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Bank Muscat wins best retail bank award by Asian Banking & Finance

MUSCAT, 18 August 2013 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial institution in the Sultanate, has won the Retail Bank of the Year award by Asian Banking & Finance. The 2013 award ceremony held in Singapore honoured the very best of the region’s banks and financial institutions.

For several years, Asian Banking and Finance magazine (ABF) has been recognising the best performances of banking and finance institutions in Asia. This year, ABF recognised key banking and finance industry players which stood out with their innovative products and services for retail customers.

The awards acknowledged the 'best-of-the-best' practices in Asia's banking and finance industry, identifying new technologies, services and people contributing to significantly enhancing the banking and finance sector in Asia.

AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, said: “As the leading bank with a fast-growing network, Bank Muscat aims to deliver reliable, dynamic and innovative banking services to the largest banking family in Oman. The bank draws on its expertise to provide customers with the best banking products and services. We are proud to win this award which recognises the bank’s efforts and goal to maintain the leadership position in Oman.”


Bank Sohar Attains ‘Best CSR Bank Oman 2013’ Award from UK based Global Banking & Finance Review

Muscat | August 18, 2013: Cementing its position as one of Oman’s most benevolent banking institutions, Bank Sohar has been named the ‘Best Corporate Social Responsibility Bank Oman 2013’ by renowned UK based Global Banking & Finance Review.

Commenting on winning the prestigious award, Dr. Mohamed Abdulaziz Kalmoor, CEO of Bank Sohar said, “Winning this award is an indication of the distinguished record that we have achieved in CSR within the country. Supporting economic development and achieving the sustainable social development objectives encompasses every aspect of our bank’s strategic perspective.


Meethaq Shari’a Board reviews new products

MUSCAT, 17 August 2013 - The Shari’a Supervisory Board of Meethaq, the pioneer of Islamic banking in Oman from Bank Muscat, conducted its third meeting of 2013 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia under the chairmanship of Sheikh Dr. Ali Qaradaghi, and in the presence of members - Sheikh Essam Muhammad Ishaq, Sheikh Majid Al Kindi, Abdulqader Thomas and Dr. Saeed Al Muharrami. The board reviewed Meethaq activities during the first half of 2013 and discussed the strategy for the coming period, especially Meethaq products in the pipeline as well as contracts and agreements relating to these products.


Middle East Renewable Energy Sector Needs Massive Investments

Report by Albert Fahil. Omantel grabbed the ‘Asia’s Best Employer Brand Award 2013’. This is the second time Omantel won the prestigious award and Omantel received the award at a function held in Singapore to laud the best Asian Companies in Human Resource field. Recently, Omantel concluded one of its major projects of implementing 4G and 3.5G networks in Dhofar Governorate. This was carried out to meet the demand of the high number of visitors to Dhofar during the monsoon season. Omantel installed permanent and temporary stations thereby increasing not only coverage but also the network capacity so as to meet the high demand in the season, especially broadband services.


Meanwhile, the reports from the construction sector in GCC countries emphasize that the projects in GCC countries in the field will grow by 13 percent achieving $65.5 billion at the year end. Construction of hotels, shopping centers and homes and apartments will include these new projects, the reports highlighted. The Bollywood Movie ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Again’, which was filmed in Oman has gained huge popularity this time as well like the earlier one ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbai. Oman Air supports to bring in foreign directors to the Kingdom where many beautiful sights are available for film-makers to make their dreams a reality.


New Monthly Volume Record for DGCX Indian Rupee Futures in July

•    INR futures sets new monthly volume record of 1,252,965 contracts
•    Trading volumes in July up 55% year-on-year  
•    Year-to-date volumes rise 91%

Dubai, August 14, 2013: Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX) recorded a robust month of trading activity  with total trade value of  US$ 44.68.  July volumes registered a significant growth of 55% over the same period last year.

DGCX’s currency segment continued to contribute a significant share of volumes, recording a year-on-year (YOY) growth of 61% with 1,450,041 contracts traded. Currency volumes were primarily driven by Indian Rupee (INR) futures, with the contract recording its highest ever monthly volume - trading 1,252,965 contracts in July, a 40% growth over the same period last year. Trading in other currency pairs such as in Euro and Yen were also increased substantially.

Total year to date (YTD) volumes rose by 91% with the Exchange having traded a total of 9,209,767 contracts in 2013. Volumes in INR futures have grown 84% from last year . Both Euro and Yen futures have also registered strong year-to-date performances, surging 266% and 78%.


Bank Muscat extends Sayyarati offer till the end of Salalah festival

MUSCAT, August 2013 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial institution on the Sultanate, extended Sayyarati offer till the end of Salalah festival due to the large number of requests coming in from customers across the Sultanate to avail Sayyarati features and  own their dream vehicles.

