa Al Baraka Banking Group
Asia-Pacific CIMB Islamic Bank
Europe Al Rayan Bank

QFB is among the ‘Top 30 counting down Doha’s biggest publicly listed firms’ published by Arabian Business Qatar

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has been recognized as one of the ‘Top 30 counting down Doha’s biggest publicly listed firms’ by Arabian business Qatar 2016 Edition. Click here to Download

QFB is among the ‘Top 30 counting down Doha’s biggest publicly listed firms’ published by Arabian Business Qatar

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has been recognized as one of the ‘Top 30 counting down Doha’s biggest publicly listed firms’ by Arabian business Qatar 2016 Edition. Click here to Download

QFB Chairman Abdullah Al-Marri named as ‘Best Banker’ at Arabian Business Qatar awards 2016

QFB Chairman Mr. Abdullah bin Fahad bin Ghorab Al-Marri has won Arabian Business Magazine’s ‘Best Banker’ Award for 2016.

Qatar First Bank LLC (Public) (“QFB”) Chairman Mr. Abdullah bin Fahad bin Ghorab Al-Marri has won Arabian Business Magazine’s ‘Best Banker’ Award for 2016, in a ceremony that was held on Tuesday evening at Westin Hotel in Doha.

The coronation of QFB’s Chairman comes in recognition of the achievements he has attained throughout the year, during which QFB exclusively won Global Finance’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ Global Award for 2016.

During the year, QFB successfully listed all its shares on the Qatar Stock Exchange in April, opened its private banking lounge, and developed an innovative and comprehensive Shari’ah compliant open architecture private banking platform for its clients.

Last May, the bank also signed an agreement with Jones Lang La Salle (JLL), UK’s largest UK property advisor, as well as announced the completion of the ‘Leinster Square’ residential project in London.

QFB has also introduced an action plan in 2016 that focuses on optimizing the Bank’s resources and raises its efficiency level, in addition to signing a partnership agreement with Novus Aviation Capital for the acquisition of two Boeing 737 aircrafts.

Last September, QFB garnered the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ 2016 Award by ‘Wealth & Finance’.

Abdullah Al-Marri had previously stated that despite the regional and international economic conditions, QFB still enjoys a strong financial position, owing to its diversified revenue sources, along with the quality of its investments in lucrative sectors such as health care, which is considered to be less affected by reduction in expenditure. Additionally, Al Marri added, that the bank has been targeting promising geographical regions such as Turkey, which enjoys long term growth prospects. All these aspects have contributed to the bank’s adaptation with the unfavorable economic conditions”, Al-Marri added.

Qatar First Bank named ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ for 2016

  • QFB has successfully exited six investments
  • QFB private equity investments recorded QAR 13 million in dividends during the first half of 2016
  • The carrying value of QFB equity investments amounted to QAR 1.73 billion as of 30 June 2016

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has been recognized as the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ for 2016 by ‘Wealth & Finance’ in this year’s ‘Alternative Investment Awards’.

The 2016 Alternative Investment Awards honors the dedicated individuals and businesses that are making a positive impact in a constantly-evolving marketplace and puts the spotlight on key players in the sector, following a comprehensive selection and judging process designed to single out the true market leaders of 2016.

Commenting on winning the prestigious award, Mr. Ziad Makkawi, Chief Executive Officer of QFB, said: “With investors being on a quest for more creative ways to maximize their returns, Qatar First Bank is constantly refining and developing its services to honor investors’ ever-changing needs and exceed clients’ expectations. Being recognized as the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ for 2016 is a testament to the bank’s exceptional performance in the industry, and reflects our new strategy of offering our private equity expertise to investor clients.”

The celebrated award crowns QFB’s positive performance in in 2015 and 2016, during which the bank introduced an ambitious growth strategy, in addition to achieving significant milestones including the listing of shares on the Qatar Stock Exchange in April 2016.

Commenting on the award, Ihab Asali, Managing Partner – Alternative Investments at QFB, said: “QFB’s initial focus was driven by its legacy mandate to invest its capital by originating proprietary deals in private equity and real estate. Since the inception of its business operations in 2009, QFB built a strong track record by investing in several successful transactions across various geographies and sectors and realizing lucrative returns for its Shareholders. Over the years, the Bank has evolved from an in-house investment focused bank to a client focused bank.”

The Alternative Investments business segment at QFB primarily focuses on acquiring controlling or non-controlling interests, with board representation, in well managed companies and assets that have strong established market positions and growth potential.

