Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

March 2008
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Islamic Economy

Aramco Ranked No. 1 in the Muslim World

Saudi Aramco, the world’s top oil producer, is once again the largest business enterprise in the Muslim world, according to business strategy e-magazine Dinar Standard. Its DS100, a ranking of the Top 100 businesses in the 57 member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), is published annually.

In 2007, there were 15 Saudi companies on the list. In addition to Saudi Aramco, which saw a 19 per cent rise in annual revenue, the other Saudi companies on the fourth annual DS100 are Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (ranking 12th), Saudi Telecom Co. (No. 20), Saudi Oger Company Ltd. (No. 26), Saudi Electricity Company (No. 35), Dallah Albaraka Group (No. 36), Saudi Binladin Group (No. 39), Saad Group of Companies (No. 50), Consolidated Contractors International Company (No. 53), National Commercial Bank (No. 64), Abdul Latif Jameel Group (No. 65), Al-Rajhi Bank (No. 75), Samba Financial Group (No. 78), Savola Group (No. 81) and Riyad Bank (No. 93).

The ranking showcases the continuing growth of the Muslim world economies with $1.08 trillion in total revenues and a healthy 14.6 per cent in revenue growth compared to the previous year.

Due to rising oil prices, which are hovering around $90 a barrel currently, the 20 integrated oil and gas companies on the list continued their dominance representing 65 per cent of the total DS100 company revenues.

However, the biggest year-on-year growth in revenues was logged by construction services companies at 74 per cent, followed by 43 per cent by the transportation services sector, 34 per cent by basic materials (chemical, iron, copper, other) sector and 27 per cent by the finance sector. The integrated oil and gas companies logged a year-on-year revenue growth of 21 percent.

Overall, the energy sector continues to confirm its dominance based on the fact that nine out of the ten top companies on the list are all state-owned integrated oil and gas companies of which Kuwait Petroleum (No. 3) showed the largest growth, 38 percent, in estimated revenues compared to previous year.

“This year’s ranking highlights the anchor role oil revenues are playing in aggressive diversification of OIC member state economies,” said Rafi-uddin Shikoh, editor of Dinar Standard. “We see a higher level of maturity in management practices among the DS100 companies which is leading many to embark on global leadership plans. This is a very healthy trend,” he added.

Turkish companies continue to dominate the list with 24 enterprises, followed by 17 from Malaysia, 15 from Saudi Arabia, nine from Indonesia, and seven from the UAE. Other countries represented include Egypt, Kuwait, Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Bahrain and Algeria.

The number of publicly-listed companies on the DS100 modestly increased in this year’s ranking. The 2007 DS100 list has 57 publicly-traded firms from 13 countries compared to the previous year’s 55 firms from 11 countries. The minimum threshold to be on the 2007 DS100 list was $1.72 billion.

Pascual said the purpose of the Forum was to provide a link between politicians, intellectuals and policy makers in the US and the Islamic world to foster better understanding.

Turkey to Invite Bids for Nuclear Plant

Turkey has revived plans to build its first nuclear power plant despite warnings that the site is in an earthquake prone location. Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said everything was ready for construction at Akkuyu, near the Mediterranean coastal town of Silifke, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

Turkey will formally invite bids for the project on Feb. 21, he said.

Environmentalists already unhappy because of the safety concerns over nuclear power production , oppose the use of the Akkuyu site because they say it is prone to earthquakes.

Guler has said that concerns over both issues would be taken into consideration in the plant’s construction. Studies to prepare another site at Sinop, a Black Sea port town, were also underway, Guler said.

The government has said it plans to build three nuclear power plants by 2015 to meet the country’s growing energy needs.

Last month, the US voiced support for Turkey’s plans to develop nuclear energy and encouraged it to become a full member of the US-led nuclear energy group.

Burhani Expo in Dubai
By A Staff Writer

Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, head of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community inaugurated the Burhani Expo, Dubai – 1429H held in Dubai via internet relay from Saifee Mahal, Mumbai on February 17.

The trade exposition organized at Madinat Jumeriah, Dubai is an initiative of the Mumbai-Burhaniyah Business Counseling Centre (BBCC). 

Syedna while speaking to the participants businessmen from all parts of the world advised them to be honest and strive for the betterment of their business, community, country and humanity on the whole. He watched all the 140 stalls of the Burhani Expo-Dubai 2008 via live relay.

Mr. Idris Badruddin, President of BBCC was deputed by Syedna to individually visit all the stalls and inquired about the business, services and products of the participants.

This exhibition was held between February 18 and 20.Dubai being a leading regional commercial hub with a state-of-art infrastructure amid a world class business environment is a strategic venue where the Dawoodi Bohras have a strong business presence. The idea behind this exposition is to bring awareness and understanding of the modern global business trends amongst the Dawoodi Bohras.

Britain Plans to Issue Islamic Bonds

Britain’s Treasury is likely to back plans to issue Shariah -compliant bonds, amid continuing debate about the application of Islamic laws in the country. Treasury Secretary Alistair Darling, who will present his annual budget on March 12, plans to issue the Islamic bonds (sukuk), to tap into a fast-growing market in the products. “We want the City of London to be one of the gateways globally for Islamic financial products,” a Treasury spokesman said on February 18. “Just because of your faith, there shouldn’t be any issue about your access to financial services in the U.K.,” The Canadian Press reported quoting him as saying.

Shariah law prohibits charging or paying interest, which has led to the growth of a market in financial services created to be compliant with Islam. Sukuk are structured as profit-sharing plans so that the bondholder’s income resembles a rent payment. The process is usually blessed by a board of religious scholars affiliated with a bank. Islamic banking assets totaled $750 billion in 2006, according to a report issued in October by consultants McKinsey & Co. Sukuk issuance has grown almost 85 percent per year since 2001, the McKinsey report said.