The main features of Sayyarati finance include reduced rates starting from 3.5 per cent, on-the-spot approvals, simple and clear documentation and motor insurance funding with the lowest monthly payments in the market. Customers are also not required to furnish post-dated cheques, making Sayyarati the easy, convenient and completely hassle-free way to own a new car.

The Sayyarati benefits include the lowest monthly payment option, lower interest rates and financing up to 8 years for new vehicles. Financing is also available for used vehicles. Notably, Sayyarati finance can be obtained from any of the 137 Bank Muscat branches spread across Oman.

Amjad Al-Lawati, Head of Product and Services Management, said: “Sayyarati is the preferred auto finance facility in Oman, unique in all aspects with unparalleled benefits. The Ramadhan offer includes various benefits, making it quicker, easier and more affordable to own one’s dream vehicle.”


Middle East Car Sales Increases While Jobs, Investment Opportunities Surge

Albert Fahil
Announcing the profit for the first six month of this year, Renaissance Service in Oman stated that it has a net profit growth of 59.4 percent. The net profit for the said period was RO 11 million while the total revenue was RO 140.4 million, which is a 12.3 percent increase when compared to the identical period of the last year, which was RO 125 million, the sources said. Meanwhile, Galfar Engineering and Contracting announced that its net profit so far for the year 2013 has surged 56.2 percent, recording OMR 5.04 million. Last year the net profit for the identical period was OMR 3.23 million. Voltamp Power LLC, too, has recorded 183.6 percent surge in its net profit with RO 1 million for the first six months of 2013.

The Ramadan festivity duration creates many jobs and investment opportunities in the Middle East, according to many recruiters in the region. They say that in this duration a high number of job recruitments are done to cater to rising demands. The high demand also creates many investments opportunities as well. The trend also surges the financial institutional activities l. According to a survey, some of the financial institutions that are in the middle of expanding are: Wells Fargo, Standard Chartered, Menacorp, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Exotic, Qinwest, Mara Group and Coutts.


No Child is Left behind – Bank Sohar Supports Autistic Children

Muscat, August 07, 2013: In line with its efforts to reach out to the community through its corporate social responsibility initiatives, Bank Sohar recently provided financial support to the Autism Centre at the Association for the Welfare of Handicapped Children. The cheque for the funds, which will be used to facilitate the operations of the Association, was handed over by Munira Abdulnabi Macki, DGM - Human Resources and Corporate Support - Bank Sohar, to Dr. Mohammed Redha Sulaiman - Chairperson of the Association.

Speaking of the initiative, Munira Macki said: “Ramadan is the month of giving and sharing, and we at Bank Sohar believe that all segments of society should join hands and show selfless support for one another. Our compassionate support for the Autism Centre aims to help the association run its operations effectively and reach its objectives. It is our responsibility towards the community, especially for children with special needs. We have always been keen in showing our support to good causes and the results of such efforts are priceless.”

On his part, Dr. Mohammed Redha Sulaiman heralded Bank Sohar’s continuous support and stressed that “Bank Sohar has always been supportive, which makes a huge difference in the lives of those children. We aim to reach every Omani child with any form of disability in order to provide them with the necessary education and training, and we advocate establishing as many centres as possible in the Sultanate.”


Standard Chartered reports growth in first half 2013 income and profits

Broad based performance across multiple markets, including strong performances from
Hong Kong, India and Africa

  Operating Income grows 4% to US$9.75 billion, excluding own credit adjustment

  Wholesale Banking income up 2% to US$6.07 billion; client income up 6%
  Consumer Banking income up 7% to US$3.68 billion
  17 markets with income growth of at least 10 per cent
  Profit before goodwill impairment and own credit adjustment up 4 per cent at US$4.08
  Profit before tax after goodwill impairment charge of US$1 billion related to Korea is
US$3.32 billion
  Highly liquid balance sheet, excellent capital strength with Core Tier 1 ratio of 11.4%
  Continued shareholder value – return on equity 13.3%, earnings per share up 5%
  Second half starts with good momentum; we remain confident in our strategy and of
growth in our markets

London,  6  August  2013  -  Standard  Chartered  PLC  today  announced  an  increase  in  both underlying  income  and  profits  for  the  first  half  of  2013  with  17  markets  achieving  double  digit income growth and 25 markets delivering income over US$ 50 million. Total group income was up  4  per  cent  to  US$9.75  billion,  excluding  own  credit  adjustment,  driven  by  growth  in Consumer Banking revenue and a step-up in Q2 income in Wholesale Banking.

We enter the second half with good momentum, high volume growth and excellent client activity levels. We have a robust balance sheet, strong capital and ample liquidity to serve our clients as they achieve their growth aspirations.


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