QFB’s current portfolio of alternative investments include healthcare, energy, consumer finance, real estate, industrial, retail, luxury jeweler, food & beverage; spread across a diversified geography. The team consists of more than 10 experienced investment professionals, who work as partners with the management teams of the Investee Companies and Subsidiaries to unlock value through enhancing operational and financial performance in order to maximize returns for these companies, the Bank, and QFB clients.

Since its incorporation, the Bank has closed a number of successful transactions across Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Africa and the MENA region with carrying value of total equity investments (including subsidiaries) of QAR 1.73 billion as of 30 June 2016.

Commenting on the award, Samir Assaad, Managing Partner – Alternative Investments at QFB, said: “QFB’s strategy focuses on the bank’s role as a trusted advisor, a gateway for investors who wish to tap into innovative, Shari’ah compliant, investment opportunities in local, regional and global markets. During 2016, we will continue to diversify our portfolio and focus on business services, healthcare, education and real estate sectors while expanding into new geographical markets regionally and internationally. We are well positioned to provide capital solutions to growing businesses in the region that will benefit from our experience and the network of QFB. Furthermore, we look to partner with likeminded investors who share our philosophy of creating value by investing in market leaders where one can follow a disciplined approach and add operational value to portfolio companies. Additionally, we will continue to operate according to international best practice and attract third party money from both private and institutional investors.”

Over the years, QFB has successfully exited six investments, in addition to two partial exists, and generated healthy returns to Shareholders with an average IRR of 36%. The private equity investments continued to grow in value and recorded QAR 13 million in dividends from portfolio companies in the first half of 2016. English Home, QFB’s Turkey-based home textile chain, expanded its geographic footprint, increasing its number of stores in Turkey from 271 as of December 2015 to 293 as of June 2016, and internationally it expanded from 72 stores as of December 2015 to 89 as of June 2016. The Bank’s subsidiary, Al Wasita Emirates for Catering and Services, successfully increased its capital to AED 80 million, from existing shareholders, to further strengthen the company’s financial position and continue its expansion. QFB’s investment in Qatar’s Food Services Company continued to deliver good results with the company opening new stores across Qatar.

QFB also continued to support the London-based luxury jeweller David Morris in its expansion plans. A flagship store in Rue St Honore in Paris is scheduled to open later this year, along with a new dedicated boutique in Qatar’s Pearl in partnership with the Bank’s local partners. Memorial Health Group continued to progress the construction of its new hospital in Bahçelievler – Istanbul. The new hospital will be among the largest private hospitals in Istanbul comprising 70,000 sqm and 300 beds. During the first half of the year, QFB announced the completion of its development in Leinster Square, London W2; the Bank’s second real estate development in London after Westbourne House project completed during 2015. Leinster Square is an exclusive development of five stunning 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses and six 3-bedroom lateral apartments, of which only two remain.

Makkawi concluded: “Despite the challenging global economic conditions, regional market volatility and geopolitical tension, we will continue pushing ahead with our expansion strategy and adopt an opportunistic outlook to source viable investment opportunities that will generate sound returns for our clients and shareholders.”

Distributed each month to more than 130,000 high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, fund managers, institutional investors and professional services firms, Wealth & Finance INTL has rapidly become the go-to resource for those looking to make the right decisions when it comes to securing and growing their wealth. Wealth & Finance has already begun preparations for publishing the 2016 Alternative Investment Awards winners’ magazine, which will also feature on the ‘Wealth & Finance’ website for 12 months, as a platform for finding new clients and partners.

Reaping the benefits of the ambitious strategy, QFB went on a winning streak of awards and recognitions during 2016, with QFB being exclusively named 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ in Global Finance magazine’s ninth annual awards for the World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions. The Bank won the prestigious award after Global Finance had extensive consultations with bankers, corporate finance executives and analysts throughout the world. Additionally, The Asset, Asia’s leading financial publication for issuers and investors, honored QFB the awards of ‘Bank of the Year, Qatar’ and ‘Best Private Bank, Qatar’ at ‘The Asset Triple A Islamic Finance Awards 2016′.

Qatar First Bank named ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ for 2016

  • QFB has successfully exited six investments
  • QFB private equity investments recorded QAR 13 million in dividends during the first half of 2016
  • The carrying value of QFB equity investments amounted to QAR 1.73 billion as of 30 June 2016

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has been recognized as the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ for 2016 by ‘Wealth & Finance’ in this year’s ‘Alternative Investment Awards’.

The 2016 Alternative Investment Awards honors the dedicated individuals and businesses that are making a positive impact in a constantly-evolving marketplace and puts the spotlight on key players in the sector, following a comprehensive selection and judging process designed to single out the true market leaders of 2016.

Commenting on winning the prestigious award, Mr. Ziad Makkawi, Chief Executive Officer of QFB, said: “With investors being on a quest for more creative ways to maximize their returns, Qatar First Bank is constantly refining and developing its services to honor investors’ ever-changing needs and exceed clients’ expectations. Being recognized as the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ for 2016 is a testament to the bank’s exceptional performance in the industry, and reflects our new strategy of offering our private equity expertise to investor clients.”

The celebrated award crowns QFB’s positive performance in in 2015 and 2016, during which the bank introduced an ambitious growth strategy, in addition to achieving significant milestones including the listing of shares on the Qatar Stock Exchange in April 2016.

Commenting on the award, Ihab Asali, Managing Partner – Alternative Investments at QFB, said: “QFB’s initial focus was driven by its legacy mandate to invest its capital by originating proprietary deals in private equity and real estate. Since the inception of its business operations in 2009, QFB built a strong track record by investing in several successful transactions across various geographies and sectors and realizing lucrative returns for its Shareholders. Over the years, the Bank has evolved from an in-house investment focused bank to a client focused bank.”

The Alternative Investments business segment at QFB primarily focuses on acquiring controlling or non-controlling interests, with board representation, in well managed companies and assets that have strong established market positions and growth potential.

QFB’s current portfolio of alternative investments include healthcare, energy, consumer finance, real estate, industrial, retail, luxury jeweler, food & beverage; spread across a diversified geography. The team consists of more than 10 experienced investment professionals, who work as partners with the management teams of the Investee Companies and Subsidiaries to unlock value through enhancing operational and financial performance in order to maximize returns for these companies, the Bank, and QFB clients.

Since its incorporation, the Bank has closed a number of successful transactions across Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Africa and the MENA region with carrying value of total equity investments (including subsidiaries) of QAR 1.73 billion as of 30 June 2016.

Commenting on the award, Samir Assaad, Managing Partner – Alternative Investments at QFB, said: “QFB’s strategy focuses on the bank’s role as a trusted advisor, a gateway for investors who wish to tap into innovative, Shari’ah compliant, investment opportunities in local, regional and global markets. During 2016, we will continue to diversify our portfolio and focus on business services, healthcare, education and real estate sectors while expanding into new geographical markets regionally and internationally. We are well positioned to provide capital solutions to growing businesses in the region that will benefit from our experience and the network of QFB. Furthermore, we look to partner with likeminded investors who share our philosophy of creating value by investing in market leaders where one can follow a disciplined approach and add operational value to portfolio companies. Additionally, we will continue to operate according to international best practice and attract third party money from both private and institutional investors.”

Over the years, QFB has successfully exited six investments, in addition to two partial exists, and generated healthy returns to Shareholders with an average IRR of 36%. The private equity investments continued to grow in value and recorded QAR 13 million in dividends from portfolio companies in the first half of 2016. English Home, QFB’s Turkey-based home textile chain, expanded its geographic footprint, increasing its number of stores in Turkey from 271 as of December 2015 to 293 as of June 2016, and internationally it expanded from 72 stores as of December 2015 to 89 as of June 2016. The Bank’s subsidiary, Al Wasita Emirates for Catering and Services, successfully increased its capital to AED 80 million, from existing shareholders, to further strengthen the company’s financial position and continue its expansion. QFB’s investment in Qatar’s Food Services Company continued to deliver good results with the company opening new stores across Qatar.

QFB also continued to support the London-based luxury jeweller David Morris in its expansion plans. A flagship store in Rue St Honore in Paris is scheduled to open later this year, along with a new dedicated boutique in Qatar’s Pearl in partnership with the Bank’s local partners. Memorial Health Group continued to progress the construction of its new hospital in Bahçelievler – Istanbul. The new hospital will be among the largest private hospitals in Istanbul comprising 70,000 sqm and 300 beds. During the first half of the year, QFB announced the completion of its development in Leinster Square, London W2; the Bank’s second real estate development in London after Westbourne House project completed during 2015. Leinster Square is an exclusive development of five stunning 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses and six 3-bedroom lateral apartments, of which only two remain.

Makkawi concluded: “Despite the challenging global economic conditions, regional market volatility and geopolitical tension, we will continue pushing ahead with our expansion strategy and adopt an opportunistic outlook to source viable investment opportunities that will generate sound returns for our clients and shareholders.”

Distributed each month to more than 130,000 high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals, fund managers, institutional investors and professional services firms, Wealth & Finance INTL has rapidly become the go-to resource for those looking to make the right decisions when it comes to securing and growing their wealth. Wealth & Finance has already begun preparations for publishing the 2016 Alternative Investment Awards winners’ magazine, which will also feature on the ‘Wealth & Finance’ website for 12 months, as a platform for finding new clients and partners.

Reaping the benefits of the ambitious strategy, QFB went on a winning streak of awards and recognitions during 2016, with QFB being exclusively named 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ in Global Finance magazine’s ninth annual awards for the World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions. The Bank won the prestigious award after Global Finance had extensive consultations with bankers, corporate finance executives and analysts throughout the world. Additionally, The Asset, Asia’s leading financial publication for issuers and investors, honored QFB the awards of ‘Bank of the Year, Qatar’ and ‘Best Private Bank, Qatar’ at ‘The Asset Triple A Islamic Finance Awards 2016′.

QFB announces half year results

  • Revenue increased by 46% to QAR 353 million (US$ 97 million)
  • Net Profit increased to QAR 16.8 million (US$ 4.6 million)
  • Total assets increased by 9% to QAR 6.4 billion (US$ 1.8 billion) in the six months.

Qatar First Bank L.L.C. (Public), a leading Shari’ah compliant bank based in Qatar and listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), has released its financial results for the half year ended 30 June 2016 recording revenue increase by 46% to QAR 353 million (US$ 97 million) and net profit to QAR 16.8 million (US$ 4.6 million).

Mr. Ziad Makkawi, Chief Executive Officer, QFB said: “I am pleased to report that we have achieved a revenue of QAR 353 million and net profit of QAR 16.8 million. As we look to the year ahead, we envision that the global economic backdrop will remain challenging specifically as the GCC region adjusts to lower oil prices and slowing economic growth. However, we will continue to push ahead with our expansion strategy into banking and adopt an opportunistic outlook to source viable investment opportunities and generate sound returns for our clients and shareholders.”

“The first half of 2016 saw the completion of a major milestone for the bank when we listed on the QSE on the 27th of April 2016, delivering on our promise to shareholders, who have supported the Bank since its inception.” He added.

The significant milestone marked the first listing of a Qatari entity licensed by the Qatar Financial Center (QFC) and the first listing for a private entity in 6 years. This remarkable achievement marked the next step in Qatar’s efforts to reactivate Qatar’s stock market and encourage the participation of the private sector in all aspects of the Qatari economy and in particular the banking sector.

In parallel with its listing on the QSE, QFB has simplified its structure to create greater efficiencies and increase overall effectiveness. The Bank introduced an action plan in 2016 focused on optimizing the Bank’s resources and raising its efficiency levels. Additionally, QFB has strengthened its international reach and developed deeper access to key markets by signing with leading players that complement and boost the offerings.

Makkawi added: “QFB is at the beginning of a new era. The introduction of our efficiency optimization plan and the commitment to our strategy resulted in a stronger team with a unique combination of knowledge and regional execution capabilities, as well as a healthier and more efficient balance sheet.”

Business Update

Despite regional financial markets continuing to operate at restrained levels, all of the Bank’s revenue-generating business lines have successfully positioned themselves to capture new business and solidify relationships with existing clients.

During 2016, the Alternative Investments department continues the implementation of its strategy, with the aim of strengthening the Bank’s position as a trusted advisor and gateway for investors who wish to invest in innovative, Shari’ah compliant, private equity and real estate investment opportunities in local, regional and global markets. Meanwhile, the private equity investments continued to grow in value recorded QAR 13 million in dividends from portfolio companies. English Home, QFB’s Turkey-based home textile chain, expanded its geographic footprint, increasing its number of stores in Turkey from 271 as of December 2015 to 293 as of June 2016, and internationally it expanded from 72 stores as of December 2015 to 89 as of June 2016. The Bank’s subsidiary, Al Wasita Emirates for Catering and Services, successfully increased its capital to AED 80 million, from existing shareholders, to further strengthen the company’s financial position and continue its expansion. QFB’s investment in Qatar’s Food Services Company continued to deliver good results with the company opening new stores across Qatar.

The Bank also continued to support the London-based luxury jeweller David Morris in its expansion plans. A flagship store in Rue St Honore in Paris is scheduled to open later this year, along with a new dedicated boutique in Qatar’s Pearl in partnership with the Bank’s local partners. Memorial Health Group continued to progress the construction of its new hospital in Bahçelievler – Istanbul. The new hospital will be among the largest private hospitals in Istanbul comprising 70,000 sqm and 300 beds. During the first half of the year, QFB announced the completion of its development in Leinster Square, London W2; the Bank’s second real estate development in London after Westbourne House project completed during 2015. Leinster Square is an exclusive development of five stunning 3 and 4 bedroom townhouses and six 3-bedroom lateral apartments, of which only two remain.

On the Corporate & Institutional Banking front, QFB’s team has been able to successfully maintain a growing portfolio offering clients a wide range of Shari’ah compliant financing products and liability solutions including Wakala, Murabaha, Ijara, Istisna’a and others. The Bank’s client base encompasses government, private and public entities belonging to a diverse set of economic sectors such as trading, manufacturing, healthcare, private equity, retail, real estate and contracting, etc. The team has not only been able to grow the Bank’s local asset and liability book, but has also successfully established footprints in the regional GCC market via lucrative syndicate deals. Currently, the Bank has grown its financing portfolio by more than 27% to QAR 1.4 billion. To further strengthen QFB’s position and expand the client base, the Bank’s team is heavily involved in product development and service improvement. Additionally, the team successfully added a new revenue stream by placing investment products with their corporate cleints; demonstrating the synergies between departments – a hallmark to QFB’s strategy.

On the Private Banking & Wealth Management front, QFB announced the development of a pioneering open Shari’ah compliant architecture private banking platform, supported by an exceptional international network of partners. By leveraging the in-house and international breadth of investment solutions across asset classes, the new platform empowers the team to opt for a client centric approach whereby the investment advice is personalized to the financial goals and risk profile of the client. Additionally, the team signed an agreement with the world’s second largest publicly traded commercial real estate brokerage firm and UK’s largest UK property advisor in order to offer shareholders and clients the ability to source real estate opportunities based on their specific requirements and budget. The private banking female and male relationship managers were able to generate fee income from HNWI and private family offices by placing the Bank’s range of structured products.

The Treasury & Investments department continued to focus on managing and optimising the Bank’s liquidity through the onshore and offshore interbank markets. Additionally, the team was actively involved in investing and managing the Bank’s Sukuk book. Moreover, the Bank has expanded the team, to cover Structured & Investment products, with the objective to extend the current range of innovative Shari’ah compliant offerings to clients, while focusing to meet the changing needs and wants of shareholders, private and institutional clients. The team provided clients with attractive investment opportunities such as an Ijara product in the aviation industry. Besides, the team has built its capabilities to also provide Liability hedging solutions, Islamic investment notes and an actively managed Money Market fund.

Makkawi added: “Despite challenging global economic conditions, regional market volatility and geopolitical tension, we continued implementing our strategy that streamlined the businesses to offer top-class Shari’ah compliant services including corporate & institutional banking, private banking & wealth management, as well as alternative investments with a focus on private equity and real estate. I would like to thank our board of directors, headed by Mr. Chairman Abdulla bin Fahad bin Ghorab Al Marri, for their continued support.”

“We will continue to invest in the coming years while focusing on achieving our objectives in a timely manner. I am now confident that QFB has all the ingredients to continue delivering on its promise to grow the business, expand its offerings, and provide a ‘Signature of Excellence’.” He added.

Reaping the awards

Reaping the benefits of its ambitious strategy and efficiency optimization plan, the Bank went on a winning streak of awards and recognitions that started in April, with QFB being exclusively named 2016’s ‘Best Up-and-Coming Islamic Financial Institution’ in Global Finance magazine’s ninth annual awards for the World’s Best Islamic Financial Institutions. The Bank won the prestigious award after Global Finance had extensive consultations with bankers, corporate finance executives and analysts throughout the world.

The sought-after title was shortly followed by QFB’s recognition as the ‘Best Shari’ah Alternative Investment Platform’ for 2016 by ‘Wealth & Finance’ in this year’s ‘Alternative Investment Awards’, marking its hard work and innovative efforts in helping shape the industry.

The 2016 Alternative Investment Awards honored the dedicated individuals and businesses that are making a positive impact in a constantly-evolving marketplace and shed a spotlight on the key players in the sector, following a comprehensive selection and judging process designed to single out the true market leaders of the year.

Additionally, The Asset, Asia’s leading financial publication for issuers and investors, honored QFB the awards of ‘Bank of the Year, Qatar’ and ‘Best Private Bank, Qatar’ at ‘The Asset Triple A Islamic Finance Awards 2016’.

Makkawi concluded: “As the global investment market continues to go through major challenges, 2016 remains to be a year of transformation for QFB